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Nuisance from Artificial Lights

Artificial light has many uses: as the illumination of streets and hazardous areas, as security lighting, and to increase the hours of usage for outdoor recreation facilities, but it can cause problems. Light in the wrong place can be intrusive.

Light nuisance may constitute a statutory nuisance under the Environmental Protection Act 1990. Statutory Nuisance however does not apply to artificial light from:

  • airports
  • harbour premises
  • railway premises
  • tramway premises
  • bus stations and any associated facilities
  • public service vehicle operating centres
  • goods vehicle operating centres
  • lighthouses
  • prisons

How to prevent light pollution

Before going to the expense and effort of installing lights, consider the following points:

  • Is lighting necessary?
  • Could safety/security be achieved by other measures such as the screening of an area?
  • Do the lights have to be on all night?
  • Install the right amount for the task - for domestic security light a 150w lamp is usually adequate. High power (300/500w) lamps create too much glare reducing security. For an all night porch light a 9w lamp is more than adequate in most situations
  • Correctly adjusted lights only illuminate the surface intended and do not throw light onto neighbouring property. Set the angles of all main beam lights to below 70 degrees
  • Make sure security lights are adjusted so that they only pick up movement of persons in the area intended and not beyond
  • Direct light downwards. If up lighting has to be used then install shields or baffles above the lamp to reduce the amount of wasted upward light
  • Do not install equipment which spreads light above the horizontal

My neighbour has security lights that I don't like, what can I do?

You could try speaking to them to see if you can resolve the matter informally by ensuring that the lights are correctly adjusted and do not throw light onto a neighbouring property. Unless the light is shining directly into a window at night and normal curtains do not keep it out, it is unlikely to be considered a statutory nuisance.

A street light is shining into my bedroom window. Can anything be done?

Highway land is not defined as premises and therefore, in general this type of lighting is unlikely to be a statutory nuisance. However, find out more and report problems.

Further Information