Advocating for the High Weald’s Dark Skies
We welcome the recent publication of ‘Ten Dark Sky Policies for the Government’ – a plan launched by the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Dark Skies (APPG) in December.
The Plan was produced after consultation with more than 170 academics, legal professionals, national parks and AONBs (including the High Weald AONB Partnership) professional and amateur astronomers, members of local and national government, lighting professionals, engineers and businesses.
It aims to strengthen the legislative powers of the local authorities to be able to reduce light pollution, including:
- Strengthening the status of Dark Skies within the Planning system and introducing more regulations on exterior lighting across the board;
- Strengthening the statutory nuisance provision to give Local Authorities more effective mechanisms to prevent light pollution;
- Introducing a better set of standards to ensure that brightness, colour and temperature of lighting is controlled – i.e. making blue lights illegal and advocating red or soft yellow; introducing better standards on products through ILP; and
- Creating the position of Minister for Dark Skies to drive this important work.
In December, our co-director Jason Lavender wrote to all the 11 MPs with part of their constituency within the High Weald AONB, encouraging them to attend the House of Commons debate on the APPG’s plan and asking them to support policies combatting light pollution and protecting dark skies.
Download the letter here: pdfHigh Weald AONB Dark Skies debate – letter to MPs Nov 2020 (691 KB) .
The High Weald has some of the darkest skies in the South East, identified as worthy of conservation by the International Dark Sky Association (IDSA). However, light pollution from roads and domestic and commercial sites is rapidly increasing. Our dark skies may not be dark for much longer. Light pollution has greatly increased in recent years and today less than 10% of the UK population can enjoy a view of our own galaxy, the Milky Way.
The New Year is an excellent time to learn more about Dark Skies – if you’re currently home schooling young children, you might be interested in our Dark Skies Family Activity Worksheet, produced by our Education Officer Rachel. Learn to spot Orion the Hunter, complete a stargazing quiz and recreate the solar system using household objects: pdfDark Skies Family Activity Sheet (249 KB) .
Read more about the High Weald’s Dark Skies and our work to conserve them.
High Weald AONB Management Plan 2019-2024.