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Light pollution

Common causes of artificial light nuisance, lights that are exempt and what we can do if light pollution is a problem.

Our Environmental Health team can look into complaints about artificial light from premises if the light could be classed as a 'statutory nuisance' (covered by the Environmental Protection Act 1990).

For the artificial light to count as a statutory nuisance it must do one of the following:

  • unreasonably and substantially interfere with the use or enjoyment of a home or other premises
  • injure health or be likely to injure health

What can cause artificial light nuisances

The following can cause an artificial light nuisance if they're not maintained or used properly:

  • security lights (domestic and commercial)
  • sports facilities (like floodlit football pitches)
  • decorative lighting of buildings or landscapes
  • laser shows and light art

What can happen

If we agree that a statutory nuisance is happening, has happened or will happen in the future, we can serve an abatement notice. This requires whoever's responsible to stop or restrict the light. The notice will usually be served on the person responsible but can also be served on the owner or occupier of the premises.

Natural light is not covered by statutory nuisance laws.


Help and guidance on light pollution.

Common causes and exemptions

Find information about the common causes of artificial light nuisance, lights that are exempt and how councils can assess light on GOV.UK.

Guidance note 1 for the reduction of obtrusive light 2021

This guidance note on the Institution of Lighting Professionals (ILP) website has just been revised to reflect the changes in international guidance regarding obtrusive light as detailed in CIE 150:2017 Guide.

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