Explosion in holiday lets is strangling rural communities, new CPRE research shows

Thanet’s attractive coastline has made it an attractive proposition for the growing Airbnb industry

 A surge in the number of homes marketed for Airbnb-style short-term lets is crippling the residential rentals market, new research shows.
The problem is most acute in staycation hotspots, where hundreds of homes previously available to rent to local people have been switched to short-stay holiday rentals. The worsening housing crisis – which is particularly acute in rural areas – has seen thousands of families added to social-housing waiting lists.
A steep decline in the number of new social-housing projects completed since 2013 is compounding the problem. 
That is why CPRE, the countryside charity, is calling for tighter controls on second-home ownership, including higher council tax on second homes and the requirement for short-term lets to have planning permission.
Additionally, the definition of ‘affordable’ must be changed in national planning policy, with rents being tied to local incomes rather than market prices. To level up our rural communities, changes to planning law and policy should be committed to in the government’s forthcoming Planning Bill, requiring at least one new genuinely affordable home for every market home built.
Alex Macintyre, 37, from Plymouth, was evicted by her landlord because he would make more money listing her flat on Airbnb.
“I lived in my last flat for five years until the landlord decided to renovate and do the place up to perfection so he could rent it out on Airbnb,” said Alex.
“Plymouth has become a city of holiday lets. Fewer homes available for residents means higher rents, and people being priced out of their local areas in search of a home. That erodes local communities and starves local businesses of workers. The only people who benefit are the landlords.”
In many areas, social-housing waiting lists could be drastically reduced or even eliminated if the number of properties advertised for short-term let were available for local families instead, the analysis shows.

•          In Cornwall, which saw short-term listings grow 661 per cent in the five years to September 2021, there are some 15,000 families on social-housing waiting lists and the same number of properties being marketed as holiday lets

•          In South Lakeland, which saw a 1,231 per cent increase in short-term listings between 2016-20, about half the families in need of social housing could be accommodated in properties exclusively available for holiday rentals

•          In Cumbria, a 4 per cent decline in the number of privately-rented properties coincided with a 14 pe cent increase in families on social-housing waiting lists since 2016

•          In Devon, short-term lets appear to be worsening an existing housing crisis, with almost 4,000 homes taken out of private rent and 11,000 added to short-term listings since 2016

Crispin Truman, chief executive of CPRE, the countryside charity, said: “Across our most traditional rural communities, from the beaches of Cornwall to the lakes of Cumbria, homes that used to be rented to local families sit empty for much of the year.
“More people are pushed on to social-housing waiting lists, which have been stretched to breaking point by years of underinvestment. Hard-working people are suffering and they will not easily forgive a government that promised to level them up if it leaves them falling through the cracks of a broken system.
“It’s clear the government needs to act fast to avert a growing housing crisis. With the cost of living set to hammer people’s finances in the coming year, this is a problem that’s quickly getting out of hand. There simply has to be a government response to the fact that our rural-housing supply is disappearing into an unregulated short-term rentals market that simply didn’t exist six years ago.
“Ministers must introduce tighter controls on second-home ownership, including higher council tax on second homes and the requirement for short-term lets to have planning permission.”
Separate analysis by CPRE found the demand for social housing was growing almost six times faster than the rate of supply in rural areas. At current rates, the backlog of low-income families needing accommodation would take 121 years to clear.
Figures show 8,898 households were added to social-housing waiting lists in 88 rural local authority areas between 2019-20, the last year for which figures are available, with just 1,453 social homes delivered. In total, 176,058 rural families were waiting for accommodation in 2020, up from 167,160 in 2019. 
Selaine Saxby, Conservative MP for North Devon, said: “We need to make the long-term rental market more sustainable and attractive. We cannot rely on building ever more homes if they are not going to be lived in by local residents.
“Our excellent housing associations in North Devon do great work in building modern affordable homes, but they will not be able to keep up with demand if the balance between short-term and long-term private rental markets is not restored.”

