Claims that LEDs ‘damage brain’ halts council streetlighting project

A local authority is to delay the introduction of some 26,000 LED street lights – after a protester claimed they would ‘damage the brains’ of local residents and that they were an ‘untried and untested’ technology.

The £8 million roll-out of the luminaires in Altrincham, Cheshire, was halted by Trafford council after protest leader Simon Nicholas claimed the light from the LEDs could damage the brains of people living nearby.

Scientific research on LEDs has linked them to disrupted sleep patterns, alleges Nicholas, who says there is also a glare danger to drivers.

The protesters say the new luminaires are not in keeping with conservation areas and the heritage lamp-posts are unsuitable for LED light engines.

Trafford councillors were due to vote on the plans at a meeting – but the proposal was withdrawn until more research is conducted on the proposals to ensure their safety.

Other councils including Birmingham and Bath have already been forced to ditch or delay the installation of LED streetlights because residents said they 'looked like UFOs' – while Salford residents complained they were not bright enough when the lights were trialled in 2011.

Nicholas, a member of Bowdon Conservation Society, told the Manchester Evening News: ‘It’s an expensive solution to a non-existent problem. We have a perfectly fine street lighting system already. This is untried, untested new technology.’

The council says it can save 70 per cent on energy bills from the LED lights because they can be dimmed in the early hours from a central control centre.

Councillor Alan Mitchell, Trafford’s executive member for highways, promised that  the report on LEDs was removed ‘to ensure that all the relevant information... is included’. He said it will be published when everything is finalised in June.

Main pic: Sheffield Tiger

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