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Update lighting codes for LED issues

The LED lights shine at the corner of

The LED lights shine at the corner of Piccadilly and Colgate Roads in Great Neck, New York on Feb. 20, 2018. Following the installation of about 800 LED streetlights in the village of Great Neck, a resident has filed suit against the village. Credit: Newsday / William Perlman

Congratulations to resident Judith Youngblood for having the courage to take the Village of Great Neck to court about her streetlights [“Great Neck resident files suit over LED lights,” News, Feb. 21].

Her suit exposes the issue of light pollution from light-emitting diodes.

Recently, many municipalities have replaced older streetlights with more efficient LEDs. However, if this is done wrong, LEDs create problems to our environment and quality of life.

In Youngblood’s case, it appears that the streetlights create glare and light trespass. These issues can be mitigated by using the kind that restrict the light to the intended road areas and not onto homes.

Most municipalities do not have adequate lighting codes or expertise to address streetlights and LEDs. This is a problem locally and across America.

LEDs are especially harmful when they emit light that is too bright for the situation. For residential streets, the International Dark Skies Association recommends a maximum brightness of 3,000 Kelvin.

The village’s suggestion to install window shades is a sign of ignorance about light pollution and a wake-up call for municipalities to update their exterior lighting codes.

Roy Reynolds,East Moriches

Editor’s note: The writer is an engineer who more than a decade ago wrote street lighting codes for the Town of Brookhaven that he says are now out of date.

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