Why do our dark skies need protecting?
The night sky makes up half of our visual environment and yet, unlike historic housing, ancient settlements, resident wildlife and our fantastic landscapes, the night sky has no protection, which explains why in just six years light pollution has increased by 24%.
This is not just bad news for people who can no longer be enthralled by the night sky. The amount of money squandered by ‘wasted’ light is staggering, plus the cost to human and wildlife health is significant. Making just a small low-cost difference to our lighting could bring about massive changes for the better.
Pollution is just that – light that is wasted and not used to light the things that people need. We all need light and certainly don’t want to make the AONB a light-free zone. All we want to do is ensure that we have the right lights in the right place at the right time.
The impacts of light pollution are significant, but small changes can make a big difference.
Is light pollution really that bad?
Even though it doesn’t smell bad, and if you’re used to it, it doesn’t look that bad, light pollution has been proved by experts to be just as bad as air and environmental pollution – it’s just not as obvious.
Here are some facts to get you started….
Total of 830,000 tonnes of CO2 pollution is produced from the energy wasted by streetlights alone.
The estimated cost of wasted light (that which isn’t shining on the things we need to illuminate) is a staggering £1 billion.
Light pollution is directly linked to a decrease in robin, songbird and owl populations.
Insects are the basis of many food chains, but one street light can kill up to 150 each night.
Lighting at night disrupts our circadian rhythm which has been proved to increase your risk of stress by 52%. It is linked to more serious health issues too.
Let’s look at this more positively…
There is increasing interest, wonder and amazement at the incredible array of stars above us. Stargazing is a fabulous educational activity for all and by keeping our dark skies you’ll be one of the lucky 10% of people in this country to enjoy this spectacular show.
Dark skies make the Cranborne Chase AONB unique, encouraging people to visit from polluted areas to escape to our pocket of tranquillity. That means more income for businesses through people arriving and staying longer.
Saving money. Substantial savings can be made by local authorities, businesses and individuals by turning off or dimming down unnecessary lighting. That means more money for the things that matter.
Saving energy. There is no point shining a light into the sky. Energy wastage can easily be considerably reduced – which is so much better for the environment.
All of the above is wasted light.
Easy ways to protect and enhance our dark skies… and banish the pollution
It is often said that if we all do a little, collectively we can make a big impact. In one small area of Wales, angling lights to illuminate the ground and turning off lights when they were not needed reduced light pollution by 10%.
Do you have concerns about street lighting or obtrusive lighting from another property? Let us know. We will not divulge your details but will work with others to install lighting which is a win win for everyone.
If you are interested in finding out more about light pollution, its impacts and some solutions, visit the websites below, both of which have some great resources on this subject: