Pollution control - light pollution
The insensitive use of lighting can result in problems. Light in the wrong place at the wrong time can be intrusive and there has been an increase in the number of complaints that we receive about light pollution over recent years.
If you are bothered by a light source first approach the person responsible for the lighting and explain politely that you are being troubled by it, very often they will be unaware that a problem exists and a minor adjustment to the angle of the light, or an agreement reached about when the lights should be turned on or off may be all that is needed.
If an agreement cannot be reached with your neighbour we can deal with light that, in the opinion of an environmental health professional, is causing a statutory nuisance. If you contact us, make sure you have information about the source of the light pollution and what you have done so far.
To be a nuisance the light has to be very bright, or switch on and off frequently, or move around frequently.
Section 102 of the Clean Neighbourhoods Act creates a new form of legal nuisance namely "artificial light emitted from premises so as to be prejudicial to health or a nuisance". There are no rules as to actual light levels; it all depends on the local conditions.
Where the law applies
The law does not apply to artificial light from:
A bus station and any associated facilities
A public service vehicle operating centre
A goods vehicle operating centre
- Premises occupied for defence purposes
We cannot act in some other circumstances. For example, when the person responsible can show that they are taking the "best practicable means" to reduce nuisance from:
Artificial light emitted from industrial, trade or business premises
Artificial light emitted by lights used for the purpose only of illuminating an outdoor relevant sports facility
- Where the light is not being emitted from a premises, for example street lighting.
What you should consider
If you are installing security lights:
Use minimum wattage lamps. For domestic security lights 150W lamps are adequate
Angle your lights downwards
Correctly adjust your sensors so that they only pick up movement in the area intended
If using uplighting, install hoods or shields to reduce the amount of wasted upward light
Do not install equipment which spreads light above the horizontal
For advice contact the Institution of Lighting Professionals (ILP) (opens in a new window)
Some schemes associated with new developments require planning approval. The Planning Officer and Environmental Health Officer will try to ensure that problems do not occur.
Name: Environmental Health (Christchurch)
Tel: 01202 495045
Fax: 01202 495108
Full details for Environmental Health (Christchurch)
Name: Public Health Services (East Dorset)
Tel: 01202 886201
Fax: 01202 639029
Full details for Public Health Services (East Dorset)
Name: Public Health & Housing Services (Purbeck)
Tel: 01929 556561
Fax: 01929 557351
Full details for Public Health & Housing Services (Purbeck)
Name: Public Health (West Dorset)
Tel: 01305 251010
Fax: 01305 251481
Full details for Public Health (West Dorset)
Name: Environmental Protection (Weymouth and Portland)
Tel: 01305 838432
Fax: 01305 766684
Full details for Environmental Protection (Weymouth and Portland)
Name: Customer Services - North Dorset
Tel: 01258 454111
Full details for Customer Services - North Dorset