Only one in 20 of us can enjoy a starry sky, Star Count results find - CPRE

Most of us don’t get to see a truly dark sky, our data shows | Joshua Earle / Unsplash
Most of us don’t get to see a truly dark sky, our data shows | Joshua Earle / Unsplash

Our 2023 Star Count was one of our biggest yet, with almost 4,000 people taking part! But the results suggest that only 5% of people can enjoy the wonder of a truly dark starry sky.

Although the beauty of a starry night sky is one of the joys of the countryside, our Star Count 2023 results show that, sadly, most people can’t easily enjoy that sight because of light pollution where they live. Three-quarters of people in the UK have an obscured view of the night sky.

Severe light pollution

Star Count is the country’s biggest annual citizen science project of its kind, and took place this year from 17-24 February. Participants reported the number of stars they could see with the naked eye in the Orion constellation.

But the results show that, for just over half the population, severe light pollution obscures their view of the night sky. The number of people experiencing ‘truly dark skies’ or ‘very severe light pollution’ – the best and worst categories – both increased a little from last year (2%).

Emma Marrington, CPRE’s landscape enhancement lead, said:

‘It’s great that so many people took part in Star Count this year. What is clear is that light pollution continues to affect people’s experience of the night sky. Action is needed now!

‘Local councils need a strong approach to manage light pollution. They should ensure local planning and street lighting policies protect dark skies and intrinsically dark landscapes in their areas. We’re also calling for the introduction of minimum standards nationally, to manage external lighting and help cut light pollution.

‘This would be a hugely important step towards strengthened planning to ensure we get well-designed lighting that is only used when and where it is needed. This would protect our existing dark skies for the benefit of current and future generations.’

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Posted On: 27/04/2023

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