What is Light Pollution?
The term “light pollution” refers to the adverse effect of any artificial light on the environment. It is usually characterised by the orange “sky glow” that is produced above our towns and cities. This is caused by street lights and glare from lighting that spills beyond its intended lit area. We all rely on artificial light to live our lives, but do we know the facts;
- Badly designed lighting wastes energy, burning resources that could be used to meet genuine need.
- It travels far from its source, escaping from towns and suburbs to blight unspoiled rural locations.
- It is associated with risks to human health and well-being from sleep disorders, obesity, and depression to diabetes and more.
- It disrupts the life of wildlife and impacts the wider ecology and biodiversity.
- It ‘light-washes’ the night sky, sweeping away the beauty of the starry heavens, a source of spirituality and wonder since the dawn of time.
- It is unnecessary – our roads and neighbourhoods can be safely lit without it
- It can be greatly reduced by means of informed lighting design and practice
How you can help
Become a Dark Sky champion in Surrey by doing the following;
- Only use light when you need it and only use as much as you need for that purpose – anymore is just wasted, so avoid using brighter lights than absolutely necessary.
- Install lighting only where necessary and always direct it towards the ground.
- Turn oﬀ lights when you don’t need them.
- Use fully shielded fixtures around your home and encourage their use at your workplace and elsewhere.
- Use energy saving features such as timers, dimmers, and motion sensors in all outdoor lighting, and avoid using inefficient high wattage light sources (i.e. ones that produce less light per watt).
- Always remember to draw your curtains or blinds at night to prevent intrusive light unnecessarily spilling out of your home.
- Use long wavelength light (light that has a red or yellow tint rather than very white or blue lights) to minimize impact.
- Promote the use of intelligent and effective outdoor lighting in your community.
- Educate your friends and neighbours about the economic, environmental and security benefits of good outdoor lighting.
- Stay informed and spread the word about the damage that light pollution does.
Some of the best places to view the night sky in Surrey are in the Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). Headley Heath, Leith Hill and Winterfold are excellent spots. We would recommend that you take a look at the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) on the Night Blight website which shows you where to find the darkest skies.