UK parliamentary group seeks views on dark-sky preservation

The APPG for Dark Skies is running a consultation on the effect of light pollution across the UK.

Credit: Light pollution from towns and cities can have a detrimental effect on our views of the night sky. Credit: Dneutral Han / Getty Images

An all-parliamentary group that’s seeking to protect the UK’s dark skies is seeking proposals on the subject of light pollution and night-sky preservation.

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The news follows the results of a survey published earlier in 2020 that said 61% of people in the UK live under ‘severe’ light pollution.

The APPG for Dark Skies includes members from the Conservative Party, Labour and the Liberal Democrats, as well as representatives from the House of Lords. Its aim is to advocate for the preservation of dark skies in the UK Parliament.

The group was founded in January 2020 by co-chairs Andrew Griffith, Conservative MP for Arundel and South Downs, and Astronomer Royal Lord Martin Rees.

APPG for Dark Skies co-chairs Andrew Griffith MP (left) and Astronomer Royal Martin Rees (right).
APPG for Dark Skies co-chairs Andrew Griffith MP (left) and Astronomer Royal Martin Rees (right).

Light pollution is the term given to the detrimental effect of artificial lighting on our view of the night sky, as astronomical phenomena such as stars, constellations, planets and the Milky Way become more difficult to see under the glare of light from towns and cities.

Bodies such as the International Dark Sky Association and the UK-focussed Dark Sky Discovery, for example, help identify and preserve regions of low light pollution where views of the night sky are protected.

The APPG for Dark Skies has launched a consultation period that will run until Sunday 27 September 2020.

Its purpose is to gather information on the key threats to dark-sky preservation in the UK and identify solutions, such as changes to planning policy or the adoption of dark-sky friendly lighting.

As well as focussing on the effects of light pollution on astronomy and stargazing, the consultation will also look at the environmental, economic, energy and health consequences of light pollution.

This information will then be used to produce the APPG’s first policy plan and inform the focus of the group’s campaigns, policy briefs and actions in parliament.

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For more information and to contribute to the consultation, visit the APPG for Dark Skies website.