Flintshire Council adopts new planning guidance to save starry skies
Flintshire Council is adopting new planning guidance to ensure there is no new light pollution to spoil the night sky of local beauty spots.
The guidance covers design and development within the Clwydian Range and Dee Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).
At the monthly meeting of Flintshire Council’s cabinet, chief planning officer Andrew Farrow explained that Wrexham and Denbighshire were also asked to adopt the guidance.
It means that potential light pollution in the night sky is given significant weight as a factor to consider when Flintshire’s planning committee decides on applications in AONB areas.
A report to councillors stated: “As part of seeking general agreement from each authority that make up the AONB, agreement is now sought on the adoption of further detailed guidance on ways in which new development can help avoid light pollution in the AONB.
“Planning for Dark Night Skies, gives the public, landowners, members, council officers and developers, detailed advice on why light pollution should be avoided and practical ways on how to do that.
“The night sky is amazing to see, and one way of delivering this is through the formal recognition of the area as a ‘Dark Sky Community’.
“To achieve this status it is necessary for the AONB to reduce light pollution. Planning for dark night skies is a SPGN for lighting in the AONB which will support that aim.”
He said: “It’s been adopted already by Denbighshire, it sits nicely with our Local Development Plan, it guides development with respect to light pollution within the AONB itself.
“Light pollution doesn’t respect the AONB boundary’s so if there are developments which may be producing light pollution adjacent to the AONB boundary it will be a material consideration as well.”
Cabinet member for climate change and the economy, Caergwrle Cllr Dave Healey (Lab) expressed his enthusiasm for the policy.
“I welcome this”, he said.
“It’s not just about being able to see the stars and it’s not just for the benefit of nocturnal animals, it is something that also impacts on the wellbeing of insects that are part of the food chain of other species higher up.
“It’s about wellbeing and biodiversity generally and that is something I think we can applaud.”
The guidance was also welcomed by Holywell West Cllr Paul Johnson (Lab), who added: “It’s nice to see the humanity shining through in this report which I think will improve people’s lives in so many different ways.”
The cabinet voted to adopt the extra guidance as part of the council’s planning policies.
By Rory Sheehan – Local Democracy Reporter (more here). Spotted something? Got a story? Send a Facebook Message | A direct message on Twitter | Email: News@Deeside.com