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Soloula

Neighbours security lights

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Hi first post so hope this is in the right board.... My neighbour has just had four big spotlight dusk till dawn lights installed in the eaves of his house. It's like floodlights and I nearly cried when I saw them as the light pollution from them is terrible. They're not budging on switching them off when we're out. Is there anything we can do? Will the council deal with this as light pollution affecting the enjoyment of our property? Can I buy something to sit in/put out to block it out, although they're so high up and cover the full length of their garden that I don't know if this is possible? 

I was due to get my dad's 6" refractor telescope this year but now it feels like theres no point. Its not exactly portable to jump in the car and take it elsewhere as my lovely neighbour suggested :(My kids will be gutted too. We often sit out with some hot chocolate and binoculars stargazing. 

Any advice to a newbie would be much appreciated. 

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4 minutes ago, Soloula said:

Hi first post so hope this is in the right board.... My neighbour has just had four big spotlight dusk till dawn lights installed in the eaves of his house. It's like floodlights and I nearly cried when I saw them as the light pollution from them is terrible. They're not budging on switching them off when we're out. Is there anything we can do? Will the council deal with this as light pollution affecting the enjoyment of our property? Can I buy something to sit in/put out to block it out, although they're so high up and cover the full length of their garden that I don't know if this is possible? 

I was due to get my dad's 6" refractor telescope this year but now it feels like theres no point. Its not exactly portable to jump in the car and take it elsewhere as my lovely neighbour suggested :(My kids will be gutted too. We often sit out with some hot chocolate and binoculars stargazing. 

Any advice to a newbie would be much appreciated. 

Sorry to hear this. It actually angers me reading this and it doesn’t look you will get a solution from what you are saying.  Perhaps bring your kids round with you and try talking again.  Its a shame, the selfish actions of others, and he can’t claim ignorance. 

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Did they explain why they didn't set them up with motion sensors? 

It looks like there could be legal options around nuisance light pollution, but I doubt it'll be easy to go down that route.

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If any of the light falls onto the windows of your bedrooms, especially childrens bedrooms, you have a stronger case to get some action I've found. We had a similar issue here where the light shone directly onto my daughters bedroom window. After I took it up with the owner, copied to my local councilor and my local authority, the light was shielded so that none of it fell onto our property.

 

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I have very similar problem but my neighbours have it on motion control which is actually veeeeery sensitive so I turning it on quite frequently just while I walk through my backyard. I don't know yet how it will affect my shots. Maybe just ring set up in the middle of my backyard remotely controlled won't activate it. I haven't speak with neighbours yet, hopefully it won't be necessary, but I keep it in back of my head. I have ordered LPF as I live in Bortle class 7 area what is actually enough to complicate things so we will see.

So I wish us both a luck :D

Edited by raf2020

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It my be worth a try complaining to the council and tell them they are keeping you awake at night.

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The a-social reaction of your neighbor, saying: 'jump in the car and take it elsewhere'  would really trigger some nasty reactions with me...
He is ruining the pleasure of your property and you really should go and complain to the city counsel. Maybe go to a lawyer first to find out what your legal rights are in this situation. My feeling for honesty and righteousness tells me your neighbor is crossing the border by miles...

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I've been through this and managed a successful result, though it was with a local business and not a residence. I know that sinking, almost sick feeling when you look outside and see a blaze of artificial light shining right at you. 

After I was initially ignored, I got the Senior Environmental Health Officer involved who sided with me after looking at my photos. The lights may be considered a statutory nuisance which prevents you from enjoying your home and property and be injurious to your health and well-being. The light can be intrusive, encroach on your property or constitute 'light trespass'  - yes, that exists!

Don't get into a verbal confrontation but don't be mild or meek in your complaint unless the neighbours are truly frightening thugs. Their lives won't be ruined if they have to use a motion sensor or switch off some lights. They will get over it. Take the gloves off and tell the officer the lights are driving you nuts, interfere with you and your children's sleep and are so bright (in my case), they dazzle you trying to walk down the stairs at night and may cause a fall. Tell then they are utterly ridiculous and extremely bright for the small area they need to light. etc etc. I wouldn't push the astronomy side too far, most people wouldn't understand that or consider it to be a minor factor unless you are lucky enough to have an environmental health officer into astronomy! 

