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Light pollution

If you have a problem with light nuisance in our area contact our Public Protection Unit to make a complaint. We’re available Monday to Friday 8.30am to 5.00pm and will respond within 5 working days.

Any form of artificial light shining outside the area it needs to illuminate is considered light pollution; however, we only have powers to take action when light pollution interferes with a person's use of their property, such as preventing sleep and cause as statutory nuisance.

We cannot help when light pollution:

  • affects the beauty of the night sky
  • hinders a view of the stars
  • is an annoyance, for example when caused by animals briefly triggering security lighting
  • comes from railway, public service and goods vehicles' operating centres

Making a complaint

If you’re affected by light nuisance you should approach your neighbour to explain how the light is affecting you; they may be unaware they’re causing a problem. Politely suggest possible solutions, such as:

  • re-angling or partially shading the light
  • fitting a passive infra red sensor so that the light is not on all the time
  • using a lower watt-powered/low energy bulb

If this doesn’t work you can make a complaint by contacting the Public Protection Unit. Please provide us with:

  • your name, full address and contact details
  • the address you are complaining about
  • information about light nuisance

We’re unable to take anonymous complaints, but your personal details are kept confidential.

We’ll contact the light owner to address the problem and send you diary sheets to complete. If our initial contact doesn’t resolve the problem, you’ll need to contact us and return your completed diary sheets, so a visit can be arranged to assess the light levels.

How to avoid causing light nuisance

Minimise the likelihood of causing light nuisance by:

  • thinking about the position of lights and avoid shining towards neighbour's bedroom window
  • using low watt, low energy bulbs - 150W is adequate for most situations and will have reduced running costs compared to larger alternatives
  • fitting a timer to reduce the amount of time the light is on
  • ensuring the area covered by any sensors is appropriate, so that it does not cause the light to come on more often than is needed
  • using a shield or hood to direct the light to the intended area only

Guidance notes from the Institution of Lighting Engineers provide more advice on installing security lighting:

Also see

Public Protection Team

Eco Depot, Hazel Court, York, YO10 3DS

Telephone: 01904 551525