Dark skies mean per­fect place for glimpse of stars

Ash­ford named as one of the best for avoid­ing light pol­lu­tion

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Spate Of Accidents - By He­len Fair­ley

ken­tish­ex­press@thek­m­group.co.uk Local stargaz­ers will be pleased to hear that Ash­ford has the dark­est skies in Kent.

The news comes as the Campaign to Pro­tect Ru­ral Eng­land (CPRE) re­leased de­tailed maps, which show the lo­ca­tion of light hotspots around the coun­try.

The area was ranks 68th out of 326 dis­tricts across the coun­try – which will come as good news to Ash­ford Bor­ough Coun­cil who adopted a spe­cific Dark Skies Pol­icy in 2015 to cre­ate aware­ness about light pol­lu­tion and to raise the pro­file of dark skies as an en­vi­ron­men­tal as­set.

But Kent as a whole fares less well as only the 29th dark­est – or 12th light­est – county of the 41 in Eng­land.

The CPRE re­search aims to in­crease aware­ness of the harm­ful ef­fects light pol­lu­tion can have on the health of peo­ple and wildlife.

Hi­lary New­port, di­rec­tor of CPRE Kent said: “Our view of the stars is ob­scured by ar­ti­fi­cial light. It is known that dark skies are ben­e­fi­cial to our well­be­ing.

“Light pol­lu­tion can dis­turb our sleep, pre­vent our en­joy­ment of the coun­try­side and af­fect wildlife, by in­ter­rupt­ing nat­u­ral rhythms in­clud­ing mi­gra­tion, re­pro­duc­tion and feed­ing.”

Now the group is call­ing on Kent’s local author­i­ties to use th­ese maps to iden­tify ar­eas with se­vere light pol­lu­tion and take ac­tion to re­duce it, as well as iden­ti­fy­ing ex­ist­ing dark skies that need pro­tect­ing.

What do you think? Write to Ken­tish Ex­press, 34-36 North Street, Ash­ford TN24 8JR or email ken­tish­ex­press@thek­m­group.co.uk Thanet Earth, pic­tured above, is the sec­ond worst light pol­luter in the coun­try.

The UK’s largest green­house com­plex - based in Thanet - pushes out more light pol­lu­tion than al­most any­where else in Eng­land, it’s been re­vealed.

Only the gi­ant Tata Steel com­plex in Rother­ham causes more light pol­lu­tion than Thanet Earth - the 220-acre food fac­tory in Birch­ing­ton.

A satel­lite cap­tured vis­i­ble and in­frared im­agery to de­ter­mine the lev­els of light em­a­nat­ing into Bri­tish skies.

It re­vealed Thanet Earth’s max­i­mum bright­ness is brighter than any­where else in the south east, in­clud­ing Lon­don.

Thanet as a whole is 241st in the rank­ings, with 34% of its skies in the light­est cat­e­gories.

Mean­while Dart­ford has Kent’s light­est skies, ranked 260th out of all the 326 dis­tricts in Eng­land.

That is mostly caused by the area’s ma­jor trans­port net­works, in­clud­ing the Dart­ford Cross­ing.

Ash­ford is a good place for stargaz­ing

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