Protecting dark skies

Shortly after being first elected last December, I co-founded in Parliament the All-party Parliamentary Group for Dark Skies together with Lord Rees, the Astronomer Royal, in order to protect the night sky against light pollution in order that future generations may still be able to see the stars and the Milky Way - something that is already impossible in many parts of West Sussex. The South Downs National Park is an official 'Dark Sky Reserve' but bad lighting, new development and 'horizon light pollution' is a constant threat.

The APPG recently concluded its consultation on the subject of dark sky preservation and light pollution measures. I have received responses from over 150 academics, legal professionals, national parks, professional and amateur astronomers, members of local and national government, lighting professionals, engineers and businesses.

The purpose of this consultation was to identify the main threats and challenges that the cause of dark sky preservation faces in the UK, and identify the most effective and actionable ways in which legislators and policy makers can seek to address these challenges.

The result is that we will soon produce Parliament's first ever policy plan that will provide a basis for the focus of future campaigns in Parliament. You can find out more about the Dark Sky APPG at www.appgdarkskies.co.uk