Monday, January 17, 2022

Back into the light: the memorial to CPRE Kent champion Cyril Chettoe

Cyril Chettoe was chairman of the Campaign for the Preservation of Rural Kent, a forerunner to CPRE Kent

One of the Kent countryside’s greatest champions was honoured in the summer through the unveiling of a new memorial.
Cyril Chettoe was chairman of the Campaign for the Preservation of Rural Kent – a forerunner to CPRE Kent – and a memorial in the form of a tablet on a stone with trees planted around it had been placed at Hubbards Hill on the Greensand Way overlooking Weald village after his death in 1963.
With the passing of the years, the stone became almost hidden by surrounding undergrowth and the Sevenoaks committee took on the task of creating a more permanent memorial.
With the help of Weald Parish Council, undergrowth was cleared, a new plaque was erected and on Wednesday, July 7, a ceremony took place where John Wotton, chairman of CPRE Kent, unveiled it.
Nigel Britten, chairman of Sevenoaks CPRE, described how the right solution had been found, for which he thanked Dr Susan Pittman, the committee’s secretary, who had designed the memorial. He then introduced the CPRE Kent chairman, who paid warm tribute to Cyril:
“He was a dedicated supporter of CPRE, chaired the Kent branch and is credited with its revival. Whether he was one of our founding members in 1929, when he was in his mid-30s, is not recorded in our archives, but if he was living in Kent at the time it is quite likely that he was.
“He evidently had broad historical and environmental interests, as the list of his activities on the memorial demonstrates, reflecting the range of considerations we have to bear in mind when we seek to protect the countryside.
“These include landscape and natural beauty, archaeology, the historic built environment, care for our country towns and rural villages, the natural environment and biodiversity, housing, infrastructure, sustainable transport and combatting climate change.
“Cyril Chettoe concerned himself with many of these issues, through the organisations he supported, in particular CPRE Kent.
“If he is to be credited with our revival under his active chairmanship, then we indeed have cause to be grateful and I hope that, if he were to see CPRE Kent at work now, he would be gratified and feel that his efforts were worthwhile.”
Cyril was a busy man and, aside from being heavily involved in CPRK, was also founder of the Sevenoaks and District Civic Society (later to become the Sevenoaks Society) and chairman from 1945 until he died. David Green, the present chairman, was present at the ceremony and also paid tribute.
A civil engineer by trade, with special talents in bridge-building, Cyril had worked for both the Ministry of Transport and Ministry of Health, while he was involved in the routeing of the Sevenoaks bypass, which you might know better as the A21.
It was perhaps in the 1950s that his contribution to planning in his hometown of Sevenoaks was most marked as he battled to ensure protection of its most historically and architecturally valuable buildings.
While that town has special reason to celebrate Cyril Chettoe and his work, his love of Kent – its countryside and built environment alike – gives us all reason to be grateful.

The new memorial highlights the wide and varied interests of Cyril Chettoe
The original plaque was showing signs of wear
CPRE Kent chairman John Wotton, left, and Sevenoaks CPRE chairman Nigel Britten both spoke at the ceremony

Tuesday, December 28, 2021

Happy Christmas from all at CPRE Kent

Well, that was a year!
It was of course tough on many for any number of reasons, but the Covid-19 pandemic has continued to dominate proceedings and our thoughts go to those who suffered personal loss.Through it all, CPRE Kent has been here fighting to keep our county special and we thank everyone who has been alongside us to give their support.
Now, though, it’s time to share time with our loved ones and perhaps even take a well-earned breather… Happy Christmas!  

