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Do your bit for dark skies

Whilst the Norfolk Coast boasts some of the darkest night skies in England, increasing light pollution is an issue which threatens the tranquility of this magical area. However, it is one of the easiest environmental pollutions to reverse. Simply by removing or carefully re-directing a light source - you can remove the problem!

Better still it is something that everyone can help achieve.  Here's how you can celebrate our incredible night landscapes and help retain our dark skies...

Here are 10 easy tips for how you can help the dark skies within the AONB and Norfolk as a whole. Why not pledge to do 1 or more of these in 2018... Please let us know by emailing aonb@norfolk.gov.uk for us to share. Your actions may inspire others to do the same...

1. Firstly, get out there and enjoy the night skies! 

The Norfolk Coast boasts numerous places where, on a clear night you can observe the Milky Way and countless constellations.  Visit our two Dark Sky Discovery Sites at Wiveton Down and Kelling Heath Holiday Park which possess some of the most pristine night skies in the country.

2. Light only what needs lighting

Take time to consider whether lighting is even needed – in many cases no lighting may be required at all

3. Use only the amount of light that is needed

How much light do you actually need to see by? Don't always install the brightest bulbs. Warm white light low-energy LED lamps are just as effective.  They are more energy efficient than orange or pink bulbs, so will save you money AND they don't waste light up into the sky (or your neighbour's bedroom window).

4. Shield your existing light fitting

Ensure all outdoor lights are fully shielded i.e. enclosed in full cut-off flat glass fitments so that no glass is visible beneath the lamp's cover, and directed downwards (mounted horizontally to the ground and not tilted upwards). Many DIY shops currently sell inappropriate exterior lights which can not be tilted below 45 degrees, meaning that bright light spills needlessly into the sky and across property boundaries. We hope over time that their procurement decisions will change to more environmentally friendly products, and by choosing your lighting carefully, you can help influence that change.

5. Light only when you need it

If you decide something really does need to be lit, consider whether it needs to be lit continuously from dusk till dawn.  Installing movement sensor lights or time switches instead will not only reduce light pollution but also save you pounds AND reduce your carbon emissions.

6. Use reflectors or solar lights... 

...instead of lights on driveways or in gardens.  These are very effective, cheaper to buy and cost nothing to run. Advances in car headlight technology mean that visibility is greatly improved if you live in an unlit area.

7. Consider blinds, curtains etc. minimise light pollution on the landscape from interior lighting.

This can be a problem in historically unlit villages and hamlets where any introduction of light can make a big change to the local rural character.  Properties with large glazed windows and skylights are often responsible for light spilling into the countryside, with repercussions not just for the landscape, but for wildlife too.

8. Tell your friends, neighbours & communities about light pollution.

If everyone made a pledge to remove an unneccessary security light here, or install a carefully considered lighting design there, light pollution levels on the Norfolk Coast would decrease, thereby enhancing its tranquility and retaining its rural character for the next generations to enjoy. AND it would save you money!

9. Contribute to the planning process - encourage better design in new developments

Ensure dark skies are prioritised in your area by commenting on planning applications and local plan consultations. Participate in the production of your local Neighbourhood Plan to make sure that dark skies policies are included which focus on reducing light pollution/ retaining dark skies in your area.  Use the CPRE Norfolk's standard light pollution clause at every opportunity to make sure dark skies are given emphasis and are included in decision making.    We can provide you with additional information as required.

10. Encourage and support improved / removal of street-lighting in your area

Be it in your village, town or district, the removal of, or replacement with appropriate LED lighting can make a huge contribution to light pollution as well as save your parish council or local authority thousands of pounds.  Modern LED streetlights are brighter at close range, but can be dimmed to reduce their intensity, directed downwards thereby minimising upward or horizontal light spillage AND much more cost-effective. Speak to your parish or town council and ask if this is something they would consider.

Developed from CPRE Norfolk's 'Reducing Light Pollution' leaflet. Click on the pdf to download this leaflet for images showing best practice lighting to use. 

Dark Skies work on the Norfolk Coast

Click here to find out how we are celebrating dark skies and reducing light pollution in the AONB.