‘RISKY’ lights fitted to bollards as part of Worcester’s riverside spruce-up are to be safety checked after claims they could damage children’s eyes.

The LED (light-emitting diode) lights were fitted in the new bollards at Diglis Parade and Kleve Walk by the river Severn, last year.

Engineer and former scientist Mike Arnold, of Jasmine Close, St Peter’s, Worcester, told the county council last autumn the low-level LED lights posed a risk to young children’s eyesight if they stared into them for too long.

He wrote to Worcestershire County Council, and they carried out independent lab tests which they say confirmed the lights “met the British Standards and European Codes of safety”.

However they accept there is a risk, albeit one they have qualified as “slight”, if a young child in a pushchair was left 20 centimetres or closer and looked into the light for a sustained period of roughly more than 100 seconds as children’s eyes are more sensitive than adults’.

In his letter, Mr Arnold said that the lights’ manufacturer, Phillips, classed them in the moderate risk category if stared at from a distance of less than a foot.

He also wrote to the Health Protection Agency (HPA) and the HPA-affiliated Centre for Radiation, Chemicals and Environmental Hazards has suggested a diffuser be applied, or the brightness reduced.

Mr Arnold said: “The HPA say advice has been given and the council needs to come back with something that is safe.

“It is a concerning issue, and I am not alone in highlighting the glare of those lights. The council have introduced something that is going to be there for some years, and it is a hazard which must be addressed.

“By saying it is a slight risk – well my answer to that is if it can happen it will happen.”

Mr Arnold says there would be no issue if the council had installed the taller ordinary streetlight columns, as the light would be spread out while still lighting the path and river bank.

A county council spokesman said: “Despite the extremely low risk levels and unlikelihood of such an occurrence, we’re looking into whether alterations might be possible to reduce this low risk even further.”

l As we previously reported, residents in Hall Green Close, in Malvern have complained new county council LED streetlamps in their road have lit up their homes “like a football stadium”.

The county council fitted a cover on one of the streetlamps to dim the light following residents’ complaints.