Light Pollution and Nuisance

Light in the wrong place at the wrong time can be intrusive. Light pollution is artificial light that is allowed to illuminate or intrude upon areas not intended to be lit. Light pollution and nuisance is a growing problem to many residents due to the large numbers of security lighting around domestic properties. This is classified a nuisance when it interferes with an individuals use and enjoyment of their home.

Before you report a complaint we advise you to speak to your neighbour as they may not be aware of the light troubling you. Please do approach them first by politely requesting:

  • moving or partially shading the light;
  • fitting an infra red sensor;
  • using a lower wattage bulb as they are much cheaper and far more   efficient.

 Making a compliant

We can investigate complaints of light nuisance. The light nuisance must be substantial (for example; preventing you from sleeping) for us to investigate the problem.  Most commonly reported complaints are from lighting being installed poorly in both commercial and domestic properties.

If you wish to complain about light pollution please contact the Environmental Protection team. Your case will be allocated to an officer who will write to the light owners to ask them to address the problem, at the same time we will send you diary sheets. If the problem is not resolved with the initial letter, you will need to return your completed diary sheets so a visit can be arranged to assess the light levels.

Enforcement action

If we do find the light pollution is a statutory nuisance and the person responsible for it is unwilling to do anything about it then we will serve an abatement notice. This is a legal document that we serve on the person responsible for the light nuisance, or the owner or occupier of the premises. It requires them to stop the light nuisance and not allow it to restart.

How to avoid causing light nuisance

  • Think about the position of the light. Is it shining directly at a neighbour's bedroom window?
  • Use a low Watt, low energy bulb. Some security floodlights are 500W whereas 150W is adequate for most situations; this will also help reduce your running costs.
  • Reduce the amount of time a light is on by fitting a timer, and if a sensor is fitted, think about the area covered by the sensor, so that it does not cause the light to come on more often than is needed.
  • Use a shield or hood so that the light is directed to the area it is intended for.
  • Does the area need a light? Sometimes lights can create shadows for criminals to work in.

Advice on security light installation

Advice and recommendations on how to minimise the intrusion and glare from lighting installations has been produced by the Institution of Lighting Engineers and DEFRA to assist householders when installing security lights. 

New developments

The best method of dealing with light pollution is at the planning stage. This is an ideal time to influence the design or installation of lighting schemes.