The council has powers to deal with issues relating to artificial lighting nuisance which affects personal comfort and the use of your property. This does not include the general lighting of the night sky, or light simply spilling outside of the curtilage of the land in which it is installed. It is also worth noting that current guidance does not necessarily consider it unreasonable for a person to draw their curtains/blinds during the hours of darkness to mitigate issues with artificial lighting.
What do I do if my neighbour's light is causing me a problem?
Try talking to them about it initially. They may be completely unaware of the problem it is causing you. Ask the neighbour politely to redirect the light to reduce glare onto your property.
What can I do to reduce the problems of light nuisance?
- Switch off lights when not in use, or fit a correctly set infrared sensor.
- Use lighting designed to reduce spread of light
- Do not over-light your property. Keep lighting to a minimum which will also assist security by minimising shadow zones
- Restrict glare by ensuring the main beam angle is not directed towards the observer and is kept below 70°
- The higher you mount the light, the lower the main angle beam will need to be to prevent nuisance and a direct line of sight into the lighting fixture.
- Use low brightness bulbs/LEDs for all night use to illuminate porches
- Avoid using a single powerful floodlight to light a large area, multiple lower power units will provide better coverage and are less likely to cause nuisance.
The Institution of Lighting Professionals has also produced a useful light pollution advice leaflet. Visit the ILP website for further guidance.
What if my neighbour won't move or adjust their light?
You have two options - mediation or formal complaint.
You can contact Ashford Mediation Service (AMS) and ask 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.
Contact the AMS on 01233 663488 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
If mediation doesn't work you can use the formal route under statutory nuisance legislation, except in the case of lighting from:
- Harbour premises
- Railway premises
- Tramway premises
- Bus station
- Public service vehicle operating centre
- Goods vehicle operating centre
- A lighthouse
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. You may be asked to appear as a witness in the case so should be prepared to do so.
You can report a light nuisance complaint by completing our light nuisance report form, which will allow us to investigate.
If you do need to speak to us please call 01233 331111.