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Council services

Light Pollution: Outline

Light pollution is the popular name for sky glow - a brightening of the night sky caused by artificial light being scattered by small particles in the air such as water droplets and dust. Light pollution also includes light intruding into our homes,such as a bright street light outside a bedroom window.

The major sources of artificial light include street lighting, security lamps, advertising and display lighting, floodlights for sporting events and building illumination. Poorly fitted lights allow light to shine upwards, which causes sky glow. Some artificial light is also reflected upwards from roads, pavements and buildings.

Light pollution impacts on wildlife in a number of ways. It can:

  • cause migrating birds to collide with lighted buildings
  • cause a false dawn which disrupt bird's behaviour
  • cause moth deaths as they are attracted to the light (possibly a factor in the recent decline in urban moth populations)
  • disrupt tree and plant habits that are controlled by day length (e.g. leaf fall and flowering) in cities.

Unnecessary and ill-directed light is also a waste of energy.


8:30am - 5:00pm Monday to Friday

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