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Providing evidence to improve practice

Action: Use low intensity lighting Bat Conservation

Key messages

Read our guidance on Key messages before continuing

  • Two studies evaluated the effects of using low intensity lighting on bat populations. The two studies were in the UK.



  • Abundance (1 study): One replicated, randomized, controlled study in the UK found that activity (relative abundance) of lesser horseshoe bats, but not Myotis bats, was higher along hedges with medium or low intensity lighting than hedges with high intensity lighting.

USAGE (1 STUDY)     

  • Behaviour change (1 study): One replicated, controlled study in the UK found that more soprano pipistrelles emerged from two roosts when the intensity of red lights was reduced by placing filters over them.

Supporting evidence from individual studies


A replicated, controlled study in 2000 at two bat roosts within buildings in Aberdeenshire, UK (Downs et al 2003) found that reducing the intensity of red light by adding 2–3 filters resulted in more soprano pipistrelles Pipistrellus pygmaeus emerging from the roosts than when only one filter was used. More soprano pipistrelles emerged from both roosts when red lights had two (73 and 72 bats) or three filters (76 and 127 bats) placed over them than when only one filter was used (35 and 26 bats). Over four nights in July–August 2000, each of two roosts were surveyed for one night with no lighting and for one night with red light of different intensities. A hand-held halogen light with 1–3 red filters was placed within 3–5 m of each of the two roosts. The number of filters (1–3) used on the red lights were rotated in a random order and changed every 30 seconds. On each of four nights, the number of bats emerging per 30 second interval was counted at dusk.


A randomized, replicated, controlled study in 2009 of 10 hedges in southwest England and Wales, UK (Stone et al 2012) found that reducing the intensity of streetlights along hedges resulted in higher activity of lesser horseshoe bats but had no effect on the activity of Myotis species. For lesser horseshoe bats, activity was significantly higher when hedges were lit with low intensity lights (average 37 bat passes) and medium intensity lights (22 bat passes) than with high intensity lights (5 bat passes). For Myotis spp. there was no significant difference in activity between low, medium and high intensity lights (average 5 bat passes for each). Hedges were illuminated with LED street lights (24 x 2.4 watt high power LED’s). At each of 10 sites, observations and bat detector recordings were made in May–August 2009 for six nights with each of five treatments: a silent unlit control treatment, a noise treatment repeated twice (with the generator powering the lights) and three lit treatments in a randomized order of low (3.6 lux), medium (6.6 lux) and high intensity (49.8 lux).

Referenced papers

Please cite as:

Berthinussen, A., Richardson O.C. and Altringham J.D. (2019) Bat Conservation: Global Evidence for the Effects of Interventions. Synopses of Conservation Evidence Series. University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK.