Hundreds call on Albion to put the glowing Amex’s lights out

Posted On 24 Jan 2020 at 6:36 pm

By Steve Geliot

Hundreds of people have signed a Brighton photographer’s petition calling on Brighton and Hove Albion to stop lighting up the night skies around the Amex.

Should the Amex dim its lights?

The club has been using lights and heaters to promote grass growth in the winter months so it can meet Premiership pitch standards for the last three years.

But the light spills into the night sky, and the orange glow can be seen as far away as the Long Man of Wilmington – a distance of more than eleven miles.

As well as light pollution, scientists have now made a link between lights such as these and the deaths of insects which are vital to our eco-system.

Artist Steve Geliot complained last year and says he received a courteous reply from the club. But when the nightlights were switched back on this winter, he decided firmer action was needed.

At the time of publication, 779 people have signed his petition asking the club to put the lights out.

Mr Geliot, who lives near Preston Park, said: “I have been becoming increasingly aware and upset by it over three years but last year I particularly noticed it and I did contact the club.

“I got a courteous response but I can see that it’s as bright as ever this year.

“What has changed this year is the science. And people like me are saying this isn’t right, and I’m not putting up with it.

“I completely get that there’s a lot of loyalty to football and to the club and I’m not not anti the club or football.

“But the glow shows up in photos I took at the Long Man of Wilmington. The Amex is even brighter than Newhaven Harbour. It’s just unbelievably visible.

“I don’t think it’s that difficult to fix it, it just needs reflective panels so it’s lighting up the pitch and not the sky.

“If Albion is a progressive club, and I think it is, how wonderful would it be if they were the first to fix it?”

A spokesman for Brighton and Hove Albion said: “Like most businesses, the football club must balance its concern for, and responsibility to help protect, the environment with our need to practically run our business as a Premier League football club watched by tens of millions of people across the world.

“You will appreciate that, with millions of pounds worth of athletic and footballing talent on display each home match day, we must not only meet and maintain league regulations for the quality of our playing surface, but we also have a duty of care to our players and those of visiting teams.

“Beyond our responsibilities to the athletes, and to the fans who pay to expect to watch a high quality football match, the quality of our pitch can significantly influence our performance and therefore our results. Indeed, its quality can create a (legally) competitive advantage – or a disadvantage.

“Our results on the pitch govern the overall health of our business, and with it the thousands of directly and indirectly created jobs (90% of which are local), not to mention the overall local economic impact, independently measured as being worth £212 million in the 2017/18 season alone.

“The success of the football club also supports an important local charity, Albion in the Community, which runs more than 60 different health and educational programmes for over 40,000 local participants – and makes a further local economic contribution of nearly £30 million – each year.

“In the winter months, whilst we may at times experience high rainfall and high winds, with little or no natural sunlight, a grass pitch misses a key element of its natural ability to re-generate and grow after use. We must therefore replicate that loss of light artificially.

“Clearly, we will always limit the use of artificial light – for all the reasons highlighted – but I’m afraid we are unable to further limit or eliminate its use completely. To do so, would be to significantly neglect the other responsibilities.

“Please be assured that we take our responsibilities for the environment very seriously indeed, but like airlines, car manufacturers, supermarkets, consumer goods factories, and other businesses we all use every day, it is impossible for us to eliminate our environmental footprint altogether.”

  1. Rostrum Reply

    So basically “A spokesman” said SOD OFF …

  2. Terry Reply

    Pure arrogance. The spokesman could have said that they have looked into it, will look into or that it’s not technically possible to do anything, but instead simply wave their Johnson around about how much the footballers are getting paid up at the club. The technology must exist to do something about it.

  3. Trace Reply

    The money saved could be used to build affordable housing

  4. Fishwife, 49 Reply

    @Jo the South Downs National Park are holding their annual Dark Skies Festival in a couple of weeks: have you contacted them for a comment?
    https://www.southdowns.gov.uk/enjoy/events/south-downs-dark-skies-festival-2020

  5. Victor Meldrew Reply

    Albion are wilfully enjoining in the destruction of vital insect species. It does not give a toss about its responsibilities to the environment.

    https://www.nationalgeographic.co.uk/environment/2019/02/why-insect-populations-are-plummeting-and-why-it-matters

  6. Terry Reply

    Perhaps an extended period of darkness could be the answer with the lights operating on just alternative evenings/nights?

  7. Jake Reply

    Send in Greta Thunberg to give them her steely stare. Seriously – its totally unnecessary to send half the light into the sky. If they want to promote grass growth then they should use concentrated reflector lamps that only allow light to shine on the grass. They will get twice the efficiency which is good for the electric bill and the environment and people can then enjoy darker skies. Is it really rocket science? No.

  8. Paul Tofts Reply

    Basically Albion are saying “we are more important than anything or anyone else “. A community stadium? Sounds like not.

  9. Mick Reply

    Hard
    Hardly the response I would have expected from a community club! Disappointing.

  10. Benji Reply

    It’s a bit of a disgrace to effectively say bog off to everyone concerned about the loss of insect species as well as light disturbance.

    Sort yourselves out Albion, and stop being so rude, YOU are only a football club not the messiah.

  11. Nick Reply

    All I’m hearing from The Albion is ‘it’s all about our millions in revenue’. Very disappointing

  12. Gary Bloor Reply

    Where do we sign the petition ?

  13. John Knight Reply

    Disappointing that a modern stadium could not have installed environmentally and economically efficient lighting?

    During the depths of winter if there is not enough natural light to encourage growth, why can’t the lights be on during the day? Not sure what type of grass needs 24 hour daylight stimulation.

  14. Mickey mouse Reply

    Some of the posts on this thread are hilarious. Seriously people, if this bothers you that much, then you need to get a life. I expect you’re the type of people that complain about the government but never bother to vote. The lights have been used for 10 years and now someone who wants their 5 minutes of fame complains to the club about the most trivial of matters, even though it’s impossible to see the lights from his house. What a sad bunch of people!

    • Victor Meldrew Reply

      It is predicted that within two decades the earth will have lost 50% of ts insects. This could have a disastrous effect on the ecosystem. I take it you want to carry on eating past 2040?

    • Paul Reply

      You think it’s trivial, that’s just your opinion. Others are presenting facts.

    • MikeS Reply

      You miss the point. This is not against the use of lights bu the poor design that means a significant proportion of the light is wasted. This means there is unnecessary light pollution and a waste of energy.

  15. Mark Scott Reply

    Why not just have them on during the day. There’s never natural daylight during the night so I don’t see the point.

  16. SusieB Reply

    Perhaps they’re growing “special” grass…😂
    Also, have a look here:
    https://www.fgr.co.uk

  17. Ellen Reply

    I’m with Mr Geliot on this point. I can see the need for a premier football club to want to maintain its pitch standards, but not at the expense of the local wildlife, or the local people who are trying to sleep at night and would probably need WW2 blackout curtains to do so. I don’t live near it, but I often drive past it of a night on my way home. The first few nights I thought “where on earth is that light coming from?”. It looks like a herald for the end of the world! You can see the light as soon as you approach the top of the hill on the Falmer road
    Mr Geliot’s point about installing reflective panels (which would train the light onto the pitch and not allow it to light up the entire night sky) would surely be a solution. Not only would it concentrate the light where it’s needed, but it would also probably save B&H Albion a lot of money in the long run because there would be less energy wastage.
    Maybe Albion should give this a thought!!

  18. Roz Denny Reply

    I lived right opposite a London div 1 club for 8 years. I never recall them leaving lights on full at night to grow grass for games. Aren’t there light pollution regulations that would apply?

  19. Alan whymark Reply

    We waited years to get a stadium in our city Brighton do great work in our city and bring lots of jobs too.
    Lights are needed in the winter months to keep pitch up to scratch so they are not going to be turned off.
    As for it ruining someone’s night time picture of the long man take it from a different angle or go do it in the daytime like normal people rubbish excuse

  20. Annie Rimington Reply

    Other clubs such as Tottenham HS have other successful arrangements. Wimbledon TC who rely on their grass even more than footie clubs, use a low grass level rolling lighting/heating system. No light pollution allowed there, the rich wouldn’t like it! Come on BHA you can do far better!

  21. Vahvistus Reply

    This sums up why the environment is stuffed. They are legally obliged to protect their profits not their planet.

  22. Diana Lindsay Reply

    Come on. Listen. Save our/your planet. It’s totally not needed..turn them OFF!

  23. Andy Mac Reply

    I thought it a fair and well reasoned response by the club who do have a very good business case for their grow rigs…but I doubt that they would have been able to satisfy everyone.
    I do know a little but about grow lights in turf (not a lot, but a bit). I don’t know enough about the club’s operations to comment specifically and so I won’t speculate about what they should or should not do, however, I do have a few thoughts, having read some of the comments so far.
    1) Someone has said they are detrimental to insects. Who? Are we talking the total devastation of insects for miles around or a few moths or is there a specific rare species at risk…or is this a load of crock? How? I don’t know because all we have is a very vague statement that is easy to latch on to and make 2+2=5
    2) Most, if not all, Premier League Clubs and most other top clubs now have grow lights. They are necessary.
    3) What time do the lights go out? It’s likely that the stadium are following something set out by a planning notice.
    4) Yes, Wimbledon tennis do have grow lights. Yes, they go off at a certain hour because of the local residents, but the site is more open and more to the point, tennis is a summer sport and not subject to play and wear in winter.
    5) These light rigs are designed by experts, not some local pot head. The technology comes from greenhouse growers in places like Holland where many growers have more lighting rigs in a single business than the whole of the UK turf industry put together. Any slight saving in electricity, reduction of waste light etc has been well researched and quantified down to the nearest Euro.
    6) With reference to points 1 and 5 above: Given the huge greenhouse factories elsewhere, I’ve never read anything about the devastation of insect populations in these countries. They banned most pesticide use years ago because it is potentially harmful to the environment…is it not then reasonable to expect the same for night time use of if the insect devastation theory is correct?
    7) I looked into it…LED technology is twice the price, more than twice the weight (so relatively impractical on a large scale), requires additional heaters to work on turf and basically not really achievable for most clubs. For example, Tottenham have used them for their pitch when it slides away under the stands…but they have conventional sodium lamps for when the pitch is out and in place. No money has been spared here so what does that tell you?
    Peace x

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