Light Pollution - Is it a statutory nuisance?

Assessment of potential nuisance

The Council can now assess whether lighting is a Statutory Nuisance under the Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2005.

This act extends the Statutory Nuisance provisions of the Environmental Protection Act 1990, to cover artificial light emitted from premises (excluding transport facilities, freight depots, lighthouses, defence premises and prisons).

A nuisance can be described as an adverse state of affairs that interferes with an individual's use and enjoyment of his or her property.

To constitute a Statutory Nuisance light must be more than simply an annoyance, an example of a light which may be considered a Statutory Nuisance is where a light is spilling on to a property causing a neighbours rooms to be lit up at night.

Sources of Light Pollution

Complaints about light nuisance

When a complaint about light nuisance is made, the Council will in the first instance visit the area during darkness hours to make an initial assessment. If a visit to a property is required an appointment will be made.

If the impact of the lighting is judged to be sufficient to constitute a Statutory Nuisance the owner will be contacted and advised of the problem, most often the owner is willing to rectify the problem.

However, if the issue is not dealt with satisfactorily, this may result in the serving of an Abatement Notice. Failure to comply with such a Notice will result in legal proceedings to enforce the notice.

Informal settlement and mediation

Wherever possible, problems with regard to light pollution should be settled informally between neighbours.

The Council can offer advice on how to reduce light pollution; see Sources of Light Pollution.