Thursday, December 23, 2021

More than 30 groups join Kent’s Day of Action

They came from Cliffe, they came from Eccles, they came from Tunbridge Wells, they came from Folkestone, they came from Thanet… north, south, east and west, they came from across the county to join Kent’s Day of Action.
More than 1,000 people gathered on Sunday, November 28, for the Save Kent’s Green Spaces protest organised by Dave Lovell. All were expressing their anger and upset over the loss of so much countryside to development.
The turnout of more than 30 groups on a bitingly cold day was an extraordinary result, especially given the short notice of the event.
Mr Lovell, who had been so involved with the Save Capel group, said: “At least 30 groups came out, some of them joining up together. Most sent us photos and many of these have placed in a digital photo album.”
Highlighting the staggering onslaught facing Kent in the coming years, Mr Lovell said: “We’ve estimated that 17,000 acres are under threat of widespread development – an area larger than Manhattan Island – but we know that’s nowhere near the true figure and that is scary.   
“The figures don’t cover just housing – they include solar farms, for example. And there’s the concern that those solar farms are the thin end of the wedge, paving the way for housing that will theoretically get its power from them. They can be a trigger for further development, which is happening around Capel [near Tunbridge Wells].”
Sadly, many reading this will concur wholeheartedly with Mr Lovell’s view that “there is a huge scale of destruction coming like nothing we’ve seen before”.
“This counting of the destruction of countryside is not being done by councils – no one is actually counting how much is being lost,” he added.
He was understandably delighted that so many people came out: “It was a fantastic response. Anyone can put ‘likes’ or emojis on social media – it’s much harder to get feet on the ground.
“When we started this, we had no idea what the response would be. But on the day itself we were sitting in the pub after our walk and the phones were going ballistic as the pictures came in. Then we had an idea of what we had achieved.”

  • You can see the Day of Action photo album here
  • For more on this story, see here and here

Wednesday, December 15, 2021

… and finally we got to party

CPRE Kent director Hilary Newport hands over a prize to lucky Geoff Meaden

Well, who doesn’t like a Christmas party?
Last year, of course, we at CPRE Kent – like so many others – were not able to meet friends and colleagues for a festive gathering due to Covid-19 restrictions, so this year’s event seemed all the more uplifting.
Our Christmas lunch at The Wagon & Horses near Charing on Friday last week (December 3) was a joy as members, supporters and staff joined to eat a sumptuous meal and – if they were ultra-lucky – take home gifts from the raffle.
Let’s hope we can all do it again next year – seeya there!

Wednesday, December 8, 2021    

Christmas (and the Santa hat) comes but once a year
After a difficult couple of years, the laughing faces were a welcome sight
CPRE Kent chairman John Wotton addresses the merry throng

Good to see you again! Members meet in person for AGM at familiar venue… and we were on YouTube too!

The front bench… director Hilary Newport and, from left, patron Sir Robert Worcester, treasurer Mike Moore and chairman John Wotton

This year’s AGM was notable perhaps as much as anything for the fact that members were able to join us in person at Lenham Community Centre.

After holding last year’s event in virtual form, using Zoom technology, it was good to get back to our regular venue and catch up with CPRE Kent friends, as well as deal with the more formal matters.

The ongoing Covid-19 pandemic meant some chose not to join us, so a YouTube link was set up for them to follow proceedings, vote and ask questions – 21 people used that option. With 24 signing in at Lenham, along with five staff members, we hit the half-century on the nail – a wholly creditable effort given still-trying circumstances.

County director Hilary Newport delivered her annual report, chairman John Wotton gave his take on affairs and Lee Dance, head of water resources at South East Water, gave a speech entitled Can Nature Based Solutions help with our Water Challenges?.

As ever, a delightful lunch and cheery conversation rounded off another wholly successful AGM.

We will publish the AGM minutes on this website in due course.

