18 January 2014
Living in a Dark Sky Park


Northumberland National Park:-

Being in a Dark Sky Park does not mean you have to turn lights off. Rather it is about encouraging the use of high quality eco-friendly lighting, which is not only more effective in shining light where it is needed, but also reduces light pollution and carbon emissions and is also better for nocturnal wildlife. Protecting the night time environment is not just about starry nights.

Northumberland Dark Sky Park covers 1475 square kilometres and to ensure we minimise light pollution and retain Northumberland's rural character a Lighting Management Plan (LMP) has been produced. This has been endorsed by the park's two planning authorities – Northumberland National Park Authority and Northumberland County Council.

This plan is not a legal document – but it will be used by both planning authorities as guidance when considering domestic, public and commercial planning applications within the Dark Sky Park. For example if you want to build new premises or expand existing buildings you should consider whether you need external lighting at all and if you do how to make it dark sky friendly. That means using lighting which is suited to the job and which is fully shielded. Such lighting is invariably less expensive to operate over the long term and requires less maintenance than older lighting technologies.

Residents will be encouraged to confine the spill from external lighting to within their property boundary. That could be done by simply adapting or modifying your existing unit, for instance, by tilting lights down.

We may also be able to help you replace units which cannot be modified. (See diagram for some examples). If you want to erect a new unit consider using a low wattage bulb, or use dark sky friendly lighting units, which are well shielded. We can provide you with advice. There is no compulsion in any of this. But to keep our skies dark and retain our status as Europe's largest Dark Sky Park, we need your co-operation.

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