When a neighbour (or the council) installs outdoor lighting which also lights up your home, or shines through your windows, this is called “light trespass”. We don’t get involved in neighbourhood disputes BUT we can give you some useful information to help solve this problem in a simple, professional and friendly way. The first step is that your neighbour probably doesn’t realise there is a problem so its a good idea to have a friendly chat to begin with and maybe show them what their light looks like from your point of view. (A little goodwill goes a long way.)
Many people believe that more and brighter lighting makes us safer, but there is no solid evidence suggesting that’s true. In fact, glare from unshielded lights can create shadows where criminals hide. And bright lighting can even make it easier for criminals to work.
So, how do you talk to your neighbour about this situation?
(If the light trespass is from streetlights, see our Bad Streetlights page.)
- Make friends, not enemies. Your neighbours probably don’t even realize their lighting is bothersome.
- Stay positive and don’t argue. Be tactful and understanding about your neighbour’s right to light their property and to feel secure.
- Suggest alternatives to their current fixture. Ask them to move the light, shield it, or add a motion sensor so it’s activated only when needed. Offer to help get this done.
- Be helpful. Talking to your neighbour is a great opportunity to be an advocate for good lighting. There are many reasons to use dark sky-friendly lighting.
- Have a list of shielded light fixtures to suggest as alternatives to your neighbour’s current lighting. Use our Fixture Seal of Approval database to find dark sky-friendly fixtures and devices.
- Remember that everyone wants the same thing: a chance to relax in his or her own environment. Work together to create an atmosphere that benefits the community
- Write a letter, take a picture of how the light impacts your home and garden. You may find it useful to put your thoughts on paper. We have provided a Sample Letter to Your Neighbor to get you started. Additionally, here is a recorded presentation on this subject.