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.

What does the law say about Light Nuisance?

The Environmental Protection Act 1990, as amended by the Clean Neighbourhood and Environment Act 2005, places a duty on the council to investigate complaints of nuisance caused by some artificial light sources. If light is found to be causing a statutory nuisance by affecting the health or materially interfering with the use and enjoyment of a neighbouring property then a legal notice may be served on the person responsible, requiring the abatement of the nuisance. Failure to comply with the notice can result in a criminal prosecution.

Street lighting cannot be dealt with under Statutory Nuisance provision, as a street cannot be defined as a premise.

What to do to get this service

To make a complaint or for advice contact the Council email your complaint.

The length of time it takes to investigate complaints varies according to the nature of the complaint. Usually we will ask you to keep Icon for pdf records [15.02KB] for up to one month and depending on the information you send us we may wish to monitor the source of the noise ourselves.

How to Prevent Light Pollution

  • For domestic security lights, use a 150W lamp.
  • Make sure the lights are illuminating only on your property
  • Motion detectors on security lights should be properly set up.
  • They should only pick up the movement of persons in the area intended and not beyond.

Some premises are exempt from the legislation, such as premises used for transport purposes and other premises where high levels of light are required for safety and security reasons, i.e.

  • Airports
  • Harbours
  • Railway premises
  • Tramway premises
  • Bus stations and associated facilities
  • Public service vehicle operating centres
  • Goods vehicle operating centres
  • Lighthouses
  • Prisons

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.