Colour relaxes

Lamp posts and other kinds of artificial light can seriously confuse animals. ‘They wake up earlier as a result and sleep more restlessly,’ says Marcel Visser of the Netherlands Institute of Ecology.

No matter which light colour you use, there’s always an animal that will be disturbed by it.

Not every light colour disturbs each species of animal equally. Bats and voles, for example, are less confused by red light than by green or white light. Moths are less attracted by red light as well, because it has a long wavelength. The photoreceptors in the eyes of many animals are especially sensitive to light with a shorter wavelength. Unfortunately red light is not the solution for every animal. For example, it disrupts the breeding behaviour of some birds: it makes them lay eggs earlier. So what colour should we use to light up our streets? ‘You have to evaluate which colour is best case by case in order to limit the impact on the animals that live there as much as possible,’ Visser says.

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