Light pollution on the increase

STARRY night skies are disappearing across East Anglia because of the spread of light pollution, countryside campaigners have warned.A report published by the Council for the Protection of Rural England suggested that the upward glare from street lights, security lamps and industrial floodlights was now so bad that people could not see the stars.

STARRY night skies are disappearing across East Anglia because of the spread of light pollution, countryside campaigners have warned.

A report published by the Council for the Protection of Rural England suggested that the upward glare from street lights, security lamps and industrial floodlights was now so bad that people could not see the stars.

Based on data obtained from United States Air Force weather satellites, the report said the night skies over 27% of Suffolk were brighter at the turn of the millennium than they were in 1993.

The night skies over one fifth of Essex, 26% of Norfolk and 34% of Cambridgeshire has also got brighter over the same period, according to a report jointly commissioned with the British Astronomical Association (BAA), representing thousands of amateur astronomers.


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Over the whole eastern region there was increase in night-time glare of 25%.

In contrast only 3% of the region got darker, 5% of Suffolk and Norfolk, 2% of Essex and1% of Cambridgeshire.

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CPRE is launching a campaign called Night Blight! which seeks to reduce the impact of glare in the night sky.

It wants the Government to introduce a ban on the use of street lights which do not have hoods preventing upward glare and for householders and businesses to redirect security and floodlights downwards – to where the light is really needed.

The group said it was not suggesting that streets and other areas should not be lit, only that the light could be used more effectively and without brightening the sky.

Night Blight! Is being supported by celebrities who include Suffolk writer and broadcaster, Libby Purves.

She said: The night sky is part of our human inheritance. We are poorer without it."

Richard Ward, director of the Suffolk Preservation Society, the county branch of CPRE, said: "Light pollution is a real and rapidly worsening problem which is impacting on the tranquillity and character of parts of Suffolk."

Kate Parminter , CPRE chief executive, said there was no need to compromise traffic safety or make people feel any less safe when they were walking in towns and cities at night.

"CPRE and the BAA are not arguing for lights to be switched off – merely for them to be better directed so they don't waste electricity lighting up the night sky," she said.

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