Light nuisance

info box | light nuisance

Instances of light nuisances are generally recorded and investigated in a similar manner to noise nuisances. Please see our noise nuisance page to download documents that, although relate to noise nuisances, are of use to record light nuisances. 

text | light nuisance

Certain types of artificial light, if improperly sited or used, could give rise to statutory nuisance. More information can be found on our noise pages about statutory nuisance, but in summary - ‘nuisance’ is not defined in statute, but is based on the common law concept of what is to be regarded as an unreasonable interference with someone’s use of their own property or where something can be shown to be prejudicial to health.

When assessing potential statutory nuisance, the Environmental Health Officer will take into account factors including:

  • Duration
  • Frequency
  • Impact - i.e. material interference with use of property or personal well-being; actually or likely to be adverse to health
  • Local environment
  • Motive - i.e. reasonableness of the behaviour of the subject
  • Sensitivity of the plaintiff – statutory nuisance relies on the concept of the average person, and is not designed to take account of unusual sensibilities

There are exemptions to this legislation; the following sources of artificial light cannot be treated as a Statutory Nuisance:

  • Airports
  • Railway premises
  • Tramway premises
  • Bus stations and associated facilities
  • Public service vehicle operating centres
  • Goods vehicle operating centres
  • Prisons
  • Premises occupied for Defence purposes

These premises are deemed to require high levels of light for safety and security reasons. The most common source of complaint is domestic security lights. If you’re being disturbed by your neighbours lighting, we would encourage you to speak to your neighbour first where possible. 

Many cases of artificial light nuisance can be solved through simple measures and consideration of function and effect. Remember, when installing a lighting system, the minimum level of illumination necessary to light a property should be used.