Take some photos at night that highlight the extent and intensity of the LEDs - use the slider bar on photo developing software to increase the photo brightness until it looks right or mimics what it feels like to look at them, etc.

I am sure the environment health officer has dealt with these sorts of complaints before and I would push for shielded, downwards facing lights on a motion sensor that doesn't go off when you walk in YOUR garden. Sorry your neighbour is like that, some people don't care if their actions disturb others, I know that well!

Good luck. Let me know if you want any pdfs or data on the topic. I have a few!

Edited by Ships and Stars
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Thanks so much for the replies. I’ve phoned environmental health this morning and am waiting for an officer to phone me back. Sorry to hear others have had to deal with this too. It’s so frustrating. I don’t object to my neighbour having a light but what he’s put up is totally not proportionate to his needs. I appreciate the advice Ships. My neighbour is next door, to the side, rather than behind us so the light is more of an issue for our enjoyment of the garden than anything else. Would be much easier to deal with I think if it was shining into our bedrooms. I’m going to push the nuisance angle as much as I can. I read a case this morning in Scotland under the new nuisance regs where someone had to change their light because it was affecting night fishing in the river beside so I’m hopeful. Our garden is our sanctuary, especially atm when going out and doing other things we enjoy is limited with COVID restrictions. We are on the edge of a housing estate, on a hill, with one neighbour below us whose few lights are shielded by their leylandii and fields beyond them. We had no lights in our back garden. It was as good as you could get at the edge of a busy town for stargazing. Then eejit next door got his four lights put up. When I asked him why he said security. No one overlooks our garden so no one to report anything. I don’t know how he thinks it’s more secure. All he’s doing is lighting the way for any burglars. I’m also concerned about the light trespass as you say Ships, as it affects the security of our property. Previously a burglar would have had to get a torch out which would look well dodgy but our house is now lit enough to see but not enough to be seen iykwim so I’ll pursue this angle too.

 

The annoying thing as well is his wife got an electrician out and got a quote to change the timer to a switch so I could ask them to turn it off when I’m going out. We had it all sorted and I was even going to pay just to keep the peace so we could enjoy our garden again and he’s just decided to dig his heels in. Why do people behave like that? 

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Hopefully you'll reach a resolution! Security lighting does make it easier for people to break in ironically. Motion lights are the way to go, as is a simple switch! Surprised he rejected a switch installation if you were going to pay. That's not a good sign! Hopefully env health will persuade him to go that route. I'd gladly pay for my neighbour to have a switch installed. Sorry to hear that and good luck there, let us know how it pans out. 

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Good luck with this, its very common as is the poor response by neighbours.
My dear neighbour was very impolite and abusive although I was all polite and remained very calm,
the light shining in the bedrooms was resolved via involving the council, the 16 light into the sky were not however!

I now enjoy lunar and solar observing and double stars from home, anything else really needs a darker sky trip sadly.

In answer to your comment 'Why do people behave like this',
well its because they are selfish, care for no one else or anything else other than themselves.
 

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I got my neighbor to back down on his lights by going out nightly with a Cree LED tactical flashlight and shining it in his family room windows, zig-zagging it all over the place.  When he came out in a huff, I pointed out I was trying to astro observe, and was trying to figure out why his security lights came on every time I came out my backdoor or moved around my own back yard as if it was a criminal act to do so.  I told him I was trying to figure out if they were light or motion sensitive sensors.  He rearranged them and turned down the intensity and motion sensitivity.  They didn't seem to like having the tables turned on them with regards to nuisance lighting.

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2 hours ago, Soloula said:

....

The annoying thing as well is his wife got an electrician out and got a quote to change the timer to a switch so I could ask them to turn it off when I’m going out. We had it all sorted and I was even going to pay just to keep the peace so we could enjoy our garden again and he’s just decided to dig his heels in. Why do people behave like that? 

