Protection bid for South Downs’ night skies

The skies above Sussex could be given international recognition to try to keep them clear and dark at night.

South Downs National Park Authority plans to apply to the International Dark Sky Association (IDSA), a US-based non-profit organisation fighting to preserve the night, for Dark Sky designation to try to control light pollution.

Around 100 stargazers counted how many stars they could see in the Orion constellation above the national park as part of the plan.

The results of Star Count 2013, organised by the Campaign to Protect Rural England and the British Astronomical Association’s Campaign for Dark Skies, are due out shortly, when the Sussex count will be used as evidence about the quality of the night skies above the national park, which covers 1,600 square kilometres.

It is one of four places in Britain planning to apply for Dark Sky status.

The Brecon Beacons in Wales and Exmoor National Park are two of only five Dark Sky reserves in the world.

Those areas that get the designation are supported by the IDSA in ways to prevent light pollution from damaging the view, such as by bringing in bans on development.

In the Sussex skies, highlights of the Milky Way, the Andromeda galaxy and the Orion Nebula are visible.

Campaigners say their initial measurements of sky quality above the national park are “favourable” and consistent with attaining a bronze level standard of an International Dark Sky Reserve.

Orange glow

Officials said the proposals are at a very early stage and could take up to five years.

Joanna Glyde of the national park authority said: “This is a big challenge. There are many stringent requirements and with the number of residents dispersed across the Downs, this makes the task that much more difficult.”

Dan Oakley, a park ranger and amateur astronomer who took part in the star count, said: “With the national park sitting in the middle of the most populous part of the country, most of us will be used to seeing the orange glow of light pollution and may not even realise the rich landscape of stars hidden above us.”

Emma Marrington, the CPRE’s dark skies campaigner, said: “We want to use this evidence to convince ministers and local councils of the need to control light pollution.”

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Comments (7)

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11:16am Sat 23 Mar 13

rolivan says...

Surely the Fact that it is in the flight path of Aircraft would be a big problem with Gatwick nearby
Surely the Fact that it is in the flight path of Aircraft would be a big problem with Gatwick nearby rolivan

11:54am Sat 23 Mar 13

Hove Actually says...

More people putting their nose into others business.

"bans on development" why as if anything out there is going to help poverty and the homeless or job less here on earth
More people putting their nose into others business. "bans on development" why as if anything out there is going to help poverty and the homeless or job less here on earth Hove Actually

12:19pm Sat 23 Mar 13

wicket5 says...

Whats light pollution got to do with Gatwick being nearby???
Whats light pollution got to do with Gatwick being nearby??? wicket5

1:26pm Sat 23 Mar 13

HJarrs says...

This is a good idea and in step with the roll-out of the more directional LED street lighting in B&H and other areas, which seems to be ok at street level but there is noticeably a lot less light pollution skywards.

I don't think the IDSA seeks a ban on development other than that causing light polution.
This is a good idea and in step with the roll-out of the more directional LED street lighting in B&H and other areas, which seems to be ok at street level but there is noticeably a lot less light pollution skywards. I don't think the IDSA seeks a ban on development other than that causing light polution. HJarrs

1:26pm Sat 23 Mar 13

rolivan says...

With the amount of aircraft flying in and out of Gatwick the pollution they emit diminishes the ability to have a clear sky.The flight path is across the Downs around Bognor and Eqstbourne I believe have a look next time you fly.
With the amount of aircraft flying in and out of Gatwick the pollution they emit diminishes the ability to have a clear sky.The flight path is across the Downs around Bognor and Eqstbourne I believe have a look next time you fly. rolivan

2:50am Sun 24 Mar 13

Wooleyespull says...

Then someone better go and have a word with the Amex stadium whose light pollution, even on non event days, is worse than the A27.
Then someone better go and have a word with the Amex stadium whose light pollution, even on non event days, is worse than the A27. Wooleyespull

12:22pm Sun 24 Mar 13

whereisthe...? says...

RUBBISH - this sounds like an EXCUSE to turn off street lights so TORIES save more pounds from the proles, while claiming its for a good cause.
RUBBISH - this sounds like an EXCUSE to turn off street lights so TORIES save more pounds from the proles, while claiming its for a good cause. whereisthe...?

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