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Light dawns on night skies

19th February 2024

CPRE Oxfordshire, the countryside charity, is delighted that South Oxfordshire and Vale of White Horse District Councils have included a proposed policy on Dark Skies in their new Joint Local Plan, which is out for consultation until 26th February.

Helen Marshall, Director, said: “Councils tend to have policies on managing light pollution but that’s a reactive approach to new development.  We wanted to see something proactive, that recognises the crucial importance of Dark Skies and helps to maintain and improve those areas.  We’re really delighted to see our local councils have listened and are proposing this new policy.  We hope the public will support it by responding to the consultation.”

Of course, Dark Skies enable us to appreciate the wonder of the stars, but there’s more to it than that.  Many plants, wildlife and insects rely on darkness to find food, to breed and to navigate, as well as for protection.  Humans also need Dark Skies – exposure to light at night can affect our sleep patterns and have serious health impacts.

Darkness is also an important element of landscape character and tranquillity, especially in the Chilterns and North Wessex Downs national landscapes, and as a result they are particularly vulnerable to light pollution.

The new proposed policy – CE11 Light Pollution and Dark Skies – says that “Where possible, development proposals are encouraged to support the restoration and improvement of areas to enhance and or extend dark skies, and/or upgrade existing sources of light pollution on, and/or in the vicinity of the development to reduce light pollution in the area”.

The public can support the policy by emailing: jointheconversation@southandvale.gov.uk

Full details of the South & Vale Joint Local Plan consultation are at: https://theconversation.southandvale.gov.uk/jlp/

To find out more about CPRE Oxfordshire’s work on Dark Skies visit: https://www.cpreoxon.org.uk/care/dark-skies-matter/

CPRE is also pushing for the Plan to contain a much stronger policy on renewable energy, including a clear brownfield/rooftops first approach.   Read more here: https://www.cpreoxon.org.uk/news/the-joint-local-plan-south-oxfordshire-and-vale-of-white-horse-district-councils/

For further information, please contact Laura Reineke comms@cpreoxon.org.uk or call 07392 769377

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