Light nuisance

Artificial lighting

Artificial light is essential for many reasons, including security and preventing road accidents. But poorly designed and badly directed lighting can cause people problems.

To avoid causing light pollution:

  • do not fit unnecessary lights
  • do not use excessively bright lights - use the least powerful light needed for the purpose
  • do not leave lights on when they are not needed, consider controlling lights with passive infra-red detectors or timers
  • when aiming floodlights, make sure you only light the area that needs lighting
  • be careful not to put light onto other people's properties or into windows, as this can be very upsetting and a constant source of complaint

If you have received a complaint about your lighting or are thinking about buying/fitting a floodlight/external lighting then the guidance for the reduction of obtrusive lighting will be of use.

Light nuisance

A light nuisance may be something that is continuous or intermittent but it must be unreasonable, frequent and have a substantial interference with the use or enjoyment of your home. For example, if it keeps you awake at night because it lights up your bedroom with your curtains closed. It does not take into account inconvenience, annoyance or personal sensitivities and just being able to see the light would not make it a nuisance.

Local authorities do not investigate a light nuisance resulting from:

  • airports and harbours
  • railway and tramway premises
  • bus stations and public transport operating centres
  • goods vehicle operating centres
  • lighthouses
  • prisons
  • defence premises like army bases and premises occupied by visiting armed forces
  • street lights or vehicles on the highway - North Yorkshire County Council are responsible for the majority of our district's street lighting.

We will investigate light nuisance complaints but encourage people to try to resolve the matter between themselves in an appropriate informal manner before we get involved. Experience shows, that if done well, it will often lead to better and more permanent solutions.

If you consider your informal approach has not been successful and you want us to investigate your light nuisance complaint then please read the light nuisance pack which explains in more detail how the matter can be progressed.

Environmental protection enquiries and issues