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Light Pollution


We can investigate light nuisance complaints from people who live in Birmingham only.

The light nuisance must be substantial (for example; preventing you from sleeping). We cannot take action if normal levels of artificial light shines onto your property.

Most commonly reported complaints are from lighting being installed poorly in both commercial and domestic properties. However some commercial properties are exempt which are detailed below under 'types of premises exempt'.

Before you report a complaint against your neighbour, we advise you to speak to them as they may not be aware of the light troubling you. Your neighbour will certainly be upset if they hear of a complaint from the council so do approach them first by politely requesting;

  • moving or partially shading the light
  • fitting an infra red sensor
  • using a lower wattage bulb as they are much cheaper and far more efficient.

If your neighbour is unwilling to take action please report it. Press the 'report a problem with light nuisance' button above. Once you have reported a problem with light nuisance an Environmental Health officer will contact you to arrange a visit.

Please note: For complaints about nuisance from street lights. Please see the Highways page.

Essential Information
  • The type of premises exempt include:

    • railways
    • tramways
    • bus premises and any associated facilities
    • public service vehicle operating centres
    • goods vehicle operating centres
    • prisons-including Youth Offenders Institutes
  • If we witness a statutory nuisance, then we will serve an abatement notice. This is a legal document that we serve on the person responsible for the light nuisance, or the owner or occupier of the premises. It instructs them to stop the light nuisance and not allow it to restart. The notice is normally served on the person responsible for the nuisance, however if that person cannot be found the owner or occupier of the premises causing the nuisance will be issued with the notice instead.

    If the notice is not complied with the person served with the notice may be prosecuted. There is a maximum fine of £5000 in domestic nuisance cases and £20,000 for commercial and industrial nuisance cases.

    PLEASE NOTE: If you want us to resolve this problem for you, and we need to take legal action to do it we may have to disclose your personal details. For example, if we serve a legal notice on the person causing the problem they will have a right to know who made the complaint if they decide to legally appeal against the abatement notice in court. Similarly, if a case goes to the court you may be required to give evidence.

Frequently Asked Questions
      • Do not fit unnecessary lights.
      • Do not use excessively bright lights. A 150 watt tungsten halogen lamp is quite adequate, and 300 or 500 watt bulbs are too powerful for domestic security lighting.
      • Do not leave lights on when they are not needed. Consider controlling lights with passive infra-red detectors, make sure that they are correctly aligned and installed. For a porch light that is going to be left on all night, a nine watt compact fluorescent lamp is normally adequate.

    • Section 82 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 allows you to take action through the magistrates court. This would be based on the grounds that you are aggrieved by light amounting to a nuisance. You should seek legal advice before doing this.

      If the light pollution comes from an exempted source, you may still be able to make a case in civil law.

    • Light pollution is best described as artificial light that is illuminating areas not intended to be lit. It is intrusive and referred to as the “trespass” of light.

    • If you haven't been able to find the information that you need then the link below will take you to a form that you can use to ask us further questions.

      Service Specific Enquiry