Supporting communities  |  3 Mar 2022

The small Banks Peninsula community of Birdlings Flat will be without street lights for six months in a trial that could become permanent.

It was prompted after a majority of residents responding to a survey said they supported the removal or reduction of street lighting in the seaside settlement, which sits between Tai Tapu and Little River.

Existing street lights have been isolated from the power supply and will remain off until August. Three warm-coloured LED lights will be installed on Clifton Street midway through the trial period.

These lights will be 2200K LEDs, as recommended by the International Dark Sky Association.

Over 90% of the council owned street lighting network is currently upgraded to LED .

“This wider upgrade provided us with an opportunity to engage with the Birdlings Flat community on what they wanted to see. This indicated there was strong support for no lighting or reduced lighting in the settlement,” Christchurch City Council Head of Transport Lynette Ellis says.

“Birdlings Flat has unique environmental qualities due to its isolated location next to a large lake, which changes the context of what good street lighting looks like. The six month trial is an opportunity for residents to see the potential impacts of this as a long-term option.”

Resident Janet Reeves says locals have appreciated working closely with council to develop a tailor-made solution.

“Once the trial is over we can collectively decide if we want the lights permanently removed. After that, who knows, maybe we could become recognised as a dark sky park?

“We love living in this special land and seascape setting. Looking up at the stars from our gardens or the beach is a real pleasure. Where there are street lights they spoil the view,” Ms Reeves says.

Towards the end of the trial a survey will be sent out to all residents and property owners to gain feedback on the preferred option for a permanent solution to the street lighting at Birdlings Flat.