Science Projects

Combating and Educating about Light Pollution

Legal Redress

Case 1 - Residential Council Lighting

Brighton and Hove Council, who owned a block of flats which had intrusive bulkhead security lighting on them, was successfully taken to court by a local resident, Mr Bonwick, in 2001.

Mr Bonwick successfully argued that the lighting was intrusive and in his opinion, constituted a nuisance. Despite his repeated requests to the council to reduce the lighting, the council did not rectify this problem. He proceeded to take the council to court, and after hearing and seeing the evidence for himself, Judge Fawcett, found in favour of Mr Bonwick and ordered that the council remove the nuisance light. Additionally the Judge awarded costs and compensation to Mr Bonwick.


Case 2 - Sky Beams

In Guildford a local night-club owner erected two powerful searchlights on his night-club and shone the beams into the night sky. The local council requested that he submit a planning application as in their opinion he was advertising his night-club. The owner refused, suspecting the council would refuse planning application, and stated that the beams were not advertising his night-club but there to 'celebrate' Guildford. The night-club owner appealed to the secretary of state over the council's decision.

After the planning inquiry the Planning Inspector, Ava Wood, ruled that the searchlights did indeed constitute an advert and ordered that the sky beams be switched off until a planning application be submitted. The owner did not submit a planning application and the lights have not been used since the Planning Inspector's decision.


Case 3 - Sports Floodlighting

On the banks of the river Cowie near Aberdeen, Scotland, the Anglers fought a legal battle over floodlighting on Stonehaven Tennis Club's courts. The anglers noticed, their catches had been seriously effected since the installation of floodlighting over the tennis courts. The floodlights caused much light to shine onto the river and this they suspected was the cause of their reduced catches. Experts were called to give evidence on the detrimental effect night-time lighting can have on the fish species and the evidence clearly convinced the court.

In court, the Sheriff (Scottish Judge) ruled that the tennis club's lights were causing problems to the fishing and ordered that they rectify the problem.

This was the first case of where the 'light polluter' had to remedy the problem, rather than as had been the practice, the effected parties had to find a solution to resolve the problems caused.

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