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You are here: Home Page > Environment and Planning > Pollution > Light Pollution

Light Pollution

Artificial light is essential in our modern society, to illuminate streets, footpaths, sports grounds and buildings. It is used more and more to provide security lighting and to enhance the appearance of buildings at night.

Problems can be caused when the lighting is too bright or inappropriately sited, thereby intruding into neighbouring properties. This may interfere with a person’s right to enjoy their own property. The most common example is a security light shining into a bedroom window.

People considering installing lighting should ask a few questions:  

(a) Is lighting necessary?  
(b) Can safety or security be achieved another way?  
(c) Do the lights have to be on all night?  
(d) Has the lighting system been designed for the task?

Control measures can be built in:  

(a) For advice contact the Institution of Lighting Engineers.
(b) Adjust the position and location so that the light only illuminates the surface intended (do this at night so that you can test it).
(c) Main beam angles should be less than 70o to the vertical.  
(d) Direct light downwards wherever possible.

If you are affected by light pollution, you should approach the person responsible to try to come to an agreement. If the lighting is associated with a commercial premises, this person probably does not know there is a problem. The Pollution Control Officer may be able to mediate if your approach is not successful. If you contact us, make sure you have information about the source of the light pollution and what you have done so far. There are no specific legal controls, although in the worst cases you could consider common law nuisance powers. You will need to contact a Solicitor for advice on this.

Some schemes associated with new developments require planning approval. The Planning Officer and Environmental Health Officer will try to ensure that problems do not occur. If you have concerns about a particular proposal, contact the Planning Officer.

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