Flamsteed Astronomy Society

Bob Mizon is Coordinator of the BAA Campaign for Dark Skies (CfDS) and Vice-chair of the Wessex Astro Society in Dorset.  Bob runs a travelling planetarium ‘for fun’ and reckons he has entertained 62,000 school kids since 1996!  He lives in Child Oakford Dorset, which he shares with Sooty & Sweep.

CfDS was founded in 1989 and Bob has been coordinator for the last 11 years.  He clearly brings total focus and great energy to the role, and, although it’s a labour of Hercules, it looks like he is beginning to have some success.

Nobody in the campaign advocates a return to the ‘dark ages’.  Bob argues eloquently that the campaign aim is “the right amount of light only where needed”. 

Light pollution spread in the UK — 1993 (L) and 2000: CPRE

There is now nowhere in England where it’s possible to view the night skies as our distant ancestor saw them and light pollution has been spreading (see CPRE map above).  Robbing future generations of the glories of the night sky is almost the least of the consequences.  Bob presented compelling arguments showing how all too often, today’s lighting systems have widespread damaging effects —

Light trespass: thousands of homes are blighted by glare from poorly designed lighting, often now in sports installations

Glare & Safety:  Excessive light creates dangerous situations for pedestrians and motorists

Clutter & Confusion:  Security lighting often has the opposite effect.  Glare blinds watchers and hides wrongdoers.  Burglars are not deterred by the fear of being seen.

Energy waste:  Millions are spent in pointlessly illuminating the sky

Wildlife:  the lives of thousands of nocturnal species are being disrupted.  Glow-worms and bats and birds are all being severely impacted to the point of failing to breed.

CO2 pollution:  A 100W bulb left burning needlessly for a year will create a quarter-tonne of CO2!!

Much of today’s waste and damage is needless.  Excessive power is unnecessary and much better alternatives are available to poorly designed lights (notably globe lights).  Simple re-direction of light downwards, or re-positioning of light fittings can make a big difference.

Bournemouth & Poole

Bob must be the world’s most patient and persistent person.  For almost 11 years he was banging his head on a brick wall.  Words fell on def-ra ears.  (Please forgive the mixed metaphor).  But he can now talk with some justifiable pride, about progress.  The situation on UK motorways and main roads has improved significantly:   FCO (full cut-off lighting which directs light properly downwards to where it’s needed) has been widely deployed.  Most importantly, in 2003 the Commons Select Committee on Science & Technology took a long look at the issue and their report backs the CfDS recommendations 110 percent!

The recent Queen’s Speech announced that the 2005 Environment Bill will make light pollution a statutory nuisance, as has been the case for some time with noise pollution.

Well done CfDS!!


In conclusion, Bob chides that the thousands of amateur astronomers in this country do little to help themselves.  If we all took up the verbal cudgel then the profile of the campaign would be enhanced significantly.   Lots of help is available.  Contact the CfDS local coordinators listed in the website.  Our own Martin Male is on the CfDS committee.


Mike Dryland

Dark Skies Developments

Bob Mizon  January 4, 2005