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Light Trespass

Light Trespass

Outdoor lighting has increased dramatically over the past 30 years. But this often comes with the unwanted side effect of light pollution, with England one of the main contributors in Europe. Light trespass impacts on wildlife and our ability to see the night sky clearly, but it can often be a nuisance by intruding directly into our own properties.

Badly designed street and amenity lighting is one of the main causes of light trespass. This includes security lighting, advertising and outdoor lighting, both in the countryside and in town centres. The whole lighting industry and other public organisations, such as government and the police force, must work together to reduce the impact of excess light spillage.

Inchicore, Dublin

To avoid excess light spillage you can follow some simple rules during the design phase of a new lighting project

  • Specifying and designing luminaires that reduces the amount of light emitted upwards
  • Positioning lighting properly and directing it downwards
  • Using only the necessary amount of lighting
  • Switching off unnecessary lighting, particularly decorative floodlighting and advertising lighting, late at night and in the early morning.


The most important message is that light trespass is a problem that can’t be effectively tackled by an individual organisation alone. Improvements need to be made through a continuous programme of education, and a process of consultation between all the parties involved. Practical and flexible solutions can then be developed to limit the problem, and these should be backed up by appropriate legislation.

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