LED street lights will save money, but could come at a cost to native moths, says one environment-lover.
All older, yellow, high-pressure sodium lighting in Auckland is to be replaced with new light-emitting diode (LED) street lights by about 2025.
The first stage of fitting 44,000 LED residential street lights, has been under way for the past 18 months.
The lights use just a third of the electricity the older style lights use, and last four to six times longer. They have the potential to save the city $32 million over the 20-year life of the lights.
But Geoff Reid wasn't glowing about it, saying the lights could negatively affect New Zealand's more than 2000 species of moth, as the tone of the light changes from golden yellow to white.
"Moths are really important in our ecosystem. They are kind of these central key species because they not only provide food for birds, they pollinate plants and also provide food for other insects," Reid said.
He said the new LED street lights, measured in kelvin, sit at more than 4000 while the current bulbs are around 2200. He said anything over about 2800 kelvin is bad for moths who are drawn to the blue light.
"They extract moths out of the ecosystem. It wears them out and they also congregate in one area around a light and what we're finding is mice are just cleaning them up."