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Cambridge City Council

Report artificial light nuisance

Light pollution is any artificial light that illuminates areas that it should not. It becomes a statutory nuisance – meaning we must investigate it – if:

  • it unreasonably and substantially affects the use of your home or other premises
  • it is causing or is likely to cause injury

Not all artificial light is a nuisance, and there is no set level at which it becomes one. For example, outdoor lights triggered by animals can be irritating but do not cause any harm.

Natural light is not covered by statutory nuisance laws. Statutory nuisance laws do not apply to artificial light from:

  • bus or railway stations and associated facilities
  • taxi depots
  • goods-vehicle operating centres
  • airports

Talk to the person or business causing the light nuisance

If artificial light from a nearby property affects you, try to discuss it with the owner first.

The person or business responsible might be unaware that they are causing a nuisance. They will hopefully take steps to stop the light nuisance or reduce it to a manageable level.

Respond to a complaint about light nuisance

If you receive a complaint about artificial light from a neighbour, you could try to:

  • change the angle of the light so it only covers the area that needs lighting
  • partially cover the light, or move it to a different location
  • use lower-wattage bulbs, which are more energy efficient
  • use an infra-red sensor so the light only comes on when needed

Report light nuisance

Report light nuisance to us if talking to the person causing it is not possible or does not work.

We will investigate complaints about any issue that could be a statutory nuisance. We cannot take action if normal levels of artificial light shine into your property.

Report light nuisance

If we find that there is a statutory nuisance, we will serve an abatement notice on the person responsible. This also applies to nuisances that have already happened or that we think are likely to happen.

The notice can require the person responsible to stop the nuisance or limit it to certain times of day.

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