In the UK today, less than 10% of the population can open their curtains to a truly dark sky, due to inefficient and bad outdoor lighting plans. Over a century ago, people living in urban areas could see the Milky Way from their gardens! Not only are the younger generations being denied access to view the night sky in its natural state, excessive light pollution has proven ramifications on our health, wildlife and energy consumption. The International Dark-Sky Association provides the following video as a short introduction to "Losing the Dark" (alternative language videos can be found on www.darksky.org).
Whilst the Elan Valley’s Dark Sky Park status provides access for people to enjoy a truly dark sky and also protects its species and diversity richness, everyone can take simple steps to improve their lighting plans, reduce light pollution and in turn, reduce their energy costs.
What you can do to reduce light pollution
When purchasing an exterior light, there are ways to install it to ensure no excess light is shone into the sky. It is acknowledged that outdoor lighting is needed for safety reasons but please bear these factors in mind to contribute to reducing excessive light pollution:
- Make sure your lighting installation is fully shielded (Full cutoff lighting is ideal)
- The lighting is not brighter than required and only lights the area needed
- Only to be turned on when needed - not only does this reduce local light pollution but reduces your electricity bill! One 500 watt halogen light can cost an extra £90 a year
- Minimise blue light emissions
Below are a few examples of correct and incorrect lighting installations (image courtesy of www.darksky.org) :