Light pollution guidance updated to protect drivers and astronomers

Revised planning guidance advises authorities to consider the "functional" nature of lighting proposals and provides protection for groups including astronomers and drivers.

Lighting: revised PPG published (Image: Flickr / dun.can)
Lighting: revised PPG published (Image: Flickr / dun.can)

The government’s planning guidance on light pollution now states that authorities can consider "whether the proposed lighting is purely for decorative purposes as opposed to being needed for functional reasons such as security".

Authorities are advised that "insensitively positioned decorative lighting, particularly in rural areas, can be a cause for concern".

The updated guidance includes a new focus on potential harms to road users, advising that light spill can cause "safety impacts related to the impairment or distraction of people (e.g. when driving vehicles)", and advises consideration of whether new lighting will "have any safety impacts, for example in creating a hazard for road users".

Authorities are also advised to consider whether new lighting will conflict with the needs of specialist facilities such as observatories, airports and general aviation facilities.

"The needs of particular individuals or groups will need to be considered where appropriate," the guidance states.

"These include the safety of pedestrians and cyclists, and the needs of those whose activities rely on low levels of artificial light such as astronomers."

Additional changes include the removal of references to "European" protected sites.

The changes are among a series of updates to the government's Planning Practice Guidance. 

Guidance on "securing developer contributions for education" has been updated to include reference to recently revised Community Infrastructure Levy regulations and the Developer Loans for Schools pilot scheme.

Revisions to planning guidance on health and wellbeing include reference to the recently-published National Design Guide.

Guidance on hazardous substances has been updated to reflect the circumstances in which the Health and Safety Executive, Environment Agency and Office for Nuclear Regulation will advise on applications for hazardous substances consent.

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