Planning Policy Guide

Last Updated :
  Thursday, 06-Mar-2008

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  HCI Data Ltd.

Planning Policy Guide


Light Pollution Reduced

CPRE Thame successfully campaigned against an Oxford City Council planning application to install damaging floodlighting in the countryside.

The council applied to South Oxfordshire District Council for floodlighting in the car park adjacent to its sports ground in the Green Belt. It claimed that the lighting was needed to tackle drug peddling and antisocial behaviour.

CPRE Thame told councillors at the planning committee
meeting that while Green Belt regulations allowed facilities for sports this meant essential facilities only, not floodlighting public car parks. Councillors
voted 11 to 1 to overturn the officers’ recommendation and
refuse the application.

In due course the city council appealed. At a public hearing in January CPRE Thame again made the case against light pollution. The inspector’s decision confirmed CPRE
Thame’s argument. He said: "There is growing concern
regarding light pollution in the countryside and the proliferation of night light in the area of the appeal site would add to the creeping urbanisation into the
Green Belt, to the detriment of the rural character of the area. As well as conflicting with the stated purposes of the Oxford Green Belt, the appeal proposals would also fail to conform with Policy EP3 of the Local Plan, which rejects external lighting proposals that Light pollution reduced would adversely affect the rural character of the countryside.

"I acknowledge that there is a palpable risk of crime in the car park. I, therefore, agree that the proposed development would accord with central government guidance on crime prevention as set out in PPS 1. However, I do not consider that these benefits would outweigh the harm that would be caused to the character, appearance and visual qualities of the area or to the consistency and integrity of the Green Belt."

The decision was significant because it recognised that,
although lighting would give a public benefit in terms of
increased security, the public benefit from maintaining dark countryside was greater.

See also The CPRE Fieldwork newsletter

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