We investigate complaints about artificial light from premises if the light could be classed as a 'statutory nuisance'.

For artificial light to constitute a statutory nuisance it must do one of the following:

  • unreasonably and substantially interfere with the use or enjoyment of a home or other premises
  • injure health or be likely to injure health

If we consider an artificial light constitutes a statutory nuisance - either previously, currently or likely to in the future - we can serve an abatement notice.

An abatement notice requires whoever's responsible to restrict or stop the artificial light source. We usually serve an abatement notice on the person responsible for the light source, but notices can also be served on the owner or occupier of a premises.

Failure to comply with an abatement notice can result in prosecution.

How we assess artificial light nuisances

We assess one or more of the following when investigating potential nuisances from artificial light:

  • whether it interferes with the use of a property
  • whether it may affect health
  • how it could affect the average person (unusual sensitivities cannot be considered)
  • how often it happens
  • how long it lasts 
  • when it happens
  • the location (eg town or countryside)

What can cause artificial light nuisances?

The following can cause an artificial light nuisance if not maintained or used properly:

  • security lights (domestic and commercial)
  • sports facilities (eg floodlit football pitches)
  • decorative lighting of buildings or landscapes
  • laser shows and light art

Artificial light sources not covered by statutory nuisance laws

Statutory nuisance laws do not apply to artificial light from the following:

  • airports
  • harbours
  • railway premises
  • tramway premises
  • bus stations
  • public transport operating centres
  • goods vehicle operating centres
  • lighthouses
  • prisons
  • defence premises, eg army bases
  • premises occupied by visiting armed forces
  • street lights

Report an artificial light nuisance

We advise you to discuss an artificial light nuisance with the owner of the premises before making an official complaint to us.

If the artificial light nuisance persists after you have raised it with the owner of a premises, you can report it to us online.

Report an artificial light nuisance