CPRE:

Why we’re los­ing our dark skies

EDP Norfolk - - INSIDE -

‘Without in­ter­ven­tion, our night sky and dark land­scapes will con­tinue to be lost un­der a veil of ar­ti­fi­cial light’

The Cam­paign to Pro­tect Ru­ral Eng­land’s an­nual cos­mic cen­sus re­veals that just one in 50 peo­ple now en­joy a truly dark sky. CPRE is call­ing for ac­tion to tackle light pol­lu­tion and thus en­able more peo­ple to en­joy the beauty of a starry sky.

A record 2,300 peo­ple took part in this year’s Star Count but only 2% of par­tic­i­pants recorded see­ing the won­ders of a truly un­pol­luted dark sky full of stars. Light pol­lu­tion caused by street light­ing and other ar­ti­fi­cial lights, even in the coun­try­side, was rob­bing the other 98% of the op­por­tu­nity to fully en­joy this pri­mal ex­pe­ri­ence.

Star Count was sup­ported by the British As­tro­nom­i­cal

As­so­ci­a­tion and star-spot­ters sub­mit­ted the num­ber of stars that they could see within the con­stel­la­tion of Orion. The re­sults were used to cre­ate an in­ter­ac­tive map dis­play­ing peo­ple’s view of the night sky. It clearly demon­strated the im­pact that light pol­lu­tion is hav­ing on peo­ple’s view of the stars.

The re­sults show just how far-reach­ing the glow from street lights and build­ings can be. Light doesn’t re­spect bound­aries, and care­less use can see it spread for miles from towns, cities, busi­nesses, mo­tor­ways and other roads re­sult­ing in the loss of one of the coun­try­side’s most mag­i­cal sights – a dark, starry night sky and a dark ru­ral land­scape free from the ur­ban­is­ing im­pact of un­sightly lights.

By us­ing well-de­signed light­ing only em­ployed when and where it is needed, in­vest­ing in street light dim­ming schemes and con­sid­er­ing part-night light­ing, coun­cils have a fan­tas­tic op­por­tu­nity to limit the dam­age caused by light pol­lu­tion, re­duce car­bon emis­sions and save money.

As well as urg­ing coun­cils to do their bit to tackle light pol­lu­tion in their lo­cal ar­eas, through in­no­va­tive light­ing schemes, de­vel­op­ing poli­cies to con­trol light­ing in lo­cal plans and en­sur­ing that new de­vel­op­ment does not in­crease lo­cal light pol­lu­tion, CPRE is reach­ing out to the public to play their part too. By en­sur­ing that se­cu­rity and out­door lights are only turned on when and where they are needed, ev­ery­one can do their bit to limit light pol­lu­tion.

Nor­folk is still one of the ‘dark­est’ coun­ties in Eng­land and our res­i­dents in many parts of the county en­joy a glo­ri­ous view of the night sky. Through its work with plan­ners, coun­cils, ar­chi­tects, Nor­folk Con­stab­u­lary, the Highways Agency, light­ing en­gi­neers, busi­nesses and house­hold­ers, CPRE Nor­folk has suc­ceeded in re­duc­ing the im­pact of light pol­lu­tion in our county but all this good work is threat­ened by the huge level of new planned hous­ing de­vel­op­ment.

Light pol­lu­tion also has neg­a­tive im­pacts on the health of plants and an­i­mals – in­clud­ing hu­mans and without in­ter­ven­tion – our night sky and dark land­scapes will con­tinue to be lost un­der a veil of ar­ti­fi­cial light, to the detri­ment of our own health, and the health and beauty of the nat­u­ral world.

cprenor­folk.org.uk

CPRE Nor­folk is hold­ing its sum­mer Aestival fair at Raven­ing­ham Gar­dens on July 28 from 10am

ABOVE: Very few of us have the chance to mar­vel at a truly dark sky at night Getty/iS­ti­ock­photo

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