Why This Dutch Town Installed Bat-Friendly LED Street Lights

By Brian Spaen

Street lights give us an easier path for transportation at night, but it’s not beneficial for everyone. These affect the lifestyle of night creatures, specifically bats, who are driven out by the light and have to travel longer distances for food. Zuidhoek-Nieuwkoop, a new sustainable community in the Netherlands, are installing bat-friendly lighting that helps both parties.

Many of us rarely see bats, especially those that live in more urban locations that are lit up at all times of the day. However, bats are extremely important for our environment, as many plants rely on their pollination.  In turn, they also need fruits and flowers to survive. Seeds from those fruits are digested and spread out by the bat, providing a hands-off planting system.

Vampire bats may be the most popular kind in our society, but they aren’t the only kind. In the United Kingdom, many bats feed on insects only. In a similar way to birds, they can also help the environment by eating pests — even though bats can be pests themselves if they ever find a way into your basement!

“Both the use of LED lights and the change in activity of bats will have a substantial effect on insect populations, since bats are the top predators for insect populations in the urban environment,” Christian Voigt of the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research said in a 2016 study researching street light impact on urban bats.


In order to keep these bats in the area, Zuidhoek-Nieuwkoop, a small Dutch community that’s focused on being fully sustainable, has implemented the first-ever street lights for humans and bats. These red LED bulbs will be bright enough for humans to travel despite the different hue, and bats won’t be disturbed by the light.

(For full article visit: https://www.greenmatters.com/news/2018/06/11/Z15Pp47/dutch-community-red-led-street-lights-bats)

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