Bright idea to dim lights

THOUSANDS of pounds will be spent on dim light bulbs for the Cheddar area to dull the bright lights spoiling the tranquil night skies

THOUSANDS of pounds will be spent on dim light bulbs for the Cheddar area to dull the bright lights spoiling the tranquil night skies.The serene nature of towns and villages nestling at the foot of the Mendip Hills is being spoiled by late-night light pollution according to a group set up to preserve the area.The Mendip Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) Partnership is so concerned that it has set aside £2,500 to spend on 'replacing external lighting with lighting that emits less light'.The partnership wants to install duller bulbs on shops, community facilities like playing fields and village halls and even residents' own homes to cut out the night-time glare.People would have to buy dimmer lights themselves and then someone would come round to check they had actually done the work before refunding them half the cost of buying new lighting.Cash from the project will be taken from the £80,000 Sustainable Development Fund the partnership controls.Mendip Hills AONB manager Sarah Jackson said: "We are not sure what response we will get, we have been concerned about lighting for a long time and thought it would be nice to back it up with some funding."Once the partnership has agreed on its statement for how to tackle light pollution, we will draw up a check list of criteria people would need to meet to get funding."The partnership, which includes councillors, local groups and villagers, will next meet in Shipham Village Hall today (Thurs) from 10am.In a report to the group, planning liaison officer Jonathan Richards says: "Dark night skies and the enjoyment of seeing all the nights stars are an inherent part of the peace and tranquillity people can still experience within parts of the AONB."It is apparent that the issue is partly being addressed locally. For instance some parish councils have already been reviewing lighting on public facilities like football pitches and private houses.


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