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Angarrack and Hayle area | CPRE Night Blight – reclaiming our dark skies

Interesting illustration of extent of light pollution in and arund Angarrack and Hayle via CPRE's interactive maps at aa

 


The Campaign to Protect Rural England has published maps of Great Britain’s light pollution and dark   skies. Using data captured by a satellite at 1.30am throughout September 2015, the latest technology has been used to give an accurate picture of how much light   is spilling up into the night sky and show where urgent action is needed.

Detailed maps have been created for England showing districts, counties, National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs) and, at a wider scale, National Character Areas. Besides these, there are high-level maps available for Scotland and Wales, so that we can now present the most accurate ever picture of Britain’s light pollution  and dark skies. The maps have been split into nine categories to show the range of light levels from darkest to brightest;  the resolution of the maps is 400 x 400 metres

A report ‘Night Blight: Mapping England’s light pollution and dark skies’ has been produced by CPRE, which summarises the results of the maps nationally and makes recommendations to Government, local authorities, Highways England and others with the aim of reducing light pollution.

 

Take action on local light pollution

Sadly, you're not alone in feeling frustrated by excessive lighting. Here are a few ideas about how you can take action about local light pollution.

Near Ingleton Near Ingleton Matthew Savage

Make use of our new maps

  • You can look up your local area on our interactive map and use this as evidence to help you shape future developments in your area, so that they either have well-designed lighting schemes or are refused permission if they would cause light pollution in existing dark places.
  • You can use the maps to lobby your local council about light pollution, for example if a particular light source is a problem, and raise the issue with your local MP. You could also write to your local newspaper to raise concerns about local sources of light pollution.
  • Parish councils and community groups can use the maps as evidence to inform neighbourhood plans and to shape local decisions about lighting, such as street lights owned by parish councils.
  • Schools can use the maps as an educational resource to teach students about light pollution and the value of dark skies; a lesson plan for Key Stage 1 and 2 children is available in the ‘resources’ section of this website.
  • The maps will also help you find your nearest dark skies, to escape from nearby light pollution and experience a truly dark starry night sky!

Lighting and the law

In 2010, CPRE and the British Astronomical Association's Commission for Dark Skies ran a survey to find out how people's lives are affected by light pollution. Almost 1,400 people took part and the survey revealed that the main causes of light nuisance are road lighting (89%), domestic security lighting (79%), street lights that are more than five years old (77%), businesses (56%), sports grounds (53%) and supermarkets (41%). Almost two-thirds of the light pollution came from a source with an established lighting scheme (65%) such as a development that has been in place for some time. A total 82% of respondents said that the offending lights were left on all night.

In many cases there is something that can be done. The first UK law tackling light pollution came into force in 2006 under Section 102 of the Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act (2005). Exterior lighting joins noise and smells on the list of things that can be treated as a Statutory Nuisance; things your local council's Environmental Health Department can take legal action against. The law makes 'exterior light emitted from premises so as to be prejudicial to health or a nuisance' a criminal offence.

This law doesn't tackle all forms of light pollution, only incidents of particularly bad lighting from some types of premises which cause people real nuisance. But CPRE would like to see it used, to raise awareness of the issue and to help people who really are suffering from severe light pollution.

Find out more about the how to tackle nuisance lighting

Domestic security lighting

CPRE worked with Government and others to produce a leaflet about how to use domestic security lighting correctly. It gives helpful tips for your own lighting and neighbours with poorly directed security lights. View the guidance and read more about this lighting in the 'How to' guide to light as a statutory nuisance.

Street lighting

If nearby street lighting is shining in to your home at night and causing you distress, you can contact your local council's street lighting department, explain the problem you are having, and ask what they can do to minimise the problem. You can find the contact details of your local lighting department through your local council's internet site. A full list of council internet sites can be found: https://www.gov.uk/find-your-local-council .

The council will have several possible solutions available to tackle your problem, including:

  • installing shields to the streetlights (a common solution)
  • replacing the light fitting
  • install dimming technology (an expensive option that would apply to an area instead of an individual light and could ultimately save the council money)

CPRE's dark skies campaigner Emma Marrington emailed her local council about overly bright street lights on her road in Kingston, London. Within days the council had fitted a shield to the back of the light nearest to her home.

Developers and businesses

If you would like to take action to reduce light pollution caused by existing lighting used by your business, or to ensure that new developments have well designed lighting schemes, we recommend that you refer to the Institution of Lighting Professionals Guidance for the reduction of obtrusive light.

 

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