CPRE Nor­folk

We need to fight the trend of turn­ing night into day with light pol­lu­tion, warns DAVID HOOK of CPRE Nor­folk

EDP Norfolk - - Inside -

What price keep­ing our skies dark?

THE SKIES of Nor­folk are renowned for their beauty, by day and at night. Our dark skies and dark land­scapes, which are among the least light-pol­luted in all of Eng­land, are im­por­tant el­e­ments of our ru­ral char­ac­ter and de­serve greater pro­tec­tion.

Light pol­lu­tion sub­ur­banises the coun­try­side, ob­scures our view of the stars and plan­ets, has a neg­a­tive im­pact on the health of plants and an­i­mals, in­clud­ing hu­mans, and causes dis­putes be­tween neigh­bours. Un­for­tu­nately the ad­di­tional light­ing as­so­ci­ated with ever in­creas­ing lev­els of de­vel­op­ment, to­gether with a pro­lif­er­a­tion of se­cu­rity lights, threat­ens ex­ten­sive ar­eas of coun­try­side that are cur­rently dark, ru­ral and tran­quil.

A re­cent CPRE sur­vey of Nor­folk’s par­ish coun­cils re­vealed that two thirds of coun­cils are con­cerned about light pol­lu­tion and that 96% of un­lit parishes value their dark skies and land­scapes and would not con­sider in­stalling street lights. This is en­cour­ag­ing be­cause our dark vil­lages con­trib­ute so much to the char­ac­ter of our county.

For­tu­nately a large num­ber of Nor­folk’s res­i­dents are among the priv­i­leged mi­nor­ity of only 9% of UK res­i­dents who have a clear view of the Milky Way. Our dark­ness helps make Nor­folk spe­cial and dif­fer­ent. It is one rea­son why tourists visit us and why the Nor­folk Coast Part­ner­ship is work­ing hard to pro­tect the dark skies and land­scapes of north Nor­folk by pro­mot­ing two re­cently in­au­gu­rated Dark Sky Dis­cov­ery Sites at Kelling and Wive­ton Downs.

Na­tional and lo­cal poli­cies have helped com­bat light pol­lu­tion but need strength­en­ing to meet both ex­ist­ing and new threats from the ac­cel­er­ated rate of de­vel­op­ment.

CPRE Nor­folk cam­paigns vig­or­ously and suc­cess­fully on this is­sue. We have en­cour­aged coun­cils to con­trol ex­ces­sive light­ing by plac­ing con­di­tions on plan­ning per­mis­sions, per­suaded schools and re-cy­cling centres to fol­low our light­ing rec­om­men­da­tions, worked with in­di­vid­u­als and par­ish coun­cils to re­duce light pol­lu­tion, in­flu­enced road light­ing pol­icy both lo­cally and na­tion­ally and have sup­ported part night light­ing and light dim­ming schemes. We have demon­strated, with our views sup­ported by Nor­folk Po­lice, that in­creased light­ing is not es­sen­tial for se­cu­rity and crime pre­ven­tion. The in­tro­duc­tion of part night light­ing schemes has not led to more crime and there are a num­ber of ex­am­ples of crime rates fall­ing when lights are switched off.

There is much you can do. When in­stalling an out­side light en­sure it is en­closed in a full cut off flat glass fit­ment that points di­rectly down­wards and switch it on only when needed. Use white, en­ergy ef­fi­cient and main­te­nance-free LED lights. White light sources are far less ur­ban­is­ing than the glare of orange or pink sodium lights. Visit www.night­b­light.cpre.org. uk to view our Light Pol­lu­tion Guid­ance Notes and check out the amaz­ing in­ter­ac­tive maps to view light pol­lu­tion in your area. In­tel­li­gent use of out­door light­ing will save you money and help re­duce CO2 emis­sions.

We all have a role to play in re­duc­ing light pol­lu­tion – it is a prob­lem that can be solved.

Above: The Milky Way above Morston Quay

Be­low:

Seething in­dus­trial area – what the CPRE is seek­ing to avoid

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