Peterborough Talking the Talk on Light Pollution

17:55 Wednesday 11th April 2012
Drive BBC Radio Cambridgeshire

CHRIS MANN: The Campaign to Protect Rural England says Britain’s night sky is still saturated by light pollution. A survey found that half the people they questioned could only see ten stars in the Orion constellation, where they should be able to see thirty. The organisation’s Chief Executive Shaun Spiers says councils could do a lot more to tackle unnecessary lighting. (TAPE)
SHAUN SPIERS: There’s lots of things causing light pollution. Street lights are one of them, and councils that have experimented in part-time cut-off between midnight and five o’clock in the morning have seen no increase in crime, they’ve saved an awful lot of money .. ” (LIVE)
CHRIS MANN: Let’s talk now to Janine Starling from Peterborough Environment City Trust. Hi, Janine.
CHRIS MANN: Well, are you aware of this increasing light pollution?
JANINE STARLING: Yes I am. Actually they’ve just allocated a dark sky park, the first in the UK, in Scotland. So it’s big talk at the moment.
CHRIS MANN: And of course Peterborough likes to consider itself as a very green, a very environmental city. You should be ahead of everybody else on this.
JANINE STARLING: (LAUGHS) Yes, we should be. Yes, I know the City Council is putting in plans at the moment for more energy efficient lighting. But there are a lot of local authorities actually taking action. I think more on kind of the saving money aspect, rather than the environmental aspect. But obviously ..
CHRIS MANN: It doesn’t matter if the end result’s the same.
JANINE STARLING: Exactly. So for example Essex County Council started switching off lights between midnight and five a.m. And obviously they’re saving huge amounts of money, I think about a million pounds a year through that.
CHRIS MANN: So could Cambridgeshire do more?
JANINE STARLING: I think they could do. Yes. Obviously from the environmental perspective the best thing to do is to put energy-efficiency lighting in, rather than the current lighting that’s being used. But things like switching off lighting as well between those hours, and also dimming lighting, can all have environmental benefits, money saving, and also helping with light pollution.
CHRIS MANN: Look forward to all of that. janine Starling, thank you very much indeed. From Peterborough Environmental City Trust.