Caerphilly County Bourgh Council decided over the past couple of years to replace the mercury and sodium streetlights with LED, I have found the skies are less transparent than they were, on a good night (don’t get many of those) I can just about see to mag 4.5 overhead, usually around mag 3.5. The LED streetlights seem to have a lot more glare which is annoying. The prevalence of security lights also is a factor, the light pollution from Cardiff, Newport, Cwmbran, Pontypool and across the stream Bristol seems to have changed from an orange colour to a light mush which I guess is due to LED’s.
The results from the last Star Count do seem at odds with reality around here. 6 years ago, I did an experiment to see if in a pair of binoculars, I could see M82 and M81 from my garden, I could only just see M81 but traveling further into the valley away from the lights I could just about see M82 as well as M81. Earlier this year I did the same experiment with the same binoculars and from my garden couldn’t see M81 and at the same spot in the valley M81 was just visible and M82 I couldn’t see. I tried to pick a good night transparency wise.
So in my opinion the skies around here have got slightly worse.