Dark Skies Cumbria

Saving Our Night Skies

Cumbria's dark skies allow us to see the natural wonder of the stars, but are also critical for the health wildlife and our own natural well-being. Sadly light pollution in Cumbria is increasing each year, threatening to obscure our view of the stars and blinding and confusing animals so they can’t feed or find a mate. We need urgent action now to stop light pollution. Stargazers, photographers, wildlife lovers and local communities… please help.


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The Lake District and Cumbria offers some of the most spectacular and precious skyscapes in England and we want you to join us on an interstellar adventure. Download our Dark Sky Discovery Pack and get started today!

Our good lighting guide produced jointly with a lighting designer has been launched and has already won two national awards! 

The document, the Cumbria Good Lighting Technical Advice Note, or TAN, provides technical lighting guidance to planners and planning applicants, and is also designed to help any individual, organisation or community installing new or replacing existing lighting to make good lighting choices. 

The Cumbia Good Lighting Technical Advice Note was prepared by Friends of the Lake District, and Dark Source Lighting Design, with and on behalf of several planning authorities (Lake District and Yorkshire Dales National Park Authorities, Westmorland and Furness, Cumberland, and Lancaster councils). It has been endorsed by them and many other organisations, including those representing the lighting industry, wildlife, dark skies campaigners and astronomy groups. It will apply across Cumbria, the whole of the Yorkshire Dales National Park and the whole of the Arnside and Silverdale National Landscape (formerly AONB) and will help the authorities to implement their own local planning policies and national planning policy.  

Increasing artificial light at night is resulting in more and more light pollution and the erosion of dark skies.  This not only prevents people from enjoying the wonders of the night sky, but has significant impacts on our landscapes, on wildlife and on human health. 

62% of Cumbria’s night skies are in the darkest category, and largely free from light pollution, but the areas impacted by light pollution are increasing.  The Good Lighting TAN seeks to achieve a net reduction in light pollution, helping to protect the darkest areas and reduce light pollution in those areas already affected. 

The Cumbria Good Lighting TAN has won two awards, both the Platinum and Green Build Back Better Awards.  The Build Back Better Awards champion innovation, creativity, environmental leadership and social purpose. They are designed to celebrate and reward technologies and initiatives that will help put the country on a path to a better future following the pandemic. 

As well as being impressed by the graphics, the judges unanimously agreed that the Good Lighting TAN sets a new benchmark by covering a whole region, rather than just a Dark Sky Reserve; having a policy goal of a net reduction in light pollution; being adopted by a wide range of endorsing organisations and authorities; containing bespoke visuals to convey good lighting principles and best practice and by addressing the downfalls of mainstream lighting standards.

Read The Cumbria Good Lighting TAN, including a summary and a leaflet of the 8 basic good lighting principles here.

It is also on the Lake District National Park Authority’s website and will soon be available on the other authorities’ own websites (Yorkshire Dales National Park, and Westmorland and Furness, Cumberland, and Lancaster councils). 

Friends of the Lake District’s Planning Officer Lorayne Wall said:  “This is the first time Friends of the Lake District has led on producing a planning guidance document. It’s been a very positive joint effort, working with Dark Source and the local authorities.  Winning at the Build Back Better Awards is testament to that, and it’s great that we are already seeing a change in how lighting and light pollution are covered in planning applications and decisions”. 

Friends of the Lake District’s Dark Skies Officer Jack Ellerby said:  “As part of the Dark Skies Cumbria Project, the production of the TAN is another really positive step towards achieving a net reduction in light pollution across Cumbria, and beyond, and to have so many authorities, communities and organisations backing it is fantastic.” 

Kerem Asfuroglu of Dark Source, said:  “The TAN is outcome of a fantastic collaboration between Friends of the Lake District and Dark Source. Sharing similar values but different expertise, we have created an important resource and practical toolkit to mobilise and empower a diverse range of people. In addition to strong ambition, Friends brought in a deep understanding of the planning process, which makes the TAN a powerful gateway to protecting dark skies for all planning applicants and officers, as well as installers”. 

Read more about our Dark Skies Cumbria Project here: https://www.darkskiescumbria.org.uk/  

More about Dark Source: https://www.dark-source.com/