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Artificial Light Pollution

 

Rural areas such as South Staffordshire rarely have problems with light pollution as towns and cities do. However, light can invade the privacy of your home and affect your enjoyment of it, as well as disturbing sleep patterns.  Security lights, decorative lighting (e.g. Christmas lights) and outdoor sports facilities can all be sources of unwanted light.
 
Helpful Measures
 
Most light problems are the result of excessive levels of illumination or poor direction of lighting.  In addition to the light itself dark shadows can be created which provide an ideal hiding place for those with criminal intent.  There are some useful precautions you can take to avoid your lighting annoying your neighbours:
 
  • Use the minimum level of illumination possible; this not only reduces the possibility of complaints but saves money too;
  • Special optics or double asymmetric luminaires can be used which are specifically designed to ensure full flow of light.  If angled downwards these reduce the visibility of the light to surrounding onlookers whilst still adequately illuminating your property;
  • Some security lights are fitted with a separate switching detector which only detects movement of people on your property and not passers by or animals;
  • Fit timers to reduce the operation of the light;
  • Use of a porch light or bulkhead light which have reduced glare when compared to security lights and their movement detectors are less sensitive. Energy costs are also cheaper, however, the lights need to be located carefully otherwise they can be interfered with;
  • Screening of the light with vegetation can sometimes be effective but care must be taken not to block out natural light or affect the view from anyone’s property.
 

Further Information

 
The Council investigates hundreds of complaints each year from people in South Staffordshire.  Further information on light nuisance can be found at the Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs website (see below).
 

The Law

 
The Council has a legal responsibility to investigate nuisance complaints under the Environmental Protection Act 1990.
 
Before making a complaint you should attempt to talk to the person(s) responsible for the light and to resolve any issues between you.  If this is not possible you can make a complaint to the Council (see below) who will investigate the problem.  Although they will try to resolve the situation informally, if this is not possible and a statutory nuisance is being caused an abatement notice can be served requiring the person responsible to adjust the lighting so that it no longer causes a nuisance. 
How to Access this Service
To report an incident of light nuisance please complete our online reporting form.
 
If you have any specific concerns regarding light pollution or nuisance in South Staffordshire please contact a member of staff using the following details:
 
Environmental Protection Services
South Staffordshire Council
Council Offices
Wolverhampton Road
Codsall
South Staffordshire
WV8 1PX
 
To contact a member of staff by telephone or e-mail please see the details below.
 
We have adopted a set of standards for the provision of this service.  You can find out more about these service standards by following the link below.
Links/Forms

Pollution Complaint Form

Service Standards

 

External link: .GOV Site – Artificial Light and Light Pollution
 
External link: The Institution of Lighting Engineers

Guidance on Domestic Security Lighting

Costs

There are no associated costs for requesting information or making a complaint regarding light pollution.

Main Contact

Artificial Light Pollution

General Enquiries
Telephone: (01902) 696000
Fax: (01902) 696222
Email: envprotection@sstaffs.gov.uk
 
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