Cambridge City Council has covered the pathway with ultraviolet particles that glow blue after the sun sets.
The StarPath technology from Pro-Teq absorbs and stores energy from UV rays during the day, then releases it at night, allowing the particles to glow.
The product originated as a way to repair old and damaged paths at a fraction of the cost of laying a new one. Pro-Teq then discovered that luminous particles could be added to the surface to create light after the sun goes down.
Owner of Pro-Teq, Hamish Scott, said: ‘We do existing daytime pathways with Cambridge City Council and branched out into the illumination.’
‘This product adjusts to the natural light, so if it’s pitch black outside, the luminous natural earth enhances, and if the sky is lighter, it won’t release as much luminosity,’ he said.
The product uses polyurethane with an added aggregate solution to create the effect. The path is then sprayed with a sealant top coat.
Andrea Reiner, executive councillor for public places at Cambridge City Council, said: ‘This is an interesting idea that the surfacing company asked if the council would like to explore for a trial period.’
Reiner says the glowing path technology will be used sensitively, and might not be for everywhere. ‘If we decided to put this to use on paths in the city, we would want to balance any safety benefit against the desire to preserve the historic nature of our open spaces,’ she said.
Declan O’Halloran, who looks after streets and open spaces at the council, said the technology being trialled is something ‘that could be used in the city’s open spaces, especially isolated areas where streetlighting would be too expensive to install’. It might also be useful for rural cycle paths, he added.