Nick White

As a new CfDS committee member (and BAA member) I can confirm that the CfDS raises various issues surrounding light pollution, including ones not related to astronomy, with relevant government bodies (local and national), MPs, stakeholders etc., on a regular and frequent basis. I believe the message from us and our partners is getting through at the highest level, as evidenced by the Westminster Hall debate of late last year, held in relation to the dark sky status of Exmoor National Park. Nevertheless, lobbying by astronomers and other concerned persons will continue to be required in order to turn the tide.

LED technology, as with many technologies, comes with potential benefits and dis-benefits. One of the potential benefits of this technology is that its light output can be varied as required, as is done in Gloucestershire with regards to its recently installed LED streetlights.

However, it is undoubtably the case that the lighting of factory and business premises continues to be a significant, possibly the most significant, contributor to skyglow in general. Here too LED technology is becoming more widely used. However by my judgement, LEDs or not, the operating costs of external lighting must typically be ~30% greater than they need be because of the amount of mis-directed light emitted (wasted) directly into the sky. Why businesses (and ultimately customers) tolerate this unnecessary cost is presumbly because of a lack of awareness.

Individuals are of course free to raise this kind of issue, as well as ecological issues, astronomical issues etc., with such businesses, if moved to do so, and CfDS will support such individuals with evidence-based advice so far as time and ‘resource’ permits (one such request for support arrived in my in-tray just this evening). At the same time, CfDS will continue to make the case for darker skies to organisations that are in a position to influence the sitution for the better.