I'd suggest waiting until  the husband is out, and having a chat with the wife, who sounds far more reasonable and might be able to talk her spouse round.  If he has gone all alpha-male-defend-my-territory, he may find it hard to (as he might see it) back  down to you. His poor wife presumably has learnt how to deal with him .

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A switch is vulnerable to them being in to ask and they then oblige and turn them off. PIR would be better as no asking each time outside would be needed. They shouldn't be lighting your garden anyway.

Good luck

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18 minutes ago, Tiny Clanger said:

I'd suggest waiting until  the husband is out, and having a chat with the wife, who sounds far more reasonable and might be able to talk her spouse round.  If he has gone all alpha-male-defend-my-territory, he may find it hard to (as he might see it) back  down to you. His poor wife presumably has learnt how to deal with him .

Careful that this doesn't create another issue!        🤔

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9 minutes ago, Peter Drew said:

Careful that this doesn't create another issue!        🤔

Are you assuming the OP is male ? I've no idea if they are or not.

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Thanks again. Unfortunately it looks like we might not be getting anywhere. Environmental health phoned. The guy was really lovely and sympathetic but says the legislation is clear that it’s only really for light shining in windows etc. Same with noise - has to be how it bothers you inside the house, not the garden. So although it says a nuisance in your property, it means in the home. Speaking to his wife won’t make any difference as she had resolved it until he stepped in and she’s obviously just stood aside and let him deal with it. Tbh I think that’s part of his issue with me - I think he’s one of these men that doesn’t like strong willed women...he called me a control freak which was really nice when I’ve been nothing but amicable and tried to find a solution that means we both get to enjoy our gardens how we wish. He’s got two daughters as well -  so setting a great example. Environmental health is sending a letter. I figured once the name calling started next door had burnt his bridges and there’s no harm seeing if a letter would make any difference. It will be advising that they’ve had a report and asking them to reconsider if their lighting options are the best for their needs but that’s as much as he can do. He says they get a surprisingly decent response but I’m not hopeful. 
 

Unfortunately I think the lunar/solar observing might be my limit and a dark skies trip might be on the cards for anything else like you’ve said Alan. :( 
 

Do I have any other options? My dad said something about a tent? I’ll go out tonight and take a photo so you can see what I’m dealing with and maybe make suggestions.

 

We got a movie projector for the garden a few months back and have a managed to set up our Bose speakers for decent sound. Were out for my youngest’s 5th birthday last month and I checked with neighbour if it was too loud. Won’t be doing that again. I’m so [removed word] off today at all the times I’ve gone out my way to be considerate - not listening to music in the garden when the suns out and they’re out, not letting the kids make too much noise in the garden past 6.30 when their wee ones go down, holding off lighting the bbq until they bring their washing in. I feel like such a mug going out of my way to be decent and then I get treated like this. Lesson learned.

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13 minutes ago, Soloula said:

Thanks again. Unfortunately it looks like we might not be getting anywhere. Environmental health phoned. The guy was really lovely and sympathetic but says the legislation is clear that it’s only really for light shining in windows etc. Same with noise - has to be how it bothers you inside the house, not the garden. So although it says a nuisance in your property, it means in the home. Speaking to his wife won’t make any difference as she had resolved it until he stepped in and she’s obviously just stood aside and let him deal with it. Tbh I think that’s part of his issue with me - I think he’s one of these men that doesn’t like strong willed women...he called me a control freak which was really nice when I’ve been nothing but amicable and tried to find a solution that means we both get to enjoy our gardens how we wish. He’s got two daughters as well -  so setting a great example. Environmental health is sending a letter. I figured once the name calling started next door had burnt his bridges and there’s no harm seeing if a letter would make any difference. It will be advising that they’ve had a report and asking them to reconsider if their lighting options are the best for their needs but that’s as much as he can do. He says they get a surprisingly decent response but I’m not hopeful. 
 

Unfortunately I think the lunar/solar observing might be my limit and a dark skies trip might be on the cards for anything else like you’ve said Alan. :( 
 

Do I have any other options? My dad said something about a tent? I’ll go out tonight and take a photo so you can see what I’m dealing with and maybe make suggestions.

