Light pollution is unwanted light that may come from a variety of artificial sources including street lights and neon signs.
Some types of premises require high levels of light for safety and / or security reasons. Consequently, the legislation does not apply to artificial light emitted from the following premises:
- Public service vehicle operating centres
- Goods vehicle operating centres
- Railway premises
- Tramway premises
- Bus stations and associated facilities
- Premises occupied for Defence purposes
While street lighting is not specifically exempted it is unlikely to constitute an artificial light nuisance as it is not usually found on premises as defined in the legislation. Should you have any queries regarding street lighting please telephone number 0800 096 6217.
The legislation also offers a statutory defence of "best practicable means" that relates to:
- artificial light emitted from industrial, trade or business premises
- artificial light emitted by lights used for the purpose of illuminating an outdoor relevant sports facility
In this instance the business premises must satisfy a court that "best practicable means" have been taken to prevent or mitigate the effects of the light nuisance.
What If I Have a Light Pollution Problem?
There are no set levels of light above which a statutory nuisance is, or may be caused, nor below which it will not. In determining an artificial light nuisance a number of factors will be taken into account including:
- Impact - i.e. material interference with use of property or personal comfort
- Local Environment i.e. nature and character of the area
- Motive - i.e. unreasonable behaviour or commonplace action
- Sensitivity of the person affected - statutory nuisance relies on the perception of the average person on the street, and is not designed to take account of particular sensibilities
If you are experiencing a problem from your neighbour try to approach the person responsible for the offending light and politely request that they:
- re-angle or partially shield the light
- fit a passive infra red bulb
- use a lower power bulb
There may be a simple solution through minor adjustments to the lighting system that will resolve the problem. It may help if you can show your neighbour the effect of the light from your property.
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