Main Modifications to Ashford Local Plan

Policy ENV4 – Light Pollution and dark Skies (MM86)

Add new supporting text following paragraph 5.319 as follows:

There is an increasing demand for artificial lighting for safety (road schemes etc.), crime prevention (security lighting) and for leisure activities (floodlighting of sports facilities), etc. Linked with this increasing demand has been a rise in the number of complaints about obtrusive light received by local authorities. This combination of circumstances has raised the profile of obtrusive light as an environmental issue.

Obtrusive light is generally a consequence of poorly designed or insensitive lighting schemes. The main problems associated with obtrusive light are:

  • Sky glow - the orange glow we see around urban areas caused by a scattering of artificial light by dust particles and water droplets in the sky;
  • Glare - the uncomfortable brightness of a light source when viewed against a darker background; and
  • Light trespass - light spilling beyond the boundary of the property on which a light is located.

Each of the three types presents very different problems for the general public and for the environment as a whole.

As per guidance established by the Institution of Lighting Professionals (ILP, 2011), the borough has been divided into distinct “Environmental Zones” based on global satellite radiance data, to determine suitable local thresholds and standards for external lighting. These are presented in the table below:

Obtrusive Light Limitations for Exterior Lighting Installations as appropriate for Ashford Borough

Zone

What is acceptable?

Where does it apply?

E0

No decorative lighting acceptable.

Security lighting acceptable only in exceptional circumstances.

Designated ‘dark sky’ zone

E1

External lighting to be limited to accord with ILP lighting guidance for this zone.

Decorative lighting generally inappropriate.

All lighting must be extinguished after 23:00 except in exceptional circumstances.

AONBs; SSSIs; rural areas outside of HOU3a rural settlements

E2

For large-scale developments, lighting levels should accord with ILP technical guidance for this zone. Where development takes place, strict control of new street lighting.

All lighting must be extinguished after 23:00 except in exceptional circumstances

Within identified HOU3a rural settlements (excluding Tenterden High Street)

E3

External lighting levels should accord with ILP technical guidance for this zone.

Extensions to the Ashford urban area and Tenterden High Street

E4

External lighting levels should accord with ILP technical guidance for this zone. Street lighting proposals should be carefully planned and specified to achieve best practice in light pollution control.

Within the Ashford urban area

Amend policy wording as follows:

Policy ENV4 – Light Pollution and Promoting Dark Skies

Proposals will be permitted provided that the lighting proposed is the minimum appropriate for its purpose, is designed such that lighting is directed downwards, with a beam angle below 70 degrees and that no significant adverse effects individually or cumulatively will result to the character of the area, the residential amenity of local residents, the safety of vehicle users and pedestrians or the diurnal / seasonal rhythms of the Borough’s biodiversity assets.

The correlated colour temperature (CCT) of outdoor lighting should not exceed 3000 Kelvins in order to limit the effects of known environmental hazards associated with short-wavelength visible light.

Proposals where external lighting is required should include a full lighting scheme that provides information about layout and beam orientation, a schedule of the light equipment proposed including luminaire type, mounting height, aiming angles and lumen unit levels. Schemes will be expected to comply with ILP technical guidance in relation to the Environmental Zone in which an application is proposed.

Within the area proposed to be designated as a ‘dark sky zone’, proposals will only be permitted where they adhere to the above requirements and where they can demonstrate that there will be no significant adverse effects on the visibility of the night sky or its intrinsically dark landscapes.

All proposals will be expected to comply with demonstrate clear regard to the guidance and requirements set out in the Council’s Dark Skies SPD (2014).