'Feels like a runway': Hampstead residents call for LED lamp post change
- Credit: John Dunning
Hampstead neighbours have called on Camden Council to dim "blinding" new LED street lights over concerns they are harmful to the Heath's wildlife.
The lights were installed to save energy and reduce maintenance costs, according to the council.
John Dunning, who has lived on South Hill Park for more than 20 years, said since the lamp posts were replaced a few months ago, he has struggled to sleep at night.
He said he is also concerned about the impact the lights may have on Hampstead Heath's wildlife, including wild owls and foxes.
However, a council spokesperson said there was "no evidence" that the area’s wildlife has been adversely affected by the lighting.
John told the Ham&High: "We've always been very proud of our road, and during lockdown we all began gardening our front gardens.
"It looked absolutely stunning, but now it feels like a runway at Heathrow.
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"It's unbelievably bright and blinding, and feels like a lorry is beaming its headlights into our flat. Lots of us are extremely unhappy.
"My cat is alarmed by the lights, never mind the Heath's wildlife."
Neighbour Peter Watson agreed, and said he thought it was car headlights approaching when the street lights were first changed.
He said: "It's really dangerous, and I've had to stop my car and shield my eyes.
"Someone joked that you could perform open-heart surgery under them."
A council spokesperson said: “We are installing more efficient and sustainable LED street lighting across the borough.
"This will help us save energy, reduce maintenance costs, and increase the life of each lantern, while also contributing to our borough-wide climate action.
“Since installation, we have been engaging with this resident regarding their concerns and have installed shielding to prevent excessive light intruding into the property.
"Night time light level readings taken at this location have illustrated that this has been successful."
However, John said more must be done to dim the brightness of the street lights.
He said: "We're all grown-ups and realise LED lights are much cheaper.
"But they don't have to be so bright, and could be a warmer light. The council has only dimmed a few of the lamp posts, and so it's still a problem.
"We're told not to be near bright lights before we go to sleep, yet it's beaming into my bedroom every night.
"This has to be resolved."