Light pollution

Light pollution is artificial light from premises that causes nuisance because it interferes with a person's use of their property, such as preventing sleep. Nuisance is not the same as annoyance, for example: security lighting briefly triggered by animals may be irritating to light sleeping people with thin curtains, but will rarely, if ever, be harmful.

What can I do about light nuisance?

Many people do not realise that their outside lights may be causing a problem to their neighbours. Try to approach your neighbour for a chat about the problem. Try to keep things light-hearted and friendly and explain how the light is affecting you. Politely suggest possible solutions to the problem such as:

  • Re-angle or partially shade the light
  • Fit a passive infra red sensor so that the light is not on all the time
  • Use a lower power bulb

How to avoid causing light nuisance

  • Think about the position of the light. Is it shining directly at a neighbour's bedroom window?
  • Use a low Watt, low energy bulb. Some security floodlights are 500W whereas 150W is adequate for most situations; this will also help reduce your running costs.
  • Reduce the amount of time a light is on by fitting a timer, and if a sensor is fitted, think about the area covered by the sensor, so that it does not cause the light to come on more often than is needed.
  • Use a shield or hood so that the light is directed to the area it is intended for.

Does the area need a light?

Sometimes lights can create shadows for criminals to work in.

Advice on security light installation

Advice and recommended installation methods to minimise obtrusive security lighting can be found in the following guidance notes.

Last updated: Tuesday, 26 April, 2022.