Dark Skies Campaign
Dark Sky Campaigning seeks to reduce the amount of light pollution that we generate. Light pollution is the spillage into the wider environment of excess light that is not required to meet the original lighting purpose. While this is an obvious issue for astronomers, it affects the public in a number of ways as well.
Light pollution is detrimental as it:
- lights up and obscures the night sky;
- does not light desired areas,
- ultimately wastes electricity,
- thereby needlessly contributes to climate change and environmental pollution
- where the lighting is provided by the state, it wastes public money (e.g. UK streetlights waste ca. £100M/annum).
In simple terms, dark sky campaigning seeks to raise awareness of this issue and offer superior solutions or training to those wishing to employ external lighting.
Who is Involved
While Nottingham Astronomical Society has its very own team of dark sky campaigners who are working on behalf of Nottinghamshire residents; there are also national and international activities. In the UK this is led by the Commission for Dark Skies (CfDS) which is a subgroup of the British Astronomical Association (BAA). However, numerous other organisations are similarly motivated to improve our use of efficient and effective lighting, while decreasing our negative economic and environmental impacts. These include:
- The Campaign to Protect Rural England
- The UK Government’s Home Security & Crime Reduction website.
- Research by the UK Home Office
- The Institution of Lighting Engineers (ILE guidelines)
- The UK government, introducing new lighting control laws (Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act)
- Many UK councils who are beginning to employ efficient street-lighting
- The UK Highways Agency now installing only efficient lighting on our main roads
- The International Dark Sky Association
The biggest problem in reducing Light Pollution
In 2008, the CfDS carried out a survey. Of 550 respondents who suffered from light pollution, over 72% made no complaint about their situation. The low number of people complaining about light pollution gave local councillors and MPs the impression that light pollution was not a major problem in their area. We need to know when you think that lighting is excessive or poorly utilised.
What do we offer the Public & Organisations in Nottinghamshire?
Our Dark Sky Campaigners are often approached for advice about how to reduce light-pollution, and how to save money on external lighting; so please feel free to email us and ask for our advice.
In summary, we:
- Offer advice regarding your own lighting
- Provide organisations with free advice regarding efficient lighting
- Connect organisations with independent contractors to assist with lighting and energy efficiency
- Engage with & inform suspected light polluting organisations of the situation
- Work with the local councils to identify and resolve non-conformance with building codes and lighting guidelines that lead to pollution
- Investigate & report on your behalf, any light pollution that you may be experiencing. Please get in touch and let us know if you consider that you are being impacted.
- Write to local councillors and Government officials, objecting to developments that will cause unacceptable and/or unnecessary amounts of light pollution and propose less polluting, more efficient lighting alternatives.
Related News Articles:
BBC: Light pollution ‘saturates’ UK’s night skies
BBC: Calls to reduce light pollution ‘backed by CPRE survey’
BBC: Audio slideshow: Dark sky stargazers
BBC: Lights switch-off plan discussed
BBC: Light Pollution
MAIL ONLINE: Striking aerial shots reveal the extent of light pollution in Leicester