Brecon Beacons’s Dark Sky Disturbed by LED Street Lights

The Brecon Beacons National Park, one of the three national parks in Wales, UK, has earned special protection of its night sky from light pollution and is an ideal place for stargazing. However, for the sake of safety, the Welsh Government recently installed LED street lights in Cwmdu, Powys, leaving a campaign group concerned.
According to the BBC, conventional street lights have been replaced by brighter LED lights on the A479 road within the Brecon Beacons. Since it is a trunk road, the Welsh Government can carry out the installation without getting permission from the national park authority. 

The International Dark Sky Association (IDA), who awarded the dark sky status to the Welsh National Park in 2013, said it is worried about the move. A spokesman pointed out that installing LED street lights was inconsistent with the ideals of the protected status, namely that the national park has an “exceptional commitment to, and success in implementing, the ideals of dark sky preservation.”

Moreover, the IDA said the Welsh Government has long shown support for the dark-sky initiatives across Wales, so the move leaves the association thoroughly perplexed. The IDA are concerned that this could set a precedent and result in more LED lights being installed in the Brecon Beacons and other UK national parks. 

Currently, the IDA has no intention to remove the status, but it will monitor the situation closely and work with the government to reduce any negative impacts of LED lights.  

A Welsh Government spokesman stressed that the purpose of installing LED street lights is to improve driver and community safety. It is also part of the government’s efforts to reduce energy use and carbon footprint. The government will consider options like dimming in the area near Cwmdu campsite on condition that there are no safety concerns. 

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