In response to the BBC Newsnight investigation (9/11/10) that found significant numbers of councils considering cutting back on street lighting , Emma Marrington, Rural Policy Campaigner at the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE), says:
“The decision by many councils to explore a reduction in the levels of street lighting will be welcomed by many. This move may have been driven by financial cut backs, but it is certainly the right choice if we are to reduce light pollution and energy consumption.”
In recent years, light pollution has been a growing problem, with more and more people around the UK not enjoying a clear view of the night sky. Earlier this year a CPRE/CfDS survey found eight out of ten people (83 per cent) had their view of the night sky affected by light pollution . Councils spend a collective £532 million on street lighting each year and the lights can account for around 5-10 per cent of a council’s carbon emissions .
Emma Marrington continues: “Light pollution blurs the distinction between town and countryside and denies people the experience of a dark, starry sky. It can disrupt wildlife and badly affect people’s sleeping patterns.”
“A great deal of street lighting across the UK is unnecessary, excessive or poorly targeted. Councils are completely correct to look at where lighting can be dimmed, replaced with better modern fittings, or turned off completely. Of course, any changes to lighting should be in full consultation with local residents and the police to ensure that the proposals are practical. Ultimately, smarter lighting will save councils money, cut unnecessary light pollution and reduce their carbon footprint.“
Notes to Editors
1. BBC Newsnight report http://bbc.in/akeOUo
2. Survey carried out using survey monkey between 11 December 2009 and 21 February 2010. The total number of respondents was 1745, although the average number of respondents to any given question was 1027. Participants were sourced by voluntary referral and no subsequent demographic balancing has taken place. The full CPRE report on this survey and light pollution can be found at www.cpre.org.uk
3. Department of Communities and Local Government, Local Authority Revenue Expenditure and Financing England 2009-10 Budget (Revised), 22 December 2009
4. Energy Saving Trust, www.energysavingtrust.org.uk, 09 April 2010
• CPRE, the Campaign to Protect Rural England, is a charity which promotes the beauty, tranquillity and diversity of rural England. We advocate positive solutions for the long-term future of the countryside. Founded in 1926, we have 60,000 supporters and a branch in every county. President: Bill Bryson. Patron: Her Majesty The Queen. www.cpre.org.uk
• The British Astronomical Association is Britain’s largest astronomical organisation, with thousands of members nation-wide. Its Campaign for Dark Skies was founded in 1989, and aims to ensure quality lighting in the UK. A well-lit environment below and a view of the starry sky above are not incompatible.