Light pollution

This is defined as "artificial light emitted from premises so as to be prejudicial to health or a nuisance", and is classed as a statutory nuisance

However, few incidents fulfill the criteria of a "nuisance" given the specialist meaning of that word in the law. It is not the same as "annoyance" and it is narrower than "nuisance" in common law. 

Statutory nuisances are essentially about public health and, while lights briefly turning on and off, triggered by cats and foxes, may be irritating to light sleeping people with thin curtains, they will rarely, if ever, be harmful.


The rules around light pollution do not apply to artificial light from:

  • airports
  • harbour premises
  • railway premises
  • tramway premises
  • bus stations and any associated facilities
  • public service vehicle operating centres
  • goods vehicle operating centres
  • lighthouses
  • prisons

Also, a statutory defence of "best practicable means" will be available to:

  • artificial light emitted from industrial, trade or business premises; and
  • artificial light emitted by lights used for the purpose only of illuminating an outdoor relevant sports facility

The lighting of many of these facilities is also covered by planning legislation.

Reporting a problem

Report a light pollution problem