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South Bucks District Council
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Light Nuisance

Light nuisance is caused by artificial light that shines intrusively into someone else's property and affects them within their property, such as preventing them from sleeping.

There is no fixed level that constitutes a statutory nuisance, however the light would have to affect you in a habitable room for us to investigate the issue further.  As with all other types of nuisance, we would expect you to approach your neighbour in the first instance in order for them to resolve the issue.

Light that falls outside of the area it is meant to illuminate and does not affect someone else in their property would be defined as light pollution, and cannot be dealt with as a statutory nuisance.

Certain types of premises are exempt from statutory nuisance legislation on the grounds that the buildings are used for transport purposes and/or are other premises where high levels of light are needed for safety and security purposes. These include railway premises, bus premises and public service or goods vehicle operating centres. There is also a defence for all trade, industrial, business or outdoor sports facilities that the "best practicable means" is used to prevent light nuisance.

Avoiding Light Nuisance

Light nuisance usually occurs in relation to domestic or commercial security lighting and simple actions taken such as changing the direction of the light, altering the location and sensitivity of detectors and through using timers can help prevent light spilling into neighbouring properties, and therefore a nuisance occurring.

If you are considering installing a type of artificial lighting we would advise consulting your neighbours first outlining you intentions, and providing an opportunity to air any concerns your neighbour may have. On completion of the installation, check with your neighbour that the positioning of your lights are ok and not causing a problem

Do not fit unnecessary lights

Do not use excessively bright lights.

Do not leave lights on when they are not needed, consider controlling lights with passive infra-red detectors, ensuring that they are correctly aligned (downwards not upwards) and installed.

For a porch light that is going to be left on all night, a low wattage compact fluorescent lamp is normally adequate.

To keep glare at a minimum, ensure that the main beam angle of lights is kept below 70°. The higher you fix the light from the ground, the lower the angle you will need to cover the area you wish to light.

Completing a nuisance diary will assist us in determining whether a statutory nuisance exists.