Light Pollution

Light Pollution is defined as any form of artificial light which shines outside the area it is intended to illuminate.

PhotoLighting_KGunnell

Artificial light nuisance is a source of light that in the opinion of the Environmental Health Officer interferes with someone’s use of their property and/or is or may be prejudicial to someone’s health.  An assessment will be made on a case by case basis.  However, this does not include artificial light emitted from the following premises where high levels of light are required for safety and security reasons:

  • Airports
  • Harbour Premises
  • Railway Premises
  • Tramway Premises
  • Bus Station and associated facilities
  • Public Service Vehicle operating Centre
  • Goods Vehicle operating Centre
  • Lighthouse
  • Prison
  • Premises occupied for Defence purposes

It is anticipated that the main source of potential artificial light nuisance will be caused by excessive levels of illuminance and glare e.g. the use of unnecessary bright lights that have no useful purpose or are lit when not needed.

How to avoid causing Light Pollution

  • Ensure lighting is designed to do its job and not cause a nuisance.  Lighting should be placed and aimed so that light does not spill into neighbouring properties.
  • Do not fit unnecessary lights around your property.
  • Low level lights are much better at deterring burglars than bright lights as they create deep shadows for intruders to hide in.
  • Do not use excessively bright lights – a 150 watt tungsten halogen lamp is quite adequate.  300 or 500 watt bulbs are too powerful for domestic security lighting.
  • Do not leave lights on when they are not needed.  Consider controlling lights with passive intra-red detectors, ensuring that they are correctly aligned and installed.  However, please note these lights should not be switched on by passing vehicles, people or animals in the street.
  • Low wattage porch lights can be left on for long periods and are much cheaper to run than high wattage security lighting.
  • When aiming floodlights make sure you only light the area that needs lighting (the aim of the floodlight can easily be checked at night when you can see the actual area being lit).
  • If necessary, consider installing shielding to the light source to minimise unwanted glare and light trespass, therefore, making the lighting more effective.

Making a Complaint
If you are concerned about light nuisance usually the best way to deal with the problem is to go to the source.  Consider talking to the person or Company responsible for the light nuisance and explain the problem.  You may find that they are unaware that they are causing a disturbance and are willing to take steps to improve the situation.  The Council can also offer advice on how to reduce the light pollution.

It is encouraged that problems with regard to light pollution are settled informally between neighbours where possible.  However, where neighbours are unable to come to a satisfactory agreement the Council can intervene and carry out an investigation.  If the Council is satisfied that a light or lights are causing a statutory nuisance, it will serve an Abatement Notice on the owner or occupier of the land where the nuisance exists.

Please Note
If you make a complaint, the Council will endeavour to ensure your complaint details remain confidential but this cannot always be guaranteed.  Additionally, in some circumstances, during investigation, it may be necessary to disclose personal details.