Make a complaint about light nuisance

We can assess whether lighting is a 'statutory nuisance' under the Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2005. 

This act extends the provisions of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 to cover artificial light emitted from premises (excluding transport facilities, freight depots, lighthouses, defence premises and prisons).

A nuisance can be described as 'an adverse state of affairs that interferes with an individual's use and enjoyment of his or her property'.

To constitute a statutory nuisance light must be more than simply an annoyance. An example is where a light is spilling on to a property - causing a neighbour's rooms to be lit up at night.

If lighting does not constitute a statutory nuisance we have no powers to deal with it.

How to avoid causing light nuisance

Householders can avoid causing a light nuisance by making sure they:

  • Do not fit unnecessary lights
  • Do not use excessively bright lights. A 150 watt tungsten halogen lamp is quite adequate - 300 or 500 watt bulbs are too powerful for domestic security lighting
  • Do not leave lights on when they are not needed
  • Consider controlling lights with correctly aligned and installed passive infra-red detectors. For a porch light that is going to be left on all night, a 9 watt compact fluorescent lamp is normally adequate
  • Re-angle or partially shade lights so that the light only falls on the area that needs to be illuminated.

Read our Guide to reducing obtrusive light (PDF Document, 0.69 Mb)

Complaints about light nuisance

When a complaint about light nuisance is made, we will require the complainant to keep a record of when and how the light is affecting them.

We will also contact the owner/occupier of the site producing the light. We will tell them a complaint has been received and ask them to make sure the lighting system does not cause a nuisance to surrounding properties.

The records kept by the complainant are used to make an initial assessment. If, following the initial assessment, we feel the light may constitute a statutory nuisance, then we will visit the site, witness the impact of the lighting and make an unbiased assessment.

If the impact of the lighting is judged to be sufficient to constitute a statutory nuisance

We will contact the owner. Most often the owner is willing to rectify the problem - but if the issue is not dealt with satisfactorily this may result in us serving an Abatement Notice.

Failure to comply with such a notice will result in us taking legal proceedings to enforce the notice.

Make a complaint about light nuisance

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Last updated: Thu 26 September, 2019 @ 14:46