Dealing with Light Nuisance
Poorly designed and badly aimed lighting can have a negative impact on the environment and cause problems for people in the local neighbourhood.
Light pollution is the intrusion of over bright or poorly directed lights onto neighbouring property, which affect the neighbours’ right to enjoy their own property. A typical example would be a security light shining into a bedroom window affecting your sleep.
What to do if you're being disturbed
If you are being disturbed by artificial light and know where it's coming from it is sensible to speak to the person responsible first and try to resolve the problem in a friendly way.
If this approach fails, you should talk to the Enforcement Response team who will investigate your complaint and first try to resolve the matter informally. See the contact section below to find out how to contact the Enforcement Response team.
If it is decided that a statutory nuisance does exist, the Enforcement Response team and you (the person affected by the light) are able to take action.
For more information on light nuisance visit the DEFRA website (see the external links section below).
Some types of premises require high levels of light for safety and/or security reasons. Consequently, the legislation does not apply to artificial light from the following premises:
- Bus stations and associated facilities
- Goods vehicle operating centres
- Railway premises
- Tramway premises
- Public service vehicle operating centres
- Premises occupied for Defence premises
While street lighting is not specifically exempted it is unlikely to constitute an artificial light nuisance
The legislation also offers a statutory defence of "best practicable means" that relates to:
- artificial light emitted from industrial, trade or business premises
- artificial light emitted by lights used for the purpose of illuminating an outdoor relevant sports facility
In this instance the business premises must satisfy a court that 'best practicable means' have been taken to prevent or mitigate the effects of the light nuisance.
Remember that for the artificial light to be a statutory nuisance the light must be excessive or producing an unreasonable level of light for the area and must be affecting you in your property e.g. the light directly illuminates your bedroom window.
The Case Officer may consider that the light you are complaining about is disturbing or annoying, but not a statutory nuisance as defined in the legislation.
- The Enforcement Response Service
Level 6 - Alexandra House
10 Station Road
- Tel 020 8489 1335
- Out of Hours 020 8489 0000
- Email firstname.lastname@example.org
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