Leeds Astronomical Society LAS Meetings Observing Membership



Campaign Groups



Nineteenth-century inventors brought the benefits of artificial light to homes and streets. They could not have suspected that over a hundred years later their invention would be so sorely misapplied.

from CfDS' handbook Blinded By The Light



The APPG (All Party Parliamentary Group) for Dark Skies is a cross-party parliamentary group that advocates for issues around dark skies to be included in Government policy. Following a public consultation, which LAS & individual members contributed to, they have produced a ten-point Policy Plan which is available to download.

The report basically calls for a strengthening of planning policy and enforcement; better standards of lighting controlling brightness, colour temperature, direction and density; and a program of best practice whereby some lighting can be dimmed or turned off. It also suggests having a designated Minister for Dark Skies, creating a voluntary Dark Sky Town/City classification, and emphasises the role of education in raising awareness of the issue of light pollution.

It remains to be seen whether the APPG can affect any change, and they seem more biased towards rural areas rather than the urban environments which create the majority of the light pollution in the UK. Parliament's track history on light pollution hasn't been good... In 2009 the Royal Commission for the Environment produced an excellent report Artificial Light In The Environment which largely fell on deaf ears. There have also been other debates & attempts at raising the profile of light pollution in parliament in the past too. In 1994 there was an Early Day Motion supported by 27 MPs, which called on the house to welcome: "... the campaign against light pollution launched by the British Astronomical Association and the Council for the Protection of Rural England which, in many parts of the countryside, makes a starry night a thing of the past; and believes that while our cities, towns and villages must be well lit, the lighting should be well designed and trained towards the ground where it is needed and not skywards where it pollutes the night sky."

Sadly the APPG's debate on 14th Dec 2020 wasn't attended by any oppostion party members, although one Leeds MP is supportive of light pollution issues.

Webpage: https://appgdarkskies.co.uk/


Dark Skies Matter

Dark Skies Matter is an 'umbrella' campaign for raising awareness around the issues of light pollution. Organisations and individuals with an interest in Dark Sky matters can sign up to show their support to the issue.

Organisations that have so far signed up include the APPG group for Dark skies, CfDS, Friends of The Earth, RSPB and several others.

Webpage: https://www.darkskiesmatter.org.uk/



CfDS (Commission For Dark Skies) was set up by concerned members of the BAA in 1989 to counter the ever-growing tide of sky-glow which has tainted the night sky over Britain since the 1950's. Since its inception, the CfDS has campaigned for better lighting; provided best practice advice; and given over 200 'Good Lighting' awards.

Recently the CfDS have published an excellent 40-page Blinded By The Light handbook:- 'for friends of the natural environments of Earth and sky, installers of corporate lighting, campaigners against the misuse of artificial light, and those who adversely affected by light pollution'.

Although after 30+ years of campaigning, it must feel like King Cnut trying to stop the sea from rising. Perhaps now that the environmental dark-side of light pollution is gaining more traction, the tide will finally turn in our favour?

Webpage: https://britastro.org/dark-skies/index.php


International Dark Sky Association

The International Dark Sky Association, based in Tucson AZ., is understandably geared mostly towards the US. Their website however has a lot of information which is still relevant, and they have awarded seven UK sites 'Dark Sky Reserve' status. In 2020 these have included both the North York Moors National Park and the Yorkshire Dales.

This presents an opportunity to increase awareness of the issue of light pollution locally, as the council see Leeds as a jumping off point for tourists visiting the Dales.

Webpage: https://www.darksky.org/



The CPRE (formerly the Campaign for the Protection of Rural England & now known as the Countryside Charity), campaign on rural issues, including promoting dark skies.

Every February the charity runs an annual Star Count survey, where the public submit data on the number of stars they can see within the main rectangle of the Orion constellation (formed by Betelgeuse, Bellatrix, Rigel and Saiph). The results are displayed in an online interactive map, which usually attracts the national press.

Webpage: https://www.cpre.org.uk/what-we-care-about/nature-and-landscapes/dark-skies/


AdBlock Leeds

Our local branch of the Adfree Cities Network, which campaigns against advertising, including planning notice objections to new LED lighting displays.

Their calculations estimate that in Leeds these adverts consume about 1 million kWh per year, which in 2020 equates to about 233 tonnes of CO2.

Webpage: https://adblockleeds.wordpress.com/