1. In February 2003 we decided to conduct an inquiry
to examine the effectiveness of measures taken to reduce the impact
of light pollution on astronomy and to consider what further steps,
if any, were required. The inquiry was announced on 4 February
with the following terms of reference:
- What has been the impact of
light pollution on UK astronomy?
- Are current planning guidelines strong enough
to protect against light pollution?
- Are planning guidelines being applied and enforced
- Is light measurable in such a way as to make
legally enforceable regulatory controls feasible?
- Are further controls on the design of lighting
2. The purpose of the inquiry was to establish whether
astronomy had been affected by light pollution to such a degree
that appropriate legislative action needed to be taken by the
Government. Our recommendations apply principally to the UK Government.
3. We received over 120 submissions to this inquiry.
We held two oral evidence sessions on 9 June and 14 July with
five sets of witnesses from the amateur and professional astronomy
societies, the Institution of Lighting Engineers, the Highways
Agency, the Campaign to Protect Rural England, a Local Authority,
the Particle Physics and Astronomy Research Council and the Government.
4. The Committee made one visit in relation to this
inquiry, to Greenwich in the late evening hours of 4 June. We
met representatives from local amateur societies, Mr Bob Mizon
and Dr Chris Baddiley, Campaign for Dark Skies, Dr Helen Walker,
Royal Astronomical Society, and Dr Robin Catchpole and Dr Robert
Massey of the Royal Observatory Greenwich. We were most grateful
to the Royal Observatory for kindly allowing us to visit, and
for the use of the telescope and planetarium. Mr Tom Harris MP
made a visit in a representative capacity to the School of Physics
and Astronomy at the University of St Andrews and met Dr Ron Hilditch.
5. We are grateful to all those who have submitted
evidence to and assisted in the inquiry, with special thanks to
the Vectis Astronomical Society and Mr Nigel Pollard of NEP Lighting