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Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2005

Volume 470: debated on Thursday 10 January 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether he plans to review the premises excluded from section 102 of the Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2005, with particular reference to transport-based premises; and if he will make a statement. (175601)

I have no current plans to review the premises excluded from section 102 of the Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2005.

Transport operators are obliged to provide adequate lighting to ensure the health, safety and security of their employees, customers and others. Artificial lighting is needed outside at night.

The transport premises exempted either tend to operate in a 24-7 environment or are places where essential maintenance takes place during the night due to the need to ensure that vehicles and the infrastructure is operational during the day. It is not open to the transport industry, without causing disruption to the wider economy, to switch operations to the daytime. In such cases, it is far more resource intensive to mitigate against light escaping into the atmosphere than is the case with other commercial premises where much of the activity will be carried out indoors and the question of light pollution can be addressed through adequate blinds.

Where artificial lighting is required for operational, security and safety reasons in transport premises, it is in the public interest for Parliament to recognise this in the form of exemptions and to put beyond doubt that, in such circumstances, artificial lighting is not a statutory nuisance.

The prime objective of extending the statutory nuisance provisions to include artificial lighting is to deal with local sources of bright light which cause annoyance to local residents, such as domestic security and decorative lighting. The existence of the transport exemptions does not affect the Act’s effectiveness against this sort of problem.