Presteigne Dark Skies aims to put lighting design at the forefront of transforming Presteigne into the first International Dark Skies Association Dark Sky Community in England and Wales. This will be done by using intelligent and sustainable lighting technology.
Lighting accounts for nearly 6% of the global CO2 emissions and 20% of the electricity used worldwide. Besides blighting the view of the night sky, inefficient lighting wastes over £1bn a year in the UK alone. Light pollution has drastic effects on the environment and well-being of all humans, animals and plants. For example, Presteigne is home to the endangered Lesser Horseshoe Bat (Rhinolophus hipposideros), which adversely changes its feeding patterns in response to bright street-lights. Lighting alters our perception of the night and blocks our access to our oldest heritage, the stars.
The town’s night-time ambience and its residents suffer from Presteigne’s excessive and outdated lighting scheme. Many complain about light nuisance. The good news is, with the help of the Town Council, Powys County Council have agreed to replace all street-lighting in Presteigne with new low energy ‘dark skies compliant’ lighting, starting in April 2021. As a preamble to this, a demonstration of new ‘intelligent’ dark skies lighting took place in the vicinity of Broad Street and the High Street in March 21.
The Town Council aims to use a holistic approach to address several issues with the help of a new lighting masterplan. By employing the latest lighting and control technology, Presteigne will be able to reduce energy waste and reduce our impact on climate change, become wildlife friendly and an exemplary Dark Sky destination. It will rejuvenate Presteigne’s night-time ambience and economy by attracting visitors interested in the dark sky experience.
The Presteigne dark skies street lighting trial has now been running for about a month. If you would like to let the Town Council have your views, email Presteigne and Norton Town Council on firstname.lastname@example.org.
A video has been produced which illustrates Presteigne’s dark skies masterplan, see: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6TqShuiTvx0&t=11s
If you would like to help Presteigne achieve International Dark Skies Community status, a crowdfunding site has been set up, see: https://uk.gofundme.com/f/qsv9n-presteigne-dark-sky-masterplan