It was great to be back at Lenham…

Tuesday, December 7, 2021

Sick and tired of overdevelopment in Kent? Then join Sunday’s Day of Action

How much more development can Kent take?
With the county subjected to increasingly crazy levels of housebuilding, a protest has been planned for people sick of the ongoing destruction of their natural environment.
The Day of Action on Sunday (November 28) will involve groups across Kent marching, walking or just plain meeting up to demonstrate their anger and upset over the loss of so much countryside to an incessant barrage of housebuilding schemes.
The Save Kent’s Green Spaces protest was put together by Dave Lovell, who had previously been involved with the Save Capel group battling plans by Tunbridge Wells Borough Council for 2,800 new houses at Tudeley and another 1,500 at East Capel.
“We are essentially an umbrella group and hope to guide others in their lawful protest. We had also always intended that individuals who did not have a campaign to align to could get involved and we are now opening up to them, as well as others who might not be able to make it on the day,” said Mr Lovell.
“We’re trying to ratchet up the political pressure and get Boris Johnson to put his words on protecting green fields into practice.
“With the National Planning Policy Framework a toothless machine, we would like to see it become advantageous for housebuilding to be on brownfield land, including the repurposing of existing buildings, and disadvantageous for it to be targeted at greenfield land.”
At the time of writing, 29 groups across Kent had signed up for the Day of Action. Among them are Save our Heathlands, who will be walking along the North Downs from Lenham Cross to Cherry Downs; Sittingbourne’s Rural Protection Group; Westgate & Garlinge Action Group in Thanet; and Farms, Fields and Fresh Air, Faversham, who will be taking a poignant route from a food hall to the fields being put up for development by Prince Charles.
Supporters who join the walks or simply do their own thing are encouraged to take photographs of threatened sites and post them on Facebook or Twitter using the hashtag #SaveKentsGreenSpaces or email them, with their details, to savekentsgreenspaces@gmail.com
Mr Lovell said: “From the contributions and messages we’ve already had, we’ve estimated that more than 15,300 acres are set to be lost to the proposed housing developments that we know of – but there are far more out there.
“We’re not saying the figure represents scientific analysis, even though it’s been checked by a statistician, but it’s a fair estimate. I am also not aware of any form of cumulative impact assessment that might be in place for what seems a huge loss of green space, agricultural land and wildlife habitat.
“If the day is successful – and with so many groups taking part we are confident it will be – we hope that other counties will follow suit.”

  • To learn more or to take part in the Day of Action, whether as a part of an organised group or as an individual, please visit the Save Kent’s Green Spaces Facebook page here or email savekentsgreenspaces@gmail.com

Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Join us at Ebbsfleet for this month’s netwalking event

There are some wonderful natural habitats to enjoy in the Swanscombe area (pic Paul Buckley)

You are warmly invited to this month’s netwalking event, which will take place in Ebbsfleet this week, on Friday, November 26, at 10am.
Places are strictly limited to 15 walkers – if you would like to attend, please complete the form here and email it to julie.davies@cprekent.org.uk
We have a 4.5-mile walk planned, which will take us through the dirt tracks and footways of Ebbsfleet on a route taking about two and a half hours – it includes a section that will take us up 82 steps (with resting places).
Please note: this walk be undertaken at your own risk. We’ll ensure we have forward and back markers, so you can walk at a pace that’s comfortable for you. You will need to wear a pair of sturdy shoes and bring wet-weather gear and water to drink – you’ll also need to be prepared to walk on uneven ground and up steps.
If you would like to take part in this month’s event, please complete the attached proforma confirming your contact details (and emergency phone number) – and confirm you understand that you’ll be taking part in this walk at your own risk and will seek medical advice in advance, as appropriate.
Details of our starting point (and parking arrangements) will be shared once you have confirmed your attendance.
If you have any questions, please email julie.davies@cprekent.org.uk

Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Liz Akenhead, champion of the Tunbridge Wells countryside, honoured with volunteer award

Liz receives her certificate from CPRE Kent chairman John Wotton
… and now complete with medal

