Nuisance from Artificial Light

In 2005 the Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act amended the Environmental Protection Act 1990 to include nuisance from artificial light. It is now possible for Local Authorities to take action against individuals or businesses who cause a light nuisance to neighbouring properties.

As with other nuisances (noise, odour etc.), the onus is on the Local Authority to demonstrate that the nuisance is occurring, or likely to occur. As such, we require evidence from the person suffering the nuisance in the form of log sheets, photographs, video evidence etc., to demonstrate that the light is affecting the use and enjoyment of their property.

The determination of a statutory nuisance is based on numerous factors, including:

  • Duration,
  • Frequency,
  • Impact - i.e. material interference with use of property, or personal well-being,
  • Local Environment,
  • Motive - i.e. unreasonable behaviour or normal user,
  • Sensitivity of complainant.

There are certain premises exempt from the legislation. These are premises used for transportation and premises where high levels of light are required for safety and security reasons, this includes:

  • Airports,
  • Railway premises,
  • Bus stations and associated facilities,
  • Lighthouses,
  • Prisons,
  • Military facilities.

Once sufficient evidence has been provided, we shall attempt to resolve the complaint informally. If an informal approach is unsuccessful, and we are satisfied that a statutory nuisance exists, we have the option of taking legal action.

The Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) has provided some guidance regarding the investigation of light nuisance. This is titled "Statutory Nuisance from Insects and Artificial Light - Guidance on Sections 101 to 103 of the Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2005". This can be downloaded from the DEFRA web site.

Downloadable from the bottom of this web page are log sheets that can be used to record any light nuisance problems you are experiencing. For further advice or assistance please contact the Environmental Protection Team on 01962 848 350.