Project: Light Pollution

9 Conversations

Light pollution is a serious threat to our night sky and Britain’s astronomers. It must be reduced as soon as possible.When you here pollution you think of smoke, or rubbish etc, but light is also a form of
pollution if mismanaged. The problem mainly affects astronomers where light from cities
blocks out many of the stars in the night sky. It can prevent some of the very important
work carried out by the wealth of amateur astronomers throughout Britain and the world,
such as the subtle change in variable stars and binary systems.However it is not only a problem to astronomers but to the general public as well. How
lovely it is just to be able to see the array of stars and the misty vastness of the Milky Way,
but many children growing up and around urban areas have never witnessed this spectacle.
The public also pay indirectly for the electricity that street lamps, the main contributors to
this pollution, use. These lights are incredibly inefficient, as is obvious from the energy that is
put into lighting the sky, and so we are wasting money on this continuously. Then there are
the environmental consequences of this wastage in the pollutants produced by power
stations. Whichever way it is looked at there is a major problem.There are a number of simple solutions that can be taken by local authorities, but of course this will need an initial investment. For example: a simple metal cover could be attached to the offending lamps that reflects the light shone up back down meaning that it is then easier for us to see on the ground; or a new lamp design that does this in itself, there are many possibilities that will make it more efficient and so cut on power and pollution.But people in power are not just going to implement this unless they are pushed, and that's
where YOU come in. To show the government that people are demanding this they need to
see (real) names, and the easiest way is to create a petition as I have done. By all means
write individual letters to local or national governments, but signing the petition will be a
massive help. Primarily this petition is aimed at British citizens, due to my location, but if
you would like to set one for your own country that is brilliant (sign this petition anyway, just say which country you are from).

I will personally send (or deliver, if I happen to be in London) the petition to
Tony Blair and the environment secretary with a full letter explaining the issue and the slight
problem with it having been an online petition.

Please sign and post any comments you have in the appropriate forums.

Send a letter to your local authorities

The following letter is for you to sent to your local Borough Council.

Please take a couple of minutes to copy the following letter to your computer, replace the brackets with the relevant information, print it and send it off to your local borough council, the address of which can (or should) be found if you search for the name in AltaVista (or search "UK borough council search" and it seems to list the vast majority). Even though you are only one person if others do the same then a difference can be made. If you do not like the letter feel free to write another and get other people you know to send letters as well.

{{{[[[Your Address]]]}}}

{{{[[[Address of local councilor]]]}}}

Dear {[Name of councilor.]},

My name is {[name]} and I live in {[town]}. I am deeply concerned about light pollution in my local area and I am asking for something to be done about it urgently. Like many people I love to look into the dark night sky in the evenings and feel that sense of awe, but this is becoming impossible. Whenever I look into the sky all I see is an orangey yellow glow instead of blackness, it is so bad that sometimes I can only see Sirius, which is the brightest star in the sky! This is not just a local problem, as even when I am in the countryside I am never far away from the horrible yellow smudges above any urban area. Something must be done or future generations will never witness this beautiful free spectacle!

The main problem is of course from street lamps, which are everywhere, but in no way am I suggesting the removal of them. But many existing lamps are ridiculous! Their aim is to light the ground to provide visibility for people on it, so why, I ask, are they designed to light the sky as well. It’s plain stupidity and we are paying for it, the amount of energy that is lost to the continual lighting of the skies surly must cost a huge amount each year, and then there is the pollution that the power stations are producing to create the electricity! The problem could be solved by the replacement of all the wasteful lamps with low pollution, FULL-CUTOFF optics {[if some have started to appear then you may like to mention that]} or the addition of a simple reflection shield above the lamp. This would save on energy, pollution and make the streets below lighter. Benefits all round bar a small outlay for the replacement, and the old lights can be recycled as much as possible.

{[Possible personal paragraph, your views/opinions, or situation]}

Please will you make an active effort in {[your town]} and the whole area to seriously reducing light pollution, with a target of 2005 for all street lighting to be non-polluting. Stop the madness and cut the pollution so that everyone can again have dark skies.

Thank you,
{[Signature and name]}

Visit Jim’s Street lighting Homepage for further information on the topic.

The Petition

Fill in the form pelow and click post to add your name to the petition.


Please write your name here if you would like something to be done about light polution.

Paper petition for you

Contact me to get a real petition.

Somewhere else around should be a link for you to mail me, Ah here it is! so I can send you a petition. This can be printed and used to collect signatures from local people you know, this can either be sent with your letter or sent back to me and I will send it on to Downing Street with the others. Please do take part.

Thank you for your time and help with this campaign.

Nicholas Bailey

Bookmark on your Personal Space



Infinite Improbability Drive

Infinite Improbability Drive

Read a random Edited Entry

Written and Edited by


External Links

Not Panicking Ltd is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


h2g2 is created by h2g2's users, who are members of the public. The views expressed are theirs and unless specifically stated are not those of the Not Panicking Ltd. Unlike Edited Entries, Entries have not been checked by an Editor. If you consider any Entry to be in breach of the site's House Rules, please register a complaint. For any other comments, please visit the Feedback page.

Write an Entry

"The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is a wholly remarkable book. It has been compiled and recompiled many times and under many different editorships. It contains contributions from countless numbers of travellers and researchers."

Write an entry
Read more