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Light Pollution

Oral Answers to Questions — Transport – in the House of Commons at 10:30 am on 18th March 2010.

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Photo of David Heathcoat-Amory David Heathcoat-Amory Conservative, Wells 10:30 am, 18th March 2010

If he will review the guidance notes for the reduction of obtrusive light with a view to reducing light pollution from highway lighting.

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Photo of Chris Mole Chris Mole Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Department for Transport

This is not strictly a matter for the Department for Transport. The guidance notes for the reduction of obtrusive light are produced by the Institution of Lighting Engineers. The institution is responsible for any future review of its guidance.

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Photo of David Heathcoat-Amory David Heathcoat-Amory Conservative, Wells

Why does the Minister not take some responsibility for once, as this is an important issue? Is he aware that badly designed street and road lighting is the commonest form of reported light pollution, and it also wastes a lot of energy? The Government claim that they are interested in energy efficiency, so why does he not get a grip of this and do something for a change? This would be good for the environment and it would save money, so what is holding him back?

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Photo of Chris Mole Chris Mole Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Department for Transport

If the right hon. Gentleman looks at the role of the Highways Agency, for which the Department is directly responsible, he will find that it already has programmes designed to turn off unnecessary road lighting on the motorways. Local authorities will want to consider, in the light of their local circumstances, developing policies that can address light pollution and its impact on the night sky, as well as parallel policies, such as those aimed at carbon reduction, that might drive them to turn off or dim their highway lighting.

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