Congratulations to Liz Akenhead, whose work for CPRE Kent has been recognised with a national award.
This year saw a record number of volunteers nominated by either their local group or the national charity and at last week’s national conference 35 were awarded a medal and certificate for their efforts.
Liz was, of course, nominated by CPRE Kent and in his nomination chairman John Wotton said: “Liz stood down in May 2021 after serving as chair of the Tunbridge Wells district committee for many years.
“Throughout this time she has demonstrated extraordinary skill, commitment and determination in contributing to the local planning process and responding to the many threats we have faced.
“This has proved to be a consistently challenging task in a borough that faces all the development pressures of a popular South East commuting town, with an area that is 70 per cent within the High Weald AONB and much of the rest either Metropolitan Green Belt or floodplain unsuitable for development.
“Liz has brought to bear her knowledge and experience as a solicitor in the field of planning law, which she has shared freely with colleagues. She has mastered every change in planning law and policy and scrutinised thoroughly each new local planning consultation and proposed new development of any significance.
“Once she has taken up a matter, she has pursued it relentlessly, skilfully and courteously, gaining the respect of countless councillors and officers. Her final project as chair was to mastermind our response to the Regulation 19 consultation on the new Local Plan, which contained more than 200 detailed submissions, many of which she drafted herself.
“Liz has been an inspiring and exemplary district chair, regularly hosting meetings in her home. She has been welcoming to new members and encouraging to us all. She has chaired the committee with consummate dedication and efficiency, setting a standard to which few of us can aspire. She continues to work at least as hard as any other committee member.”
Or, to sum it all up, Liz’s certificate detailing the reason for her award reads: “For outstanding service to CPRE Kent for many years, serving as Chair of the Tunbridge Wells District Committee with skill, determination and courtesy, bringing to bear all your knowledge and experience to the protection of the precious countryside of the Weald of Kent.”
And so say all of us!

Monday, October 25, 2021

Lousy public transport, loneliness and lack of affordable housing is pushing young people out of the countryside, CPRE survey reveals  

The CPRE report makes some alarming conclusions

A chronic lack of affordable housing, loneliness and poor public transport have left young people living in the countryside so disillusioned that only two in five plan to stay put over the next five years (43 per cent), a new online survey commissioned by CPRE, the countryside charity, and conducted by YouGov has found. 
It revealed the government’s levelling-up agenda could come too late for today’s rural young people. The soaring cost of housing was identified as the single biggest concern in the nationwide rural survey of 16- to 25-year-olds; 72 per cent said it was a key problem and more than 8 in 10 of those wanting to leave identified it as a major factor (84 per cent). 
Amid delays to long-awaited planning reforms, this unique survey of more than 1,000 young people living in rural areas found that just 43 per cent of them planned to still be there beyond the next five years. Fewer than one in five (18%) think the future looks bright. Of those planning to leave, 84 per cent said affordable housing was an important factor in their decision. 
Separate analysis by CPRE found the demand for social housing was growing almost six times faster than the rate of supply in rural areas. At current rates, the backlog of low-income families needing accommodation would take 121 years to clear. Figures show 8,898 households were added to social-housing waiting lists in 88 rural local authority areas between 2019-20, the last year for which figures are available, with just 1,453 social homes delivered. In total, 176,058 rural families were waiting for accommodation in 2020, up from 167,160 in 2019. 
Commenting on the survey findings, Crispin Truman, chief executive of CPRE, said: “A thriving countryside depends on young people being able to study, work and start families in rural areas. But the sad reality is that the majority of young people born and raised in the countryside feel they can no longer afford to live there – despite the overwhelming majority saying they would like to. 
“A fraction of the young people we heard from feel they are listened to by decision-makers. This is troubling, for their concerns came through loud and clear. Second only to unaffordable housing, young people in the countryside said isolation and loneliness was their biggest concern.
“The shameful inequities of rural life mean young people growing up today struggle simply to meet up with their friends – in person or online – because public transport and broadband in the countryside has been treated as an afterthought for too long. 
“We must do better. To really level up the countryside the government must, at a bare minimum, guarantee hourly flat fare bus services running from morning to midnight, seven days a week, for our rural towns and villages. We must ensure that everyone has access to reliable, affordable and convenient public transport. 
“And in the forthcoming Spending Review, we’re calling on the government to allocate £12.8 billion of funding a year to tackle the housing crisis, with a fair proportion allocated to rural areas to deliver genuinely affordable and well-designed homes for rural communities.” 
After housing, poor-quality public transport and feelings of loneliness and isolation were the next two biggest issues for young people in the countryside. Other key stats include: 

