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Nuisance from light pollution

If artificial light shines into your home, it might be considered as a statutory nuisance. This is defined by the Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act of 2005.

Nuisance from light pollution

If artificial light shines into your home, it might be considered a statutory nuisance. This is defined by the Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act of 2005.

There are many premises that shine bright lights that are exempt from the law. These are places where high levels of light are necessary for safety and security reasons, including:

  • airports
  • public service vehicle operating centres
  • harbours
  • goods vehicle operation centres
  • railway premises
  • lighthouses
  • tramway premises
  • prisons
  • bus stations and related facilities
  • premises occupied for defence purposes

The law is a new one, and it is still uncertain as to whether it covers street lighting.

How much light constitutes a nuisance?

The law covers “artificial light emitted from premises so as to be prejudicial to health or a nuisance”.
There is no set level of artificial light that constitutes a nuisance. Instead, environmental health officers will take account of a range of factors, including:

  • duration
  • frequency
  • impact – how the light affects your personal comfort and use of your home or property
  • local environment
  • motive – for instance whether the person causing the light is behaving unreasonably
  • sensitivity of the person making the complaint – would an average person be bothered by the light?

What action can I take?

As with other nuisance problems, we advise you first of all to approach the owner of the lighting and tell them your concerns. There may be a straightforward solution involving minor adjustments to the lighting system. Often the lighting owner may not be aware that their system is causing a problem. If this does not work, you can contact us to discuss the issue and possibly make a formal complaint.

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