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Lighting: Pollution Control

Question for Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

UIN HL11813, tabled on 6 January 2021

To ask Her Majesty's Government what policies exist to encourage local authorities and other public bodies to reduce light pollution levels.

Answered on

20 January 2021

As the department responsible for protecting and enhancing our urban and natural environment, Defra plays a co-ordinating role across Government to ensure coherence in this area.

Other departments are responsible for specific policy areas including the Department for Transport for street lighting and the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) for lighting policy in the planning regime. This includes the National Planning Policy Framework which sets out that local planning policies and their decisions should limit the impact of light pollution from artificial light.

This Framework is supported by MHCLG planning guidance, which was revised in November 2019 and sets out how environmental and other impacts of light pollution should be considered in the planning system. Local planning authorities must take the Framework into account when preparing their plans and its policies, including those on light pollution.

Additionally, a local planning authority can attach conditions to the grant of planning permission, in order to enhance the quality and mitigate the adverse effects of a development, including, for example, noise, air, light and other forms of pollution. It is important to ensure that conditions are tailored to tackle specific problems, rather than standardised or used to impose broad unnecessary controls.

Local highway authorities have a duty under the Highways Act 1980 to maintain the public highways in their charge, and it is for them to decide what type of lighting they use to meet local needs.

Highways England, which manages our motorways and major roads, is also working actively to minimise light pollution.