Light pollution occurs from the use of artificial lighting. In some cases when light is emitted it can be seen as prejudicial to health or a nuisance. In general terms light pollution can be described as light that is emitted in the wrong place at the wrong time that illuminates areas that should not be and is found intrusive to others.
The use of artificial lighting is essential in our society as it has many uses such as street and recreational lighting, however it can cause problems to others if they find it to be intrusive and can affect their right to the use and enjoyment of their property.
The council has a duty to investigate all complaints regarding this issue. If we feel the level of light present does constitute a nuisance we are able to deal with it under the Environmental Protection Act 1990 and the Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2005.
What are the effects of light pollution?
- If light is too bright it can be intrusive to others and can affect their right to the use and enjoyment of their property and land causing problems such as sleep deprivation.
- Too much light can detract from architectural quality of buildings
- Can have impacts on local ecology of wildlife, ecosystems and behaviour patterns of animals.
- Unnecessary light is a waste of energy and resources
- Too much light can cause glare, which makes it difficult for one to see and conceals rather than reveals a view
- Adds to sky glow.
How can light pollution be reduced?
Ask yourself a number of questions -
- Is light really necessary or is there an alternate option?
- If light is needed then how much is needed?
- How should the light be installed & positioned for best effectiveness?
- What times should the light be used?
- How bright does it need to be to achieve its purpose?
Do you really need light?
Consider all the alternative options e.g. could you make use of screening or segregation in an area to improve safety / security instead of a security lamp. If you do use lights for security ideally these should use a 150-watt bulb. If you are using a light that is on all night such as a porch lamp, then these should use a low energy 9w bulb.
How should lights be installed & positioned?
When using or installing any type of light make sure that they are positioned and angled correctly as to cast as little light as possible onto neighbouring premises / land. They should be adjusted so that they only illuminate and pick up motion in the area required and not beyond. Try to use down lighting where possible.
When are they used?
Think about the times when you actually need the light, particularly at night time. If the light is not required then turn it off, this could be done either manually or using timer devices. Try not to keep them on constantly, this will also save energy and resources.
How bright should they be?
Ensure that lights are being operated using the lowest possible wattage / brightness to fulfil their purpose. If you are doing this then lighting should only become a problem to others if it's incorrectly installed or has poor design.
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Also of Interest…
- Are there alternatives to making a light pollution complaint? (Light Pollution FAQs)
- How can I make a light intrusion complaint? (Light Pollution FAQs)
- What can I do about a light problem? (Light Pollution FAQs)
- What happens after I make a light pollution complaint ? (Light Pollution FAQs)
- What light related problems will Environmental Health investigate? (Light Pollution FAQs)