- Overview & General Advice
- What can you do?
- What can we do?
- Taking your own legal action
- See frequently asked questions about this subject
Light pollution is best described as artificial light that is intrusive and illuminating or polluting areas not intended to be lit.
- is lighting necessary?
- could safety/security be achieved by other measures such as the screening of an area?
- do the lights need to be on all night?
- install the right amount for the task - for domestic security light a 150w lamp is usually adequate. High power (300/500w) lamps create too much glare reducing security. For an all-night porch light a 9w lamp is more than adequate in most situations
- correctly adjusted lights only illuminate the surface intended and do not throw light onto neighbouring property. Set the angles of all main beam lights to below 70 degrees
- make sure security lights are adjusted so that they only pick up movement of persons in the area intended and not beyond
- direct light downwards. If up lighting has to be used then install shields or baffles above the lamp to reduce the amount of wasted upward light
- do not install equipment which spreads light above the horizontal
If you have a problem with light:
- Try to solve the problem informally, by talking to the other party
- You could speak to us, and we may be able to help if talking to your neighbour doesn't work.
- If the problem persists, it may be an antisocial behaviour issue.
- As a last resort, you can take your own action through the courts.
What you can do?
If you're being disturbed by a light, we always recommend that you try to resolve the problem informally first, before you contact us. We find most issues can be resolved informally without the need for our involvement. If a light is causing an issue in your property, try approaching the person whose light it is and politely requesting:
- re-angling or partial shading of the light
- fitting of a passive infrared sensor
- using a lower power bulb
It might help if you can show the person how the light is affecting you. Try to explain calmly how and why the issue is affecting you. If you don't feel able to approach the person directly, consider using our template letter. If you contact us we may ask if you have tried to resolve the problem yourself first by speaking to the person with the light before we will get involved.
What can we do?
Few, if any, instances of Light pollution will be a 'nuisance' within the legal meaning of that word. However, if speaking to the person causing the light issue hasn't resolved the problem, you can contact us to explain what the issues are and how they are affecting you. We aim to resolve issues quickly and so we will contact the person alleged to be causing the issue to discuss and try to agree a solution informally. If it is not possible to reach an informal solution we may suggest mediation between you and the person with the light in order to try and resolve the issues. We find that most issues can be resolved informally or through mediation, however the council can potentially take limited further formal action if it is felt necessary once other options have been explored.
Taking your own legal action
You have the right to take private legal action Take a look at our advice on tackling environmental nuisance through the legal system. You can also seek advice through the Citizen's Advice Bureau or on the government's GOV.UK resolving neighbour disputes web pages
Frequently asked questions
A street light is shining into my bedroom. What can be done?
If you're having an issue with street lights then please contact Staffordshire County Council Highways.
Are there any exemptions from light pollution control?
Light nuisance 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
General information on Light pollution can be found on the GOV.UK website
Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2005 (when does light constitute a statutory nuisance?)