  • Two-thirds (66 per cent) were concerned about infrequent and unreliable public transport 
  • More than three-quarters (76 per cent) of those planning to leave said poor digital connectivity – meaning broadband as well as patchy mobile phone coverage – had influenced their desire to move 
  • Fewer than a quarter (23 per cent) of young people surveyed wanted to go into the workplace full time, suggesting broadband will become increasingly important for the rural economy as flexible working becomes more common 
  • You can read the report Outpriced and overlooked here

Monday, October 25, 2021

Heard of netwalking? Join us to find out more about this buzz activity (and have a great time)

After the success of our first netwalking event last month, we are making plans for our next, which will start in Lenham on Friday, October 29, at 2pm.
Places are strictly limited to 15 walkers – if you would like to attend, please email info@cprekent.org.uk
We have planned a four-mile walk that will take us up the steep slope north of Lenham and on to the Pilgrims’ Way – we will walk a circular route, taking in the views of the site of the proposed garden village settlement at Lenham Heathlands to the south, and return back to the village, where we will enjoy a heritage trail through Lenham.
At a leisurely pace, we’ll probably be out for two hours.
These walks will be undertaken at your own risk – we’ll ensure that we have forward and back markers, so you can walk at a pace that’s comfortable for you. 
You will need to wear a pair of sturdy shoes and bring wet-weather gear and water to drink – you’ll also need to be prepared to walk on uneven (and rising) ground and climb over stiles.

Monday, October 18, 2021

Join Swanscombe rally to show how much you care for this special site (and listen to a band and drink cider)

Kent’s best-kept conservation secret – the Swanscombe peninsula – is under threat from the development of London Resort theme park.
CPRE Kent is one of an alliance of organisations fighting to stop this destructive scheme coming to pass – and on Saturday (October 2) we are holding a rally calling for this special wildlife site to be protected.
We would love to see you on Saturday at 10am for a tour, where we can all enjoy the sights and sounds of the peninsula. If you can’t make it bang on 10am, we’ll be walking at a gentle pace, so you’ll be able to join us over the next couple of hours.
And the fun doesn’t end there! You can come along to Gads Hill Farm for the SSSider Soak, which celebrates the wildlife of the peninsula. The event is based in a cider orchard; there’s a cider shop and bar and the Dartford Folk Massif are striking up at 3pm.

  • Campaigners on the rally will gather at Manor Way, opposite Britannia Metals, Northfleet DA11 9BG, on Saturday, October 2, at 10am
  • The SSSider Soak in the afternoon runs until 5pm at Gads Hill Farm ME3 7NX
  • To learn more about the Swanscombe peninsula, click here

Monday, September 27, 2021

Would you like to join us for a walk in the countryside?

The fields of Luddenham are bursting with life (Julie Davies)

A message from CPRE Kent planner Julie Davies:

