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Protecting Cumbria's dark skies

  • Barraclough Fold and stars
Apr 26, 2022

A collaboration between Thorn Lighting and Cumbria County Council

Cumbria County Council has teamed up with Thorn Lighting to install innovative technologies and solutions that reduce light pollution and help to protect the nocturnal environment.

Installed at different locations throughout the county in the north of England, from seaside communities, rural villages and bustling towns, the lighting has a multitude of benefits, from promoting safety and security, unlocking dark sky economies and importantly, reducing the impact of artificial lighting at night. 

Cumbria County Council has a good relationship with Friends of the Lake District, a charitable organisation dedicated to protecting and enhancing the Lake District and Cumbrian Landscapes, and decided to lead the way in using dark-sky friendly lighting, which includes Thorn's EP145 lantern and the Plurio post-top luminaire. 

Ian Harker, Cumbria County Council’s Lighting Manager said, “Cumbria has some of the darkest skies in Great Britain, and we are custodians of both the night sky and the world-class environment here. So we realise that in the work we do, we need to be careful and mindful that we don’t have a negative impact. We have a strong relationship with Friends of the Lake District, and after discussions with the team at Thorn Lighting, were confident that these innovative technologies and solutions were fitting for our county. We’ve had a lot of positive feedback from residents, including reports of returning nocturnal wildlife, including larger bats feeding in Kendal’s Cliff Terrace.”

“For other councils or organisations looking to protect their dark skies and enhance their urban spaces through lighting, I’d say innovative technology is the key to unlocking a better service for our residents and visitors. All of the luminaires which have been installed as part of this project have the International Dark-Skies Association Fixture Seal of Approval, which is evidence of their ability to suit our dark-sky environment. The important thing is to get to know your communities and the people you are providing the service to. So you need to talk and be able to listen, and importantly, be open to new ideas.”

Thorn Lighting’s Key Account Manager Craig Lensky, who worked closely with Cumbria County Council’s Lighting Team throughout the project added, “Our advice for others wanting to carry out a project like this, is to do the research. Speak to the people who are familiar to the nocturnal habitat in the place you want to light, and then tailor a solution that benefits everyone and everything.”

To protect dark skies, Thorn are also collaborating with the International Dark-Sky Association (IDA), to make sure that inherent in Thorn’s brand DNA are all the attributes that need to be followed to meet the regulations to limit light pollution, in the form of light spill, sky glow and light trespass.

Thorn’s Head of Application for Urban Life & Architectural, Eliot Horsman said, “We approach dark sky sensitive solutions not just from a post-top luminaire point of view, but also from wider luminaire families, appropriate for building surrounds as well.”

To find out more about this project in Cumbria, watch the video here: https://youtu.be/Vbgdytscg7A


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