The law on light nuisance
The council can investigate complaints of light nuisance under the Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2005.
To be classed as light nuisance, the light must be interfering with someone's use of their property. The legislation does not cover any other form of light pollution. If we agree that the light is a nuisance we will contact the offender - informally at first, but will serve an Abatement Notice if necessary. If the offender fails to comply with the notice, proceedings can be taken in the Magistrates' Court.
What you can do to reduce the problems of light pollution
- Switch off lights when not required for safety or security. For example, switch off advertising and decoration lighting between 11pm and dawn
- Direct the light downwards to illuminate the target and reduce glare
- Use specifically-designed lighting equipment which reduces the spread of light
- Do not "over illuminate", as it can be unpleasant and a waste of money
- Reduce glare by ensuring the main beam angle is directed towards the observer and is kept below 70º
- The higher the mounting is, the lower the main angle beam needs to be.
For domestic and small-scale security lighting
- Passive infrared detectors can be used if correctly aligned and installed. A 150W Tungsten Halogen lamp can be used. 350/500W lamps create too much light, more glare and dark shadows
- You can use low-brightness lighting for all-night use (such as porch lighting)
- Energy-efficient light bulbs will reduce the amount of electricity used in providing the lighting required.
If you are troubled by lights from neighbouring properties:
- Approach the owner of the lighting and request politely that the lighting is redirected to reduce the glare onto your property. A minor adjustment may be all that is required
- If all informal approaches fail to reduce the problem, you may take your own civil action through the Magistrates' Court.