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Lighting: Pollution Control

Question for Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

UIN HL11814, tabled on 6 January 2021

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the impact of light pollution on wildlife and the environment.

Answered on

20 January 2021

Defra has published or contributed to a range of assessments of the impact of artificial light on insects and wider biodiversity, as well as global and national assessments of the drivers of biodiversity loss more generally.

Following publication of the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution’s report, ‘Artificial light in the environment’ in 2009, Defra has supported assessments of impacts of artificial light on insects and on other organisms such as bats. These are published on our science website. Defra has also funded or co-funded national and international assessments of drivers of change on insects and wider biodiversity such as the global IPBES Assessment Report on Pollinators, Pollination and Food Production, which notes effects of light on nocturnal insects may be growing and identifies the need for further study.

There have been a number of externally funded studies which have highlighted potential impacts of artificial light pollution on insects, but based on the current available evidence, artificial light is not considered one of the main drivers of species decline. We are confident that we are focusing and taking action on the issues that will make a real difference to insect pollinators.

We recognise that there is ongoing research into the topic and together with our academic partners, we will keep this under review.