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Council Services:

Statutory nuisance: Lighting

The Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2005 amended the Environmental Protection Act 1990 to bring artificial light from premises under the statutory nuisance regime from 6 April 2006. The following will constitute a statutory nuisance under this act:

“Artificial light emitted from premises so as to be prejudicial to health or a nuisance”

Unfortunately, this does not apply to artificial light from:-

  • an airport
  • harbour premises
  • railway premises
  • tramway premises
  • a bus station and any associated facilities
  • a public service vehicle operating centre
  • a goods vehicle operating centre
  • a lighthouse
  • a prison
  • street lighting

There is however, a statutory defence of “best practicable means” (BPM) available to:

  • Artificial light emitted from industrial, trade or business premises; and
  • Artificial light emitted by lights used for the purpose only of illuminating an outdoor relevant sports facility

The lighting of many of these facilities is also controllable currently under planning legislation, leaving the focus of the new provision on domestic security lighting.
So to avoid causing light pollution: -

  • do not fit unnecessary lights
  • 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 infra-red detectors, ensuring that they are correctly aligned and installed. For a porch light that is going to be left on all night, a nine watt compact fluorescent lamp is normally adequate

By taking simple steps to prevent, light pollution people can also save money by being more energy efficient.

To take action against light pollution

If you are experiencing light pollution from your neighbours try approaching them, politely requesting that they: -

  • re-angling or partial shading of the light
  • fitting of a passive infra red sensor
  • using a lower power bulb
  • it may help if you can show the neighbour the effect of the light on you

If a compromise cannot be reached then contact Environmental Protection Team who will investigate your complaint as to whether the lighting is in fact a nuisance.

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Last updated: 26 March 2014

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