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Light Nuisance

Artificial lighting is essential in our modern society, however, light in the wrong place or at the wrong time can be intrusive. There has been an increase in complaints about light pollution to local authorities in recent years.

A typical example would be an inconsiderately directed security light shining into a bedroom window. Light only becomes a problem when it is poorly designed or incorrectly installed.

From 1 April 2006, light pollution was brought into the definition of a 'statutory nuisance', this is defined as "artificial light emitted from premises so as to be prejudicial to health or a nuisance". It constitutes a statutory nuisance under the Environmental Protection Act 1990 (provision added by the Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2005).

Light from some premises are exempt from this new law, such as: airports/harbour/railway/tramway/bus premises and any associated facilities, public service vehicle operating centres, goods vehicle operating centres, lighthouses and prisons.

Some premises may be able to use the defence of 'best practicable means' such as:

artificial light emitted from industrial, trade or business premises
artificial light emitted by lights used for the purpose only of illuminating an outdoor relevant sports facility

What to do to get this service

To make a complaint or for advice email, complete an online form or contact 01775 761161.

The length of time it takes to investigate complaints varies according to the nature of the complaint. Usually we will ask you to keep pdf icon records [15kb] for up to one month and depending on the information you send us we may wish to monitor the source of the noise ourselves.

Further Information on this service

What can I do?

If you have concerns about proposals that may contribute to light pollution from a new development, contact the planning department at South Holland District Council

Try approaching the owner of the lighting, minor adjustments may be all that is required or perhaps come to an agreed period for when the light is used.

You may be able to take civil action, you would need to prove that a nuisance existed. A nuisance can be described as an adverse state of affairs which interfere with your use and enjoyment of your property. However, light pollution is a fairly new problem and few cases have actually gone to court.

Links to forms, leaflets and websites providing more information

More information is about light pollution is available on the International Dark-Sky Association website. Leaflets on light pollution are available from the Environmental Protection section.

Common Questions

How do I install lighting so that it doesn't cause a nuisance?
Do not fit unnecessary lights and do not use excessively bright lights, a 150 watt tungsten halogen lamp is quite adequate, 300 or 500 watt bulbs are too powerful for domestic security lighting.

Do not leave lights on when they are not needed, consider controlling lights with passive infra-red detectors, ensuring that they are correctly aligned and installed.

For a porch light that is going to be left on all night, a nine watt compact fluorescent lamp is normally adequate.

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