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Understanding impacts of changes in artificial lighting regimes on moths - WC1057

The aim of this project is to investigate the impacts of changing street light types on moth communities. Moths comprise a substantial part of Britain’s biodiversity and are important in food chains and play a role in pollination. Defra has committed, both nationally and internationally, to halt the overall loss of biodiversity by 2020. In 2009 the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution (RCEP) published a review of the environmental impacts of artificial light, which concluded that there was a paucity of information on the ecological impact of artificial lighting and that further studies were needed on the likely impacts of broader wavelength technologies that are being more widely introduced. Defra’s commitment to carry out research in this area was stated in the government response to the RCEP review.

Outputs will form part of the evidence base for those making decisions regarding road lighting regimes. The Department for Transport has nominated the Highways Agency to represent their interests on the Project Steering Group.
Biodiversity 2020 includes a commitment to reduce pressures on biodiversity through embedding biodiversity considerations in other sectors of decision making. Artificial light is known to be a pressure on biodiversity, although the evidence base is weak. This weakness was highlighted in the Royal Commission report on Artificial Light in 2009. The report raised specific concerns about new broad wavelength lighting technology being introduced nationwide and encouraged Defra and NERC to fund research in this area. Defra agreed to collaborate with DfT and the Highways Agency to fund small scale work focussed on the most relevant issue for policy – the impact of new lighting technology and practical measures to mitigate this impact.

This project will focus on changing streetlight types on moth communities; investigate the influence of light type and habitat barriers on moth flight-to-light responses and investigate variation in moth abundance and community composition with respect to artificial lightscapes
Project Documents
• FRP - Final Report : WC1057 Final report   (1035k)
• OTH - Other : Appendix 1 - Objective 1   (797k)
• OTH - Other : Appendix 2 - Objective 2   (777k)
• OTH - Other : Appendix 3 - Objective 3   (1417k)
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 2012

To: 2014

Cost: £75,732
Contractor / Funded Organisations
BTO Services Limited