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.
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
- 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
- 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
- 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.
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 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
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
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.
Pollution Complaint Form
External link: The Institution of Lighting
on Domestic Security Lighting
There are no associated costs for requesting information or
making a complaint regarding light pollution.
Artificial Light Pollution