Light Pollution

CPRE, the Countryside Charity believes that darkness at night is one of the key characteristics of rural areas and represents a major difference between what is rural and what is urban.

   

Unfortunately, dark skies for many of us are now a rare sight in the South East, constantly under threat from increasing light pollution. Surrey Hills AONB recognise our star-studded skies overhead to be as valuable as our beautiful landscapes and believe that dark sky places in Surrey are worth protecting. They want to champion and protect the fragile oases of natural darkness still to be found within the county and to do all we can to reduce the damage done countywide by light pollution.

Pleiades  © AJJ.jpg

What is Light Pollution?

  

The term “light pollution” refers to the adverse effect of any artificial light on the environment. It is usually characterised by an orange “sky glow” 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. Recent figures suggest that lighting could account for as much as 30% of some councils’ carbon emissions – but that this can be alleviated by the use of lower energy lighting or part-time night lighting.​

    

  • It travels far from its source, escaping to blight unspoiled rural locations

    

  • It is associated with risks to human health and well-being from sleep disorders, obesity, and depression to diabetes and more.

   

  • It disrupts the life of wildlife and impacts the wider ecology and biodiversity. For example, moths, which play an important role in pollinating flowers during their nocturnal activity and have declined in abundance by 40%, might have been disrupted by light pollution.

   

  • It ‘light-washes’ the night sky, sweeping away the beauty of the starry heavens.

   

  • It is unnecessary – our roads and neighbourhoods can be safely lit without it.

  

  • It can be greatly reduced by means of informed lighting design and practice.

How dark are Churt's skies?

  

The CPRE Night Blight website has an interactive map which you can use to zoom in to check out the level of light pollution where you live. Here is Churt, where you will see that our level of pollution is not too bad compared to surrounding areas like Grayshott. ​One of the reasons is that Churt has long resisted the installation of street lighting.

Lightpollution map.jpg

When the skies are clear and dark, you can see the Milky Way in all its glory or with the right equipment, you can take the kind of photo above taken by a local astro- photographer and showing the Pleiades.

Let’s keep Churt’s skies as dark as we can – here’s how you can help

  

  • Only use light when you need it and only use as much as you need for that purpose – anymore is just wasted, so avoid using lights that are any brighter than absolutely necessary.

   

  • Install lighting only where necessary and always direct it towards the ground.

   

  • Turn off lights when you don’t need them.

   

  • Use fully shielded fixtures around your home. 

    

  • Use energy saving features such as timers, dimmers, and motion sensors in all outdoor lighting, and avoid using inefficient high wattage light sources (i.e. ones that produce less light per watt).

   

  • Always remember to draw your curtains or blinds at night to prevent intrusive light unnecessarily spilling out of your home.

   

  • Use long wavelength light (light that has a red or yellow tint rather than very white or blue lights) to minimise impact.