Red streetlights bathe Aalter road in eerie glow


While they are to help bats, they’re not for Halloween: The red street lamps along a rural road in Aalter are permanent and meant to help wildlife

Going batty

Aalter in East Flanders is the second city in the world to install red LED street lighting to help nocturnal animals avoid becoming confused. Bright streetlamps can affect the internal body clock of certain species of wildlife, who are not sure if it is daytime or night-time.

Lotenhullestraat in Aalter runs along a natural area with a lake, which is home to different animal species. According to Flanders News, the red lamps being used in the street should prove particularly helpful for the bat population.

The lamps emit no UV rays, “which is what is most harmful for bats,” said Aalter mayor Patrick Hoste. While some species of bats are light-resistant, many are not and have to travel further and further from towns to hunt for food.

While the red glow is a bit strange to see, the locals are responding positively. “It’s a very good compromise,” said Stijn Vanderheiden of Natuurpunt Aalter. “There is enough light for us to travel safely but it’s also a subdued enough to be less harmful to animals.”

Last June, the town of Nieuwkoop in the Netherlands became the first known city to install the red LED lights, also citing the problem for bats.

Photo courtesy Flanders News