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...
Become more Dark Skies Friendly
The UK Dark Skies Partnership* has produced a handy non-technical lighting guide for anyone wishing to become more Dark Skies Friendly.
*The UK Dark Skies Partnership consists of dark skies practitioners from AONBs and National Parks and Internationally designated Dark Skies Reserves, astronomers, lighting professionals and others who are working to raise awareness of the importance of our night skies and nightscapes.
Join in with our AONB Dark Skies Festival
During our annual Dark Skies Festival there are varied activities for you to get involved in. Follow the festival here and join in on social media.
Twitter and Facebook @NorfolkAONB
#NorfolkAONBDSF #NorfolkNightscapes# NorfolkCoastDarkSkies #DarkCoastNorfolk
Become a Dark Skies Champion
One positive thing about light pollution is that solutions can be found, and every single one of us can do something to help minimise lighting on our coast. Have a look at or print off our '10 ways..' list below to see what you might be able to do. We would be interested to hear how you get on. Either email us firstname.lastname@example.org or share on social media #NorfolkDarkSkiesChampion #NorfolkCoastDarkSkies
Here are 10 ways you can help reduce light pollution
It's easier than you may think and your actions may inspire others to do the same...
1. Find out what the fuss is about - get out there and enjoy the night skies for yourself!
The Norfolk Coast boasts lots of places where you can see Milky Way and countless constellations. Visit our Dark Sky Discovery Sites which have some of the most pristine night skies in the country or just go for a stroll after sunset to experience the sights and sounds of the coast after dark.
2. Light only what needs lighting
Look at your property to work out exactly what you need lighting and install an appropriately sized light. Do you need a large security light to get into your front door or will a small downward facing fixture do the job? Take time to consider whether lighting is even needed – in many cases it won't be.
3. Use only the amount of light that is needed
How much light do you need to see by? Don't always install the brightest bulbs. Warm white light low-energy LED lamps are just as effective and can cast a good-sized footprint. They produce less dazzle than the blue-white LEDs yet are more energy efficient than orange sodium bulbs. You will save money AND won't waste light upwards 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).
5. Light only when you need it
If you think 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...
...on driveways and in gardens IF you need them to be lit. These are very effective, cheaper to buy, cost nothing to run and cause less light pollution.
7. Use blinds, curtains, or one-way glazing to reduce the effects of interior light pollution on wildlife and the landscape.Particularly in very rural, unlit villages and hamlets, and on properties with large amounts of glazing, small changes like this help prevent interior lighting spilling into the countryside and impacting on the landscape and
8. Tell your friends, neighbours & communities
Encourage everyone to look after our dark skies and landscapes. Darkness is inexplicably linked to tranquillity and rural character – one of the reasons our coast is designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and why people love it here.
9. Encourage and support improved / removal of street-lighting in your area
If you have streetlights in your village, town, or district, explore if/ how these could be improved. The older orange sodium lights could be replaced with LEDs. The newer blue-white LED lights can be dimmed or replaced with warm-coloured LED lighting or removed altogether?! There is lots of potential here to reduce light pollution. Speak to your district or borough council or your local parish or town council representatives.
10. 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 consultations. Participate in your local Neighbourhood Plan preparation to ensure suitable policies are included to minimise light pollution. Use CPRE Norfolk's standard light pollution clause at every opportunity to ensure dark skies are included in decision making (http://www.cprenorfolk.org.uk/planning/policy-statements/light-pollution/). For more information on appropriate lighting, see The Institute of Lighting Professionals guidance: https://www.theilp.org.uk/documents/obtrusive-light/
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.