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Light nuisance


Light pollution can be described as: artificial light that illuminates areas that are not intended to be lit. In some cases, it can harm a person's quality of life. We can investigate the impact of artificial light on your property and take action when it is a Statutory Nuisance.

A Statutory Light Nuisance is light which is unreasonable and causes substantial interference in the use and enjoyment of your property eg it keeps you awake at night because it lights up your bedroom with your curtains closed. It does not take into account inconvenience, annoyance or personal sensitivities and just being able to see the light would not make it a nuisance.

What to do if you are affected by light nuisance

In most cases we advise that the informal approach is the best course of action in the first instance. This gives the person responsible for the light time to fix the problem, especially if they are not aware that a problem exists or to what extent it affects people nearby.

  • Talk to the person responsible for causing the problem - they could be unaware that they are causing a problem. Do not attempt to do this if you feel threatened.
  • Write to them - you may prefer to explain what the problem is in a letter as this can feel less confrontational.

If this does not work, we may be able to investigate your complaint.

What we can not investigate

  • reflection or glare from solar panels or buildings 
  • artificial light from airports, harbours, railways, bust station, public service vehicle operating centre or prisons
  • streetlights - please Report a street lighting problem
  • sky glow
  • visual impact
  • artificial light due to a lack of window coverings

What we can investigate

  • artificial domestic light such as security lighting
  • artificial commercial light such as illuminated delivery areas

    We are unable to investigate anonymous complaints so you must provide your name, contact details and address to enable your complaint to be dealt with. 

    What we will do

    We will assess your complaint to decide whether it could be a Statutory Light Nuisance under the Environmental Protection Act 1990. If it is covered, we will investigate your complaint further. If it is not, then we will let you know and advise you who might be able to help if possible.

    How a light complaint will be investigated

    We need to record the following sort of information to see whether the problem meets the legal test of 'Statutory Nuisance':

    • how long it lasts
    • how often it happens 
    • the surrounding environment
    • the level and type of light

    In most instances, you will be asked to initially keep a record of when you are affected. 

    We may also collect other information on site visits, and contact with the person with the light. We do not share your details at any time.

    What happens next

    The evidence gathered in the investigation will decide what happens next.

    If the evidence shows the presence of a Statutory Nuisance, we will serve a legal notice. This will make it against the law for the person causing the nuisance to carry on doing so. If they continue, we may take the person to court or take other steps to ensure the Notice is followed.

    If the issue is investigated and is not a Statutory Nuisance then we will not take further formal action and we will let you and the other person know.

    How to avoid causing light pollution

    • do not fit unnecessary lights
    • do not use excessively bright lights - use the least powerful light needed for the purpose
    • do not leave lights on when they are not needed, consider controlling lights with passive infra-red detectors or timers
    • when aiming floodlights, make sure you only light the area that needs lighting
    • be careful not to put light onto other people's properties or into windows
    Contact us
    Customer Services
    03000 26 0000