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Nuisance lights

Last updated on: 16-Dec-2020

We can deal with light that is causing a statutory nuisance.

In order for light to be a statutory nuisance it has to materially affect someone's use of their home, based on average sensibilities.

Step One

If you want us to investigate the first thing you need to do, if you feel able, is politely approach the neighbour as they may not even be aware they are causing a nuisance. If this fails or if you feel uncomfortable doing this then we will be able to see if there's something we can do.

Step Two

When you send us a complaint about nuisance lighting, we will contact you to see if there is a simple way to resolve the problem.

Failing this, we will write to the owner of the light to advise them that we have received a complaint, and that they should investigate. In the meantime we will ask you to fill in a Nuisance Diary Record to give us a record of the times and the duration of when you were affected by the problem.

If our investigation finds that your complaint is accurate, then the owner of the light will need to take action to resolve the problem. In most cases only small changes are required, such as proper alignment of fixings, sensors, lights and shielding accessories, or replacement with a lower wattage light.

What happens next?

If no resolution is found, then a Regulatory Services Officer will undertake a formal investigation to assess whether the light is causing a statutory nuisance. If it is, then a formal abatement notice will be served which requires the owner of the light to stop the nuisance by a specific deadline.

If they fail to do this then the case will be referred for legal prosecution. Such cases are heard in a Magistrates Court. If found guilty, the person is liable for a fine of up to £5000, or, if the recipient is a business, then the maximum fine is £20,000.

More detailed information on how to reduce light pollution is available from The Institution of Lighting Professionals, and Environmental Protection UK.

Report a nuisance light

You can report nuisance lights to us by emailing environmentalprotection.admin@gravesham.gov.uk or by phoning 01474 337000.

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