Campaign for Dark Skies – 22nd May 2003

Bob Mizon gave us an informative illustrated talk about light pollution and the Campaign for Dark Skies. Light pollution is an issue that is beginning to get political notice at last. There are good reasons to use well-directed lighting. Poorly directed light is a waste of energy (which costs money) and can also make locations more dangerous. Deep shadows, often caused by bright but poorly directed lighting, can hide rather than reveal. Bob referred to some of the worst lighting as anti-light because of the way it made things more difficult to see. He showed us slides of many poorly lit locations to illustrate this point. Some of the worst were an over-illuminated car park, a golf driving range and a floodlit church. He also showed us examples of good lighting using horizontal flat-glass fittings so that the ground was illuminated and observers were not dazzled. One important point is that street lamp fittings have an average life of 30 years, so it’s important to get councils and other bodies responsible for lighting to adopt a policy of only installing good flat glass fittings as soon as possible. That way, in 30 years time we may be able to see the Milky Way from Orpington again.

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