The results of Star Count 2023, released today by CPRE, the countryside charity, find only five percent of people can enjoy the wonder of a truly dark starry sky. 

Almost 4,000 people took part in this year’s Star Count, the country’s biggest annual citizen science project of its kind, from 17-24 February. Participants were asked to report the number of stars they could see with the naked eye in the Orion constellation.

The results show that, for just over half the population, their view of the night sky remains obscured by severe light pollution. The proportion experiencing ‘truly dark skies’ and ‘very severe light pollution’ – the best and worst categories – both increased by two percent. 

How is the Suffolk Preservation Society responding?

  • SPS is supporting CPRE’s campaign for stronger local and national planning policy to combat light pollution.
  • The National Planning Policy Framework, where these policies are decided, is currently under review. SPS has called for the updated policies to include an emphasis on the need to avoid light pollution and protect dark skies.
  • We are also supporting the Dedham Vale Society’s bid for dark sky reserve status – read about this project within the Dedham Vale AONB in our latest Suffolk View magazine.

The night sky is becoming increasingly obscured by artificial light. Sadly, this means most people in the UK can’t see many stars at all, especially if they live near a big town or city. Yet, it’s a form of pollution that has been allowed to grow for years without any significant effort being made to control the damage it’s causing to people, nature and the environment.  Tom Fyans, interim CEO of CPRE, the countryside charity

A strong approach is needed by local councils to manage light pollution, by ensuring local planning and street lighting policies protect dark skies and intrinsically dark landscapes in their areas. We’re also calling for minimum standards to be introduced nationally for the management of external lighting to cut light pollution. Emma Marrington, landscape enhancement lead at CPRE, the countryside charity