 

We got a movie projector for the garden a few months back and have a managed to set up our Bose speakers for decent sound. Were out for my youngest’s 5th birthday last month and I checked with neighbour if it was too loud. Won’t be doing that again. I’m so [removed word] off today at all the times I’ve gone out my way to be considerate - not listening to music in the garden when the suns out and they’re out, not letting the kids make too much noise in the garden past 6.30 when their wee ones go down, holding off lighting the bbq until they bring their washing in. I feel like such a mug going out of my way to be decent and then I get treated like this. Lesson learned.

That's a shame. My (nice) neighbour was quick to do something about the hideous , colour changing, solar LED monstrosity which was washing my garden with a sickly blue/green/pink sequence of light ... it was due to her adult son coming home to shield during lockdown,  spending his days browsing ebay and his cash on tat. It was as if a part of Blackpool's illuminations had broken away and landed, and I was very annoyed for a couple of days (and nights) until I managed a calm and friendly chat over the fence , after which they shifted the main offending thing so it pollutes the garden opposite instead of mine.

I'd done some research before the happy resolution , and considered the moveable screens some people have built from plastic plumbing pipe ( you could do a 2 in one and make it a screen for outdoor movie watching too ) or a washing line & tarpaulin rig, or even a cheap gazebo frame with the cover removed and tarps tied on as walls ... or to really annoy the neighbours, there's always the leylandi option ...

Here's some ideas I saw https://www.cloudynights.com/topic/432511-on-blocking-neighborhood-lights/

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I built my observing area screened patch, that improves things a lot, but not fully.
But I did get my astro mojo back at home by doing this.
 


 

Edited by Alan White
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2 hours ago, Soloula said:

We got a movie projector for the garden a few months back and have a managed to set up our Bose speakers for decent sound. Were out for my youngest’s 5th birthday last month and I checked with neighbour if it was too loud. Won’t be doing that again. I’m so [removed word] off today at all the times I’ve gone out my way to be considerate - not listening to music in the garden when the suns out and they’re out, not letting the kids make too much noise in the garden past 6.30 when their wee ones go down, holding off lighting the bbq until they bring their washing in. I feel like such a mug going out of my way to be decent and then I get treated like this. Lesson learned.

Anytime they're having a backyard get together, pop over the fence top and say "Hi!".  I did that with a neighbor who got so mad he threatened to beat me if I did it again.  I asked him to repeat his threat while I recorded it with my phone.  He backed down realizing that was assault, plain and simple, under US laws.  As long as I'm on my side of the fence, there's nothing he can do to stop me from interrupting his get-togethers with a friendly "Howdy neighbor!".

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17 hours ago, Alan White said:

Good luck with this, its very common as is the poor response by neighbours.
My dear neighbour was very impolite and abusive although I was all polite and remained very calm,
the light shining in the bedrooms was resolved via involving the council, the 16 light into the sky were not however!

I now enjoy lunar and solar observing and double stars from home, anything else really needs a darker sky trip sadly.

In answer to your comment 'Why do people behave like this',
well its because they are selfish, care for no one else or anything else other than themselves.
 

Same here Alan.  The newish neighbour has put in a monstrous conservatory (no blinds) and an orange light down the garden to light his way to it.  As if that wasn't enough, he has also erected three swinging lanterns.  The glare from all this is awful.  I mentioned it to him politely, and he desisted with the orange glare for a while, but now it's on again.  

Thoughtless, inconsiderate, ignorant.  🙁

Doug.

Also - the council will only act if the light trespass impacts on the house, not on my pastime!

Edited by cloudsweeper
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2 hours ago, Tiny Clanger said:

Are you assuming the OP is male ? I've no idea if they are or not.

Ooops, apologies to the OP!       🙂

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@soluara.  Moon, planets, double stars and solar won't be much affected and I would recommend that you continue to do this as it will demonstrate that the neighbour has not "won".  Also, continue with your considerate approach however tempting it is to fight back, it maintains your high moral ground and the long term effect of this can often work in your favour.  Good luck.     🙂

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