Memorandum from the Chartered Institute
of Environmental Health, submitted by Graham Jukes, Chief Executive
I am writing in response to the Committee's
call for evidence in respect of Light Pollution and attach a copy
of a paper I presented in my former role at the Chartered Institute,
to a Department of the Environment sponsored seminar held in London
on 25 November1996.(not printed) Further information about the
outcomes of the seminar might be sought from the Office of the
Deputy Prime Minister or Defra.
The paper reports the results of two surveys
conducted by the CIEH amongst Local Authorities in 1993 and 1996
on the incidents of complaints from the general public about intrusive
lighting. It notes that between the two surveys, the number of
complaints received by the responding Local Authorities increased
by 44%. The numbers of complaints, absolutely and in comparison
with noise for example, were nevertheless small.
We concluded at the time that while an argument
for a statutory remedy could be advanced, more direct action in
respect of planning controls or information and advice by manufacturers
and installation engineers would be more effective in reducing
the incidents of complaints. This seemed particularly so since
the majority of complaints concerned floodlighting in commercial
or sporting contexts rather than domestic ones.
The CIEH has not carried out any further work
in this area since those surveys and our current position remains
the same ie:
(i) That it is not clear that "nuisance"
lighting is a widespread problem nor, in the absence of any qualitative
data, that it is a serious one of other, usually, than aesthetic
concern. That is to say that while we accept it may occasionally
be intrusive and people affected may not like it, we know of no
evidence that it actually does them real harm, nor does it cost
(ii) In this respect, it is arguably of
less importance than the problem of "high hedges" which
Parliament is currently considering. Like that, before any statutory
power were introduced to control it, better research on the extent
and effects of intrusive lighting is needed. If, consequently,
a power did come to be introduced, we think it would be difficult
to apply for technical reasons.
(iii) Notwithstanding, it must be accepted
that the priority in dealing with such complaints by Local Authorities
will be weighed against the more serious problems they deal with.
(iv) More effective advice and guidance
on installation, fitting and use of lighting is likely to be,
in our view, a more effective tool in reducing the instance of
complaints from intrusive lighting.
The Chartered Institute is always happy to provide
support to Parliamentary Committees if our contribution can be
of assistance to their deliberations. In view of the fact that
we have no current or ongoing work in this area and the information
we base our current position on is some seven years old, however,
I feel that we may not be able to provide the support you require
to form a contemporary and accurate view.
18 July 2003