Light pollution

Artificial light

The installation of unsympathetically designed external lighting may adversely impact occupiers of neighbouring properties. If the impact is of such severity and frequency the lighting could be prejudicial to health or a nuisance.

If the artificial lights are found to be causing a statutory nuisance, the Council can formally require the person responsible for the lights to resolve the problem.

Civil action can also be taken by an individual to tackle a lighting problem. He or she would have to be able to prove that a nuisance existed. A nuisance can be described as an adverse state of affairs that interferes with an individual's use and enjoyment of his or her property.

Is light pollution the same as light nuisance?

Light pollution is any form of artificial light which shines outside the area it needs to illuminate including light which is directed into the night sky creating a sky glow.

Although light pollution may affect the beauty of the night sky and our view of the stars, it is not a light nuisance unless it interferes with a person's use of their property or is prejudicial to their health.

How to avoid causing light pollution

  • do not fit unnecessary lights;
  • do not use excessively bright lights - a 150 watt tungsten halogen lamp is quite adequate. 300 or 500 watt bulbs are too powerful for domestic security lighting;
  • do not leave lights on when they are not needed, consider controlling lights with passive infra-red detectors, ensuring that they are correctly aligned and installed.

Advice on installing domestic security lighting

Please view the advice given by the Institution of Lighting Engineers (ILE) on installing domestic security lighting - Installing Security Lighting.

What if my neighbour won't move or adjust their light?

You have two choices.

Either contact Surrey Mediation Service on 0870 751 4311 and ask them if they will contact your neighbour on your behalf requesting mediation. Mediation has successfully brought many neighbour disputes to a satisfactory conclusion through compromise on both sides.


If that doesn't work you can use the formal route under statutory nuisance legislation. You will need to contact us with details of your complaint.

Formal action shouldn't be taken lightly. The process can be lengthy and being in a protracted dispute with a neighbour can be very stressful.

New developments

The best method of dealing with light pollution is at the planning stage. This is an ideal time to influence the design or installation of lighting schemes.