Light pollution advice

Excessive, poorly directed and inadequate lighting, especially if it is left burning for longer than necessary, causes a serious form of pollution which may interfere with residents’ sleep, compromise traffic safety, disrupt the natural cycles of wildlife and obscure viewing of the night sky. Light pollution can therefore be classed as a statutory nuisance. It is defined by the Environmental Protection Act 1990 as any form of artificial light which shines outside the area it is required to illuminate, where this will cause a nuisance or be prejudicial to health.

It also wastes energy and money; energy audits suggest 30 to 60 per cent of energy consumed in lighting is unnecessary.

Guidance and best practice

Statutory guidance

The above information contains links to external websites. We will do our best to maintain these links but apologise if any of them become broken. Please email if you notice any that do not work and we will update them.

Steps for builders

To avoid causing a nuisance, please make sure that any use of site lighting to illuminate working areas, access routes, stairs, site accommodation, or for security purposes, has regard to unwanted effects (particularly light trespass into neighbouring properties) and does not distract local traffic.

The information below sets out the steps in more detail that developers and builders should be taking to ensure the site is set up and managed in a way that follows best practice.

Light pollution advice
Advice for builders
Site lighting should not intrude into residential properties, or cause a rail or road hazard.
The angle of lighting should be less than 80 degrees above nadir, shrouded to prevent unwanted illumination, and with a power rating minimised as appropriate for its specific purpose.
Consideration should be given to time switches and infra-red detection of movement.
Site security cameras should use infra-red technology and be located so as to not cause offence to residents.
Flood or spotlighting for purely advertising purposes is unacceptable.
Suitable lighting to site boundaries is essential and must be sufficient to ensure the safety of passing public and those with impaired vision, hearing or mobility.
Lighting is required in the hours between dusk and dawn.
Care should be taken to create an even lighting level, avoiding pockets of shadow.

Advice for residents

If you are disturbed by light coming from a building site, please contact the Council’s Noise and Nuisance service on 020 7361 3002.

Last updated: 29 November 2019