As we reflect on getting back to ‘normal’ life, I’m sure that like me one of your memories of lockdown will be how grateful we all were to be able to get outdoors and enjoy the countryside.
I don’t need to extol the virtues of the countryside to you, but those of you who attended, or have now have watched, Professor Jules Pretty’s presentation on Health, Nature and Low Carbon Good Life will be aware of the documented benefits of being outdoors – whether it’s being in your own garden, local park or the wider countryside; and whether it’s for the purposes of gardening, admiring the view, walking or running.
As the countryside charity, CPRE Kent wants to be at the forefront of championing these benefits – and we’d like you to get involved.
Starting on Friday, September 24, we’d like to trial a ‘netwalking’ event starting in the home of our Pink Wellies: Will Walk blog, which featured a diary of lockdown walks from Faversham on the North Kent Marshes.
The idea is that these walks will start at 10am on the last Friday of the month – moving each month to a different area of the county.
These walks will be undertaken at your own risk – we’ll ensure that we have forward and back markers, so you can walk at a pace that’s comfortable for you. Needless to say, you’ll need to wear a pair of sturdy shoes and bring wet-weather gear and water to drink – you’ll also need to be prepared to walk on uneven ground and climb over stiles.
If you’d like to take part in this month’s event, please RSVP to info@cprekent.org.uk and we’ll be in touch with this month’s walk details.

Nature, Health and a Low-Carbon Good Life

Most of the people visiting this site will know of the many and varied benefits of enjoying the countryside. However, it’s not easy to convert that experience to hard facts. We can start to address that problem by watching this fascinating lecture from Professor Jules Pretty on the health and welfare advantages of engaging with nature… you won’t regret it!


Monday, September 6, 2021

Dramatic reduction in light pollution during lockdown, Star Count reveals

Three times as many people took part in the 2021 Star Count than in previous years

A nationwide Star Count conducted in February has revealed a significant drop in light pollution levels across the UK.
Almost 8,000 counts were submitted from February 6-14 in the annual citizen-science project that asks people to count the number of stars they see in the Orion constellation. 
A total of 51 per cent of people noted 10 or fewer stars, indicating severe light pollution. This compares with 61 per cent during the same period last year.
Thirty or more stars indicates truly dark skies and were seen by 5 per cent of participants – the highest figure since 2013.
Lockdown is the most likely reason for this change, with reduced human activity resulting in quieter-than-usual urban areas. Similar patterns have been found with air pollution, which has also dropped across the country. 
The results have been launched to mark International Dark Skies Week, run by the International Dark-Sky Association (IDSA), which raises awareness on the impacts of light pollution.  
Light pollution can negatively affect human health and wildlife by disturbing animals’ natural cycles and behaviour. Badly-designed, wasteful light also contributes to climate change and obscures our connection to the universe. 
CPRE, the countryside charity, and IDSA want to combat light pollution through strong local and national policies while also protecting and enhancing existing dark skies. This involves putting the right light in the right places, such as LED lights that only illuminate where we walk and turning off lights in places like office buildings when they’re unoccupied. 
CPRE and IDSA hope this fall in people experiencing the most severe light pollution – an unintended but positive consequence of lockdown – continues long after coronavirus restrictions are lifted so more people can experience the wonder of a truly dark sky.
Crispin Truman, chief executive of CPRE, said: “It’s been an absolutely stellar year for Star Count. We had three times as many people taking part compared with previous years and I’m delighted to see severe light pollution appears to have fallen. It’s likely this is an unintended positive consequence of lockdown, as our night-time habits have changed. Let’s hope we can hold on to some of this achievement as we ‘unlock’.
“Looking up at a starry night sky is a magical sight and one we believe everyone should be able to experience, wherever they live. And the great thing is, light pollution is one of the easiest kinds of pollution to reverse – by ensuring well-designed lighting is used only where and when needed, and that there is strong national and local government policy.”
Ruskin Hartley, executive director of the International Dark-Sky Association, said: “We believe that solving the problem of light pollution begins with a realisation that the problem exists. For many people, participating in the Star Count may have been their first direct encounter an unpolluted night sky due to the loss of artificial light. 
“As realisation turns to action, we look forward to working with CPRE to bring attention and resources to turning the tide, and bringing natural night-time darkness back to more of the UK.”

  • To see the interactive map showing results from Star Count 2021, click here

Wednesday, April 7, 2021