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Light Pollution

Light pollution is light that affects you on or in your property. Often light pollution is caused by security lights and garden lights.

If you are bothered by lights from neighbouring properties the council may be able to help you. The council is however unable to deal with sky glow (the light in the sky which makes it difficult to see the stars).

There are no legal limits for light levels so an experienced officer from the council will assess the light taking into account:

  • How often the lights are on
  • The length of time that the lights are on
  • The impact of the use of lights on a neighbouring property.

Taking all of these factors into consideration the council may serve a Notice requiring the nuisance of the lights to be removed or reduced

How do I make a complaint about light pollution?

In order to make a complaint we will need to know:

  • Your name and address
  • Your telephone number
  • Email address (if you have one)
  • The address (or site) where the problem is coming from
  • When and for how long the problem is or has been occurring
  • How the problem is affecting you (e.g. disturbing sleep)
  • Anything you have tried to help solve the problem (e.g. speaking to your neighbour)

Mendip District Council do not take anonymous complaints. We will need the above details from you in order to pursue a complaint, and any details given will remain confidential and will not be disclosed by us without your permission.

What we can do

Our usual process is as follows:

  • We will discuss the problem with you and agree the next step. At this stage advice and a chat may be enough, then we will close your case but keep the computer record.
  • Normally the next step is to send a letter to the party you have made the complaint about. We will advise them a complaint has been made and we may need to send you log sheets to fill in to show when the problem occurs and, very importantly how it affects you. This often sorts the problem out and we hear no more and close the file.
  • Once we have some evidence of the problem a qualified and experienced officer will decide on the next steps. Sometimes it is clear that we cannot take any more action and you will be informed of that and you may be given information on how to take your own private action.
  • If the evidence suggests that we can investigate further, we may visit you. If the problem persists and our officers observations indicate the likelihood of a problem severe enough for formal action a legal notice may be served to assist in achieving a remedy.  We will endeavour to keep you informed throughout the process to ensure that you have a good understanding of how our investigation is proceeding.

What can I do to limit the impact of lighting on my neighbours?

Most problems occur from security lights and garden lights please use the following guidelines:

  • Try to direct lights away from neighbouring properties
  • Keep the on-time as short as possible
  • Look at alternative security options
  • Prevent accidental triggering of sensors
  • Use the smallest power bulb necessary
  • Direct lights downwards

Planning permission and lighting

Commercial developments may need to planning permission for external lighting and illuminated advertising. Please see the Planning pages for further information.

How to contact us

You can contact us on any of the below methods or by completing the form at the bottom of this page:

Telephone: 0300 303 8588


Post: Environmental Health, Mendip District Council, Cannards Grave Road, Shepton Mallet, BA4 5BT


Last modified: 29 June 2018