News, Outdoor, Street

‘Don’t believe street light scare mongers’ says council

Gateshead Borough Council in the north of England has taken the unusual step of publishing a rebuttal of claims that the wireless central management system for its street lights is a secret government experiment

THE LOCAL authority at the centre of a row over the safety of a LED street lighting controller has been moved to issue a public statement following mounting fears among residents.

Gateshead Borough Council in the north of England took the unusual step of publishing a rebuttal of claims that its wireless central management system is a secret government experiment with 5G transmitters that is killing birds and insects, as well as causing nose bleeds and insomnia among the local community. It also rejected the charge that it was increasing the risk of cancer.

It said certain individuals were ‘frightening local people with false stories’. This is believed to refer to campaigners who have questioned the council’s motivations and uploaded videos to YouTube outlining the risks from the lights.

‘Gateshead Council is NOT carrying out secret government trials in 5G technology via our street lights,’ it said.

‘We don’t know how these conspiracy stories start, but we are happy to report that this is exactly what these are. These tales are completely untrue and you should ignore them.

‘Please be assured that there is no scientific basis or credible evidence for any of these scare stories about street lights causing cancer and other illnesses.

‘We’ve taken advice from Public Health England who reviewed guidance issued by the World Health Organisation, the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation and others, and they have confirmed that there is no risk’.

Prominent among the protestors is resident Mark Steele, who appeared before a meeting of the local authority last November to outline his fears.

He believes the transmitters on the street lights – a wireless control system used to switch the lights on and off, dim them and monitor the LEDs and and the drivers  – are in fact an experiment which is killing small birds, especially sparrows, as well as small flying insects.

One of the LeafNut-enabled street lights in Gateshead with its visible transmitter

The street lighting control units are the sophisticated LeafNut wireless central management system using electronic dimmable drivers, supplied by Leeds-based Harvard Technology in a £6 million contract as part of the authority’s carbon reduction project. WATC

LeafNut uses WiMAC (wireless management and control) technology to remotely monitor and control the output of each individual street light using a combination of GPRS and an FM radio frequency of 868 MHz. 

‘LeafNut has been operating globally for over 10 years with nearly 500,000 active nodes,’ said a spokesman for Harvard Technology told Lux in January.  

‘The product is CE marked and we have previously provided Declaration of Conformity, which confirms compliance with legislative requirements’.




  • The Safer Cities conference  will focus on lighting as a tool to improve security and well being in urban communities. It takes place on Wednesday 13 November and Thursday 14 November 2018 at the LuxLive 2018 exhibition at ExCeL London. Entry is free to those with urban lighting estates. More information HERE.


Main pic: Shutterstock coyright 2017