Barnsley intends to light up the Night Sky

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Cliff
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Barnsley intends to light up the Night Sky

Post by Cliff »

Dear al
It seems Barnsley have BIG fancy lighting ideas as well.
My feeling is that if we just lie down and let these things happen the lighting fraternity will walk all over us, light pollution legislation will become meaningless.
Dont forget town councils get most of the money they spend from general taxation. Concil tax payers only pay a small fraction of the money that councils spend.
Best wishes from the Grumpy Old Codger Cliff
Robin Scagell
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Post by Robin Scagell »

Cliff, can you give us more details of this? What is being proposed, and how can we find out more about it so that we too can complain? Light pollution really does affect not just the local council -- its spreads for hundreds of km and if they don't accept this they need to be made an example of.

Robin
Cliff
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Post by Cliff »

Dear Robin
I got the info about Barnsley from Colin Henshaw (who is actually out of the country at the moment) I will e-mail him about the problem. I know that Colin (as a Manchester resident) sent Barnsley a strong letter and amongst other things they replied by saying since he (Colin) kives in Manchester on the other side of the Pennines and Manchester has its own lighting problems Colin should confine is attention to the Manchester side of the Pennines.
When I get more gen of Colin I will try to put the information on the forum.
Best of luck from the Grumpy Old Codger Cliff
Cliff
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Post by Cliff »

Dear Robin et al
I just got an e-mail from Colin Henshaw about the "Barnsley" problem.
Colin sent me the following web addresss ( a bit complicated so I hope I get it right).
javascript:ol('http://www.barnsley.gov.uk/remakingbarn ... asp?PID+22');
I tried to find the site myself but just got a blank screen, I assume my problem might be because I (my PC?) cannot read javascript.
I think Colin got the Barnsley address from the DfDS yahoogroups forum.
I tried a "Barnsley Light Halo" search which produced information about a Guardian article written on, as long ago as, the 11 July 2003. It seems to suggest that Barnsley had then got a European Grant for the proposed light halo ?
Best wishes from the Grumpy Old Codger Cliff
Robin Scagell
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Post by Robin Scagell »

The link is actually:
http://www.barnsley.gov.uk/remakingbarn ... asp?PID=22

Well, I have waded in with a message to the Barnsley developers, and copy to the Barnsley Chronicle, as follows:

As Vice President of the Society for Popular Astronomy, I am horrified by your plans for a 'Light Halo'. What gives you the right to contribute to the light pollution in the night skies for hundreds of kilometres around, which is what it is?

This is a monstrous act of civic vandalism. Far from improving the environment. it drags the name of Barnsley into the gutter of irresponsibility. You say 'The Barnsley of thirty years time will be unrecognisable from the town we know today,' yet by such acts you are instantly ruining the view of the night sky for not just the unfortunate locals, but also adding to the light pollution that has already drowned out the view of the Milky Way and most of the stars over much of Britain.

At a time when the government is concerned about the lack of interest in physics in schools, which could be greatly improved by the teaching of astronomy, you are savagely cutting off your young peoples' view of the wonders of the heavens.

I gather that others who have commented on this scheme have been rebuffed because they do not live in Barns

ley. But you have totally failed to appreciate the magnitude of what you are perpetrating. Do you not realise the contribution that upward-pointing light makes to light pollution not just over a mile or two, but over a huge surrounding area? I wrote about this very topic in my book 'Astronomy from Towns and Suburbs (Philip, 1994).

Your sorry efforts are very much at odds with more enlightened -- and rather better known -- cities, such as Rome, which is currently trying to darken its own skies. I very much hope that this scheme of yours backfires on you as your citizens realise what they are losing.

Robin Scagell
Astronomy writer and broadcaster
A
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Post by A »

Hi

If this scheme goes ahead, do Barnsley give any projected
figures for the amount of energy that will be uesd and the
resulting CO2 emissions produced.
I have been reading Barnsley councils environmental policy
and its plans for reducing CO2 emissions. A scheme like this,
seems to go against everything that Barnsley are talking about
in their policy.
Cliff
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Post by Cliff »

Dear Robin and A
I just read your Barnsley letter(s) Robin. Brilliant!
You probably do not need this information now, but Colin Henshaw informs me that the Barnsley Sky Halo is expected to be funded by a regional development agency called Yorkshire Forward.
http://www.yorkshire-forward.com/www/index.asp
Colin says he hopes a bombardment of objections might get the funding stopped. I have not yet done anything myself but will try to do very soon.
More bad news unfortunately, which i had never heard of until BBC TV North Wesr News this evening, Apparently a new piece of modern sculpture is now being erected at the bolton Wanderers Raebok Stadium (sorry i am sure i spelt that incorrectly!). I think they said it will be 350 feet tall ? It was not quite finished today but supposed to be ready for an official opening tommorrow. The bad news is that apparently it is intended to light up this new feature. The football stadium already causes significant light pollution in the area.
Best wishes from the Grumpy Old Codger Cliff


More other
Robin Scagell
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Post by Robin Scagell »

Yes, I have seen the Reebok stadium from the motorway in the past and it is clearly a source of light pollution.

Quite honestly the only thing as you say is for every local person affected to write to complain that the lighting is an intrusion on their enjoyment of the night sky. You can take some of the arguments from my letter, and surely can think of more. There are so many of these schemes now that every one needs to be tackled, and if they are allowed to get away with it they will get worse and worse. I am dreading what will happen with the Olympics and am planning to get my oar in now before the plans go too