Light pollution from external artificial lighting

External artificial lighting can be a good thing - it helps people feel safe at night, improves road safety and can encourage us all to spend more time outdoors. However, it can also cause problems.

Light pollution

Light pollution is sometimes a big concern for residents and, over the years, we have seen complaints about light pollution increase. There are three common types of light pollution:

  • Sky glow - This is the orange glow seen around urban areas caused by the scattering of artificial light by dust particles and water droplets in the sky.
  • Glare - The uncomfortable brightness of a light source when viewed against a darker background.
  • Light nuisance - Light spilling beyond the boundary of a property where the light source is needed.

Lighting on new developments

If you are developing residential or business scheme in the district, your lighting design will not require planning permission if it:

  • is a large scale engineering operation and requires specialist lighting engineers,
  • is a scheme that illuminates a large area, such as a football or tennis court,
  • requires listed building consent.

It will not require planning permission if it only affects the interior of the building or does not significantly alter the outside of the building. This is generally the case for most residential work, such as outdoor security lights etc.

However, it is always best that you consult with the planning team before carrying out any works, so they can give you advice and guidance.

Our environmental health team have also prepared guidance on external artificial lighting, which gives tips on how to avoid the most common types of light pollution.


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