Light Pollution

Exmoor has some of the darkest skies in the country - help us to protect them.

Why light pollution matters

'Light pollution' refers to the adverse effect of artificial light on the environment. It is usually characterised by the orange “sky glow” that is produced above our towns and cities. This is caused by street lights and glare from lighting that spills beyond its intended lit area. We all rely on artificial light to live our lives, but badly designed lighting wastes energy, can disrupt wildlife and prevents us from enjoying our night skies. Here on Exmoor we are working together to make sure that lighting is well designed, efficient and does not affect our wonderful dark skies.

Lighting pollution wastes money and energy, impacts on peoples enjoyment of the the night-sky and has significant impacts on humans and wildlife alike.

Lighting Advice

There are some simple things everyone can do - it's a s easy as 1,2,3:

  1. Turn off lights that are not needed
  2. Close blinds and curtains so light inside isn't spilling out
  3. Shield external lights so the light (and therefore the energy and the money this costs) is used only where needed.

Our Guidance for Dark Sky Friendly Lighting (PDF) provides further details on measures you can take.

For further national guidance on lighting and understanding light pollution including advice for Exmoor businesses and domestic users read Towards a Dark Sky Standard here (PDF).

The ecological impacts of artificial night-time light

Kevin Gaston is Professor of Biodiversity & Conservation at University of Exeter. In May 2022 he presented an online session especially for Exmoor National Park (International Dark Sky Reserve) suitable for anyone interested in gaining a better understanding of why light pollution matters.

The last 100 years have seen the dramatic spread of an evolutionarily unprecedented environmental change. Across huge areas, the patterns and cycles of light and dark that had previously remained approximately constant, have been disrupted by the introduction of artificial night-time lights from streetlights and other sources. Longstanding concerns about the implications for scientific astronomy and aesthetic enjoyment of the night sky have been joined in recent years by growing awareness of potential effects of artificial night-time light on human health, ecological processes and ecosystem services.

Hear from Professor Gaston how spread of artificial night-time light raises major biological concerns given that light and dark provide critical resources and environmental conditions for organisms and play key roles in their physiology, growth, behaviour and reproduction, including our own biological clocks. As predicted, such impacts on individual organisms also have profound consequences for the structure and functioning of populations and communities.

You can see a recording of the 2022 webinar with Professor Gaston here

You can watch a  recording of an online webinar called 'Protect the Night' from October 2023 presented by the National Park's Future Landscapes Officer and Wildlife Officer here