Seeing stars – using Lighting Impact Assessment to design better night-time environments

As external lighting designers, Envision recognise the importance of well-designed and effective external lighting. Artificial light has benefited society immeasurably, by extending the length of the productive day and promoting health, safety and security. But when outdoor lighting becomes inefficient, disturbing, or unnecessary, it is considered as light pollution. Many people now consider light pollution to be one of the fastest growing and most prevalent forms of environmental pollution, with a growing body of scientific research suggesting that light pollution can have lasting adverse effects on both human and wildlife health.

The planning process provides an important role in helping to shape the urban environment and protect health and amenity. Many planning applications now need to submit Lighting Impact Assessments to demonstrate how lighting principles have been considered at the earliest stage of a scheme’s design.

Envision combines our expertise in environmental assessment with our electrical engineering capabilities to assess and deliver effective night-time light solutions. Starting from a principle to avoid the need for lighting altogether, we apply a hierarchical approach to lighting design, which is validated and checked through consideration to lighting intensity, glare, and the avoidance of upward light.  Our Lighting Impact Assessments are informed through close liaison with design team members, including ecologists, architects, landscape, and townscape specialists and BREEAM Assessors. All our assessments include external lighting drawings and design codes, which avoid onerous conditions from being placed on schemes post planning. Our light selections and control strategies promote energy efficiency and have regard for safety and security.

As part of our Lighting Impact Assessment process we consider the following:

  • The baseline night-time light environment in which the development is situated;
  • The sensitivity of the environment to change;
  • The need for new lighting to meet desired lighting levels (Lux levels) across the site;
  • The best way to position new lighting  to meet the criteria and avoid unnecessary usage;
  • Limiting the amount of light spill to adjacent properties / environments;
  • The cost of the lighting, both from a capital and operational perspective;
  • Any further mitigation necessary, including control strategies.

If you would like to know more about how we can support you with a lighting impact assessment, please get in touch with a member of the Envision team.

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