Campaign to Protect Rural England Standing up for your countryside

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Our achievements

With streetlighting turned off after midnight this neighbourhood enjoys celestial views With streetlighting turned off after midnight this neighbourhood enjoys celestial views Photo © Andrew Whyte

We have a long record of successes that demonstrate how vital CPRE’s role is in the campaign against light pollution:

  • In 2003 CPRE published satellite maps of the UK from 1993 and 2000 which showed, for the first time, how much light was spilling up into the night sky. The data revealed that light pollution increased by 26% in England and 24% across the United Kingdom as a whole. The maps have been used by local councils, National Park Authorities and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs) in their Management Plans as a measure of light pollution in their areas. The maps were also used as evidence in the designation of Exmoor and Northumberland National Parks as Dark Sky Places. We are planning to launch new light pollution maps in 2016.
  • CPRE was instrumental in the campaign for lighting to be made a statutory nuisance. The first UK law tackling light pollution came into force in 2006 in the Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act (2005). This means that councils have a duty to investigate lighting complaints and can take legal action against intrusive lighting, for example, poorly directed domestic security lighting.
  • We held annual public Star Counts to gather evidence about how light pollution affects views of the night sky around the UK. The results showed that 54-59% of participants were living with severe light pollution and only 2-4% had truly dark skies. We used these findings to support our calls for national and local measures to tackle excessive lighting.
  • In 2012, after many years campaigning, CPRE welcomed the first ever national policy to control light pollution in the National Planning Policy Framework. This means that local authorities should encourage good design, planning policies and decisions that limit the impact of light pollution from artificial light on local amenity, intrinsically dark landscapes and nature conservation.
  • CPRE’s Shedding Light report was published in 2014 and was based on a survey of 83 English local authorities. The report explored their approach to lighting, both in planning and in management of street lighting (including part-night lighting and dimming schemes). The survey has helped us understand how decisions are made about lighting at the local level, highlighted examples of best practice and made a series of recommendations for how both county and district councils can improve how they manage lighting in their areas.
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