photo from BATS IN THE BOROUGH 2008 -

The Warren Footpath, which runs by the river from Richmond Bridge to Orleans Road, is a very important habitat for bats. There are 17 species of bat in the UK, 8 of which have been recorded in Richmond upon Thames. Bats have adapted to avoid predation by being nocturnal; they avoid lit areas and most will not fly into areas of light. Some species will not emerge from their roosts until light levels are low enough. The Ham Reach of the Thames by the Warren Footpath is known as a critical habitat for bats [they roost in the Park and feed along the river].

Biffaward and the Heritage Lottery Fund are proposing to fund either the removal or upgrade of the lighting along the towpath. This is primarily to improve the area for bats, but also provides the opportunity to improve the lighting generally. The new lighting will be using LEDs (light emitting diodes) which will reduce light pollution, improve visibility, have a longer lifespan and reduce energy consumption. A usage study has shown that the path is virtually unused by humans between 2300 and 0500 hours.

London’s Arcadia are therefore consulting on three possible lighting options:

  • Option One - leave the lights as they are
  • Option Two - remove all the street lights and do not replace
  • Option Three - install new lighting

You view an example of the proposed LED lighting and column between light columns 009 and 010 at the Richmond Bridge end of the Warren Footpath near Cambridge Gardens. The lights can be turned off or dimmed down during less busy times of the night and Intelligent Lighting Technology will be used to turn the lights on through human movement. The lights will be sensitive enough not to be triggered by weather, movement of vegetation or wildlife.

Consultation documents are available from: The Civic Centre reception in Twickenham, and Richmond Reference Library; or as downloads here All comments on the proposed works must be received by 5 pm, 9th April 2009.

– from Christopher J Squire