Join the Commission for Dark Skies
The Commission for Dark Skies: who are we?
The CfDS is a small group of people who are very concerned with the rapid increase of light pollution in the UK. The Campaign has hundreds of members nationwide, from a wide range of disciplines. The majority of members are astronomers, but membership also includes lighting engineers, lawyers, biologists and environmentalists.
Why should I join the Commission for Dark Skies?
If you want to see an end to the tremendous waste that is light pollution, then you should join the CfDS! The Campaign has achieved tremendous success in raising awareness of the problems caused by light pollution, thanks to a very small number of dedicated campaigners. But to increase our impact, we need more members working at the local level.
Light pollution can only be reduced by local CfDS members, since all planning guidelines and enforcements are carried out by local councils. It is highly unlikely that a CfDS local officer based in London would be able to influence planning controls in Edinburgh, and vice versa!
What do members do?
- Raise awareness with politicians
Members raise awareness of the problems caused by light pollution, and try to minimise those problems through campaigning, both locally and nationally. This ranges from writing to the local councillors and Government officials, to objecting to developments that will cause unacceptable (and usually, unnecessary) amounts of light pollution.
In early 2008, the CfDS carried out an on-line survey. Out of the 550 respondents who were suffering from light pollution, over 72% had not made any complaint about their situation. Because of the low number of people complaining about light pollution, local councillors and MPs often assume that light pollution is not a major problem in their area.
- Raise objections to light polluting developments
Many new developments generate large amounts of light pollution into the natural environment - sports facilities are some of the most over-lit and severe examples (e.g. golf driving ranges, horse racing, etc). Members of the Commission for Dark Skies are often the first to highlight the dangers of such bad lighting schemes.
At the moment, few people are objecting to such environmental damage (e.g. a local council in Leicestershire received only 3 complaints about a golf driving range whose lights could be seen for 15 miles), and so such developments are allowed. We need your help to ensure such venues use efficient lighting instead.
- Offer advice
CfDS members are often approached for advice about how to minimise light-pollution. Don't worry if you are unsure about any particular aspect of light pollution yourself - just email the CfDS news-group to ask for advice. CfDS members act as a contact point between those who may know little about light pollution and need advice, and the more experienced campaigners.
- Represent local interest groups
The Commission for Dark Skies helps advise a wide range of people on the harmful effects of bad lighting. If your local interest group is interested in the subject, please get in touch. We also recommend that you nominate a member to be your group's representative in the Commission for Dark Skies, who would monitor the CfDS newsgroup, and so would be able to alert the rest of your group to relevant activities. For example, if you are a member of a local bat conservation group, you will want to know if new research is published about the effect of lighting on bats, or if another member of the CfDS has noticed lighting being installed in your area that might have a detrimental effect on the local bat population.
So why not join us?!
You can join us free of charge. The most valuable asset that you can donate to the Commission for Dark Skies is your time!
However, please do consider making a donation to the Campaign, as it will help cover our costs (such as printing, postage, conference attendance, etc). The twice-yearly newsletters are available from BAA headquarters and cost £3.00 for 4 issues.
To subscribe to our newsletter or make a donation, simply send a cheque payable to the British Astronomical Association to the co-ordinator at Bob Mizon, CfDS, 38 The Vineries, Colehill, Wimborne BH21 2PX, or email the co-ordinator via this website.