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Light pollution

From April 2006, the definition of Statutory Nuisance included artificial lighting. 

This will not apply to artificial light from:

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

This nuisance is not about annoyance or aesthetics, it is about public health. Whilst lights briefly turning on and off may be irritating, they will rarely be harmful.

How to avoid causing light pollution

  1. Do not fit unnecessary lights.
  2. Do not use bright lights. For example, a 150-watt tungsten halogen lamp is fine. 300 or 500-watt bulbs are too powerful for domestic security lighting.
  3. Do not leave lights on when they are not needed. Consider controlling lights with passive infrared detectors. For a porch light left on all night, a nine-watt compact fluorescent lamp is adequate.

Action against light pollution

If you are experiencing light pollution from your neighbours, politely request them to:

  • re-angle the light
  • fit a passive infrared sensor
  • use a lower power bulb

It might help if you can show the neighbour the effect of the light from your side of the fence. You can also suggest to the owner that they may be wasting money on excessive lighting.

Please be aware that lights do not always deter criminals. Should a statutory nuisance exist the Council can take legal proceedings against the offender.

Advice on installing domestic security lighting

Please view the advice given by the Institution of Lighting Engineers (ILE):

Icon for pdf Installing domestic security lighting [101.32KB]
Icon for pdf Reduction of obtrusive light [114.04KB]

If you want advice or wish to make a complaint, please contact the Private Sector Housing team today on 0191 433 3000.

Contact us

Private Sector Housing Team
Housing, Environment and Healthy Communities

0191 433 2350

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