Light pollution

Reporting intrusive light pollution caused by floodlights and other sources of artificial light.

Can the council investigate light pollution?

We only have powers to deal with reports of light pollution if it is caused by the intrusion of artificial light from nearby premises and is causing a statutory nuisance. Artificial light, as opposed to natural light, means light produced by electrical means, such as security lighting or floodlights. We will not investigate reports of natural light, glare from traffic, or 'sky-glow', which is the brightening of the night sky over urban areas.

For the artificial light to count as a statutory nuisance it must do one of the following:

  • unreasonably and substantially interfere with the use or enjoyment of a home or other premises
  • injure health or be likely to injure health

Certain sources of artificial light are exempt from statutory nuisance laws, such as street lights, airports, harbours, and other transport sites, as well as prisons and defence premises, for example an army base.

Many situations can be resolved informally but we have legal powers to take formal action if necessary. If you make a complaint to us about light pollution you can expect a response within 10 working days.

Read more about what powers are available to deal with light nuisance on the GOV.UK website.

Is there advice on how to install lights correctly to avoid causing a nuisance?

You can find useful guidance on preventing light pollution from security lights on the Institution of Lighting Professionals website.

Solutions which might help prevent your lighting causing a nuisance include fitting a timer so it does not stay on all night, lowering the strength of the bulb, and making sure it is not directed towards other people's property.

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