Tackle lighting nuisance!

6th Jun 2012

We are disappointed that Ministers have decided to continue to grant major transport premises (such as airports, harbours, railway premises, goods vehicle operating centres) and prisons exemption from lighting nuisance under the Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act (2005).
 
This decision followed a recent Defra consultation that sought views on whether certain premises should remain exempt from Statutory Nuisance provisions that help local authorities control light pollution. 
 
We are glad that the problem of light pollution has been recognised in recent planning reforms -  but it is frustrating that some of the biggest light polluters will still be exempt from lighting nuisance law. 
 
Local authorities should be encouraged to take action to investigate fully any complaints they receive about lighting sources that are covered by current law and take enforcement action to tackle them. And we want to see the Government looking at the issue of light pollution from transport premises and prisons again in the future.
 
In 2010, CPRE carried out a survey to find out how light pollution was affecting people’s lives. It revealed that only 27 per cent of people who reported a lighting nuisance to their local authority felt they got a supportive response. Some said their local authority had simply advised them to 'buy thicker curtains' .
 
Light pollution is a serious issue and local authorities need to take the same responsibility for making sure the local night skies are as clear of unnecessary light as they do for keeping their areas clean and tidy.
 
CPRE is working nationally with Defra to improve guidance for local authorities. Ultimately we all stand to benefit from lower energy bills, a smaller carbon footprint and regaining spectacular views of the night sky.