Nuisance provisions of the Public Health etc (Scotland) Act 2008: guidance

Procedural guidance on the statutory nuisance provisions outlined in the Public Health etc. (Scotland) Act 2008.


Macy cases of potential light nuisance can be remedied by changing the light specification, relocating the offending light, by readjusting its aim or by fitting a screen to control the spread of light. The following summarises some of the impacts of changes to lighting schemes:-





Design Impact

Mounting Height

Increase height

Reduce height

Less spill

Simple shielding

Less glare

Less conspicuous in the day

More conspicuous in the day

More spill

Difficult to shield

More glare

Narrow beams

Downward aiming

Smaller lamps

Wider beams

Upward aiming

Set Back



Less spill

Simple shielding

More spill

Difficult to shield

Narrow beams

Higher aiming

Wider beams

Lower aiming

Luminous flux output



More efficient

More spill

Less efficient

Higher mounting

Fewer luminaries

Reduced Control

More luminaries

Increased control

Beam type



Controls spill

Reduced shielding

More luminaries

Reduces containment

Difficult to shield

Allows good directivity

Limited directivity

Distance from Property



Reduced spill impact

Simple shielding

Isolation from receptor

Increased spill

Difficult shielding

Less effect on receptor

Need good light control

Vertical aiming angle



Less spill

Lamp less visible

Simple shielding

More spill

More visible lamp

Difficult to shield

Higher vertical illuminance

High horizontal illuminance

Low vertical illuminance

Simple spill control

A copy of the Guidance Notes for the Reduction of Obtrusive Light by the Institution of Lighting Engineers ( ILE) 2005 [] is reproduced at Annex 1 of this Appendix..

In addition to this guidance there is useful guidance provided in CIE Publication 150:2003 Guide on the limitation of the effects of obtrusive light from outdoor lighting installations Published by the "International Commission on Illumination ( CIE).

One of the key control methods for minimizing the impact of new or substantially changed lighting schemes is through planning controls. Planning conditions may cover such matters as:

  • hours of illumination;
  • light levels;
  • column heights;
  • specification and colour treatment for lamps and luminaires;
  • the need for full horizontal cut-off;
  • no distraction to the highway;
  • levels of impact on nearby dwellings;
  • use of demountable columns;
  • retention of screening vegetation;
  • use of planting and bunding to contain lighting effects;
  • erection of demonstration luminaires; and
  • review of lighting impacts after installation.


Email: Central Enquiries Unit

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