Recently one of my neighbours put up some very bright security lights in his large backyard. The lights are on very high poles and the way the lights are aimed they not only illuminate his yard but a good portion of others such as mine. It is like living next to a sports stadium all lit up at night. There is no such thing now as sitting on the back porch and watching the stars. The lights are on all night and a quite a nuisance. I have not had any luck contacting him. He is a prominent individual on the island. Are there laws or regulations controlling this type of thing and if I am unable to contact him and get any satisfaction, how would one go about making a formal complaint and who would it be made to?
Auntie’s answer: Unfortunately, I can understand the need for security lights and wish we were still living in the times when doors and cars could remain unlocked whether or not you were home or nearby. But that doesn’t mean your backyard has to be lit like it is a prison compound.
I couldn’t find anything in law that specifically addressed what seems to me to be light pollution so I contacted the Department of Planning for help. You need to email firstname.lastname@example.org and tell them the location of the property with the security lights. The department will then “investigate to determine if the installation requires a grant of planning permission and/or a permit”, an official explained.
I also want to comment on your description of your neighbour as a “prominent individual”. Perhaps I am assuming too much but I can’t help but feel that your subtext alludes to a concern that the high profile of the person might preclude any appropriate action being taken. At the risk of triggering a backlash of commenters calling me naïve, the straightforward response of the planning official indicates to me that the issue is clear-cut: either your neighbour needs to apply for the requisite permission or does not. It should be just that simple.
If your neighbour does need a permit for the lights, I believe that would be your opportunity to register a formal complaint. If they do not require planning permission, I am not sure what your options are. I would be very interested in hearing the results of the investigation and the next steps you take. Please write to let me know. This could also be very helpful to others who find themselves in a similar situation.
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