The maps, produced using satellite images captured at 1.30 am throughout September 2015, show that Bedfordshire is the 32nd darkest county out of the 41 counties in England.
The view of the night sky will vary dramatically depending where you are in Bedfordshire. Unsurprisingly, the northern parts of rural Bedfordshire enjoy the county’s darkest skies, whereas the built up areas and the main arterial routes through the county cause significant light pollution.
The development around junction 13 near the small village of Brogborough in Central Bedfordshire shows severe light leakage.
This research comes at a time of increasing awareness of the harmful effects light pollution can have on the health of people and wildlife. That these skies were monitored at 1.30am illustrates just how long into the night England’s lighting spills.
CPRE Bedfordshire calls on Central Bedfordshire and Bedford Borough Council develop a policy to reduce light pollution in their emerging local plans.
A spokesperson from CPRE Bedfordshire said:
“This is a fascinating insight into how light pollution from our settlements and infrastructure are impacting the night skies in Bedfordshire. There are real opportunities for local councils to use these maps to review their current lighting and inform decisions that could lead to reducing unnecessary lighting, which in turn could also bring cost savings.”
1. CPRE’s interactive maps can be accessed at http://nightblight.cpre.org.uk/.
2. Light pollution is a generic term referring to excess artificial light that shines where it is neither wanted nor needed. In broad terms, there are three types of light pollution:
• skyglow – the pink or orange glow we see for miles around towns and cities, spreading deep into the countryside, caused by a scattering of artificial light by airborne dust and water droplets
• glare – the uncomfortable brightness of a light source
• light intrusion – light spilling beyond the boundary of the property on which a light is located, sometimes shining through windows and curtains
3.The new maps were produced by Land Use Consultants from data gathered by the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in America. The NOAA satellite captured visible and infrared imagery to determine the levels of light spilling up into British skies. CPRE is sending lesson plans to primary schools in order to promote the enjoyment of dark skies.