Light itself, and minor domestic light fittings, are not subject to planning controls.
Nevertheless, if you are planning to install external lighting for security or other purposes, you should ensure that the intensity and direction of light does not disturb others. Many people suffer extreme disturbance due to excessive or poorly-designed lighting.
Ensure that beams are NOT pointed directly at windows of other houses. Security lights fitted with passive infra-red detectors (PIRs) and/or timing devices should be adjusted so that they minimise nuisance to neighbours and are set so that they are not triggered by traffic or pedestrians passing outside your property.
A neighbour might take you to court if you are negligent or cause nuisance.
If your property is a listed building you should always consult the Local Planning Authority.
If you are carrying out electrical work and fixing lighting to the outside of your house in England and Wales, you will have to follow new building regulations rules.
You should either use an installer who is registered with the competent person scheme or make an application to your local authority’s building control department or approved inspectors.
It is now a general aim to make our buildings as energy efficient as possible. You are required to install efficient electric lighting to your house in specific circumstances including:
- When your dwelling has been extended
- When your existing lighting system is being replaced as part of re-wiring works.
An example of efficient lighting is where reasonable provision should be made to enable effective control and/or use of efficient lamps such that:
- Either, lamp capacity does not exceed 150 Watts per light fitting and the lighting automatically switches off when there is enough daylight and when it is not required at night;
- or the lighting fittings have sockets that can only be used with lamps having an efficacy greater than 40 lumens per circuit-Watt.
Please see Approved Document L-1B in the main Building Regulations section of this site for further guidance.
If you are installing an external light which is supplied from your electrical system and fixed to the exterior surface of your house then you should ensure that reasonable provisions are made to enable effective control and/or use of energy efficient lamps. Two options for achieving this are:
- Installing a lamp with a capacity which does not exceed 150W per light fitting and the lighting automatically switches off both when there is enough daylight and also when it is not required at night
- Ensuring that the lighting fittings you use have sockets that can only be used with lamps having an energy efficacy greater than 40 lumens per circuit-watt.
This is an introductory guide and is not a definitive source of legal information. Read the full disclaimer here.
This guidance relates to the planning regime for England. Policy in Wales may differ. If in doubt contact your Local Planning Authority.