Skip to main content

Light Pollution

Volume 616: debated on Monday 24 October 2016

11. If he will issue guidance to local authorities on taking steps to control light pollution and protect dark skies. (906737)

The national planning policy framework is clear. Local planning policies and decisions should limit the impact of light pollution from artificial light, including the impact on intrinsically dark landscapes. Our March 2014 planning guidance sets out how light pollution should be considered in the planning system.

Light pollution is not just a problem for people who want to look at the stars; it is also a problem for birds, which become confused about when they should begin the dawn chorus. They sing for so long that they have no energy left to mate. I am sure that the Minister understands why this is a problem. But Brexit—

Order. I wish to hear the hon. Lady, at such point as she has had the opportunity to regain the necessary composure.

Brexit does give us the opportunity to control public procurement, so when the Minister is talking to local authorities about what kind of LED lighting to purchase, will he encourage them to buy lights from Thorn in Spennymoor in my constituency?

It is always important to reserve enough energy, and LED lights are certainly one way of not using as much energy as our current street lights generally do. I hear what the hon. Lady says, and I think that, when practicable, local authorities should always seek to procure goods and services from UK firms.

The Minister for encouraging avian procreation is not unknown in Ealing. May I invite him to return to that sweet borough, where he will see the stars glittering like diamonds on a bed of black velvet because a very hard-working, intelligent and innovative council has changed the street lighting programme to one with down-lighters and lower luminescence? Will he return with me to Ealing and gaze up at the stars, which are now visible?

I usually expect most Labour local authorities to leave people in the dark, but on this occasion I hear what the hon. Gentleman says. I made a fantastic visit to Pitshanger Lane in his constituency not too long ago and I should be delighted to return at some point.