Bad Streetlights

A bad example: All these streetlights spill light in all directions and up into the sky. With no shielding, the exposed globes cause glare, making it difficult to see. Photo by Jim Richardson

Sometimes streetlights are badly designed or installed incorrectly and end up shining lights into your home and garden, This is known as light trespass.

If the bad lighting is from a neighbour’s light, see our My Neighbour’s Lighting webpage.

If the light trespass comes from a street light, it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to get the offending streetlights removed but polite yet firm action may help you get your peace of mind and dark skies back.

a street showing bad streetlights that produce glare, light trespass and uplighting.
Bad streetlights that produce glare, light trespass and uplighting. Image: Chris Baddiley

It’s probably the council who are responsible for streetlights and there’s usually a department dedicated just to street lighting. You should be able to call your council switchboard to find out who to email or speak to, and sometimes the council website will have a form you can fill in to make a complaint. However you do it, explain how your quality of life has been diminished by the streetlight/s and request a “full cutoff shield” or a “house-side shield” for the most offending lights.

light from streetlights pours into a house on the staircase through a window
Light Trespass from an unshielded streetlight into a house. Image: CfDS

Shields for streetlights are available from most streetlight manufacturers, although your council may initially tell you otherwise. Be persistent, you are simply requesting that the light shining in your direction be directed toward the ground where it belongs. If this approach fails or your written requests go unanswered, contact your local councilor or MP and request action and support for your position, but be diplomatic. Many politicians might feel proud about lighting up the streets, making people feel safe, and deterring crime in spite of the fact that this isn’t the case and that the evidence linking brighter lighting to less crime is inconclusive at best.

By tactfully and persistently making your case about the effects of light trespass on you and your property, eventually, you should prevail. You could offer to pay for the shields, but only as a last resort.