Noise and nuisance


A light nuisance is likely to exist where a source of artificial light significantly and unreasonably interferes with a person's use and enjoyment of their property or is harmful to their health.

However, it must be more than annoyance or simply an awareness of a light source. A number of things need to be considered when deciding whether an artificial light source is causing a statutory nuisance, including the:

  • time of night
  • brightness and duration of the light source
  • nature or purpose of the light
  • level of light pollution and the area affected
  • effect on the receiver

There are some light sources exempt from statutory nuisance legislation. These include:

  • airports
  • harbours
  • tram and railway premises
  • bus stations and associated facilities
  • public service vehicles and goods vehicle operating centres
  • lighthouses
  • prisons and military installations
  •  natural light reflected off another building or structure e.g. sunlight reflected off solar panels or glazing

How to avoid causing a light nuisance

There are simple steps to avoid causing light nuisance:

  • do not fit unnecessary lights
  • do not use excessively bright lights. High power bulbs are too powerful for normal domestic security lighting situations
  • do not leave lights on when they are not needed
  • check your lights are not causing a problem
  • speak to your neighbours if possible, especially when installing new external lighting
  • consider using shields or adjusting the angle of lighting that spills over onto a neighbour's property
  • check lights are angled downwards and only illuminating the area intended

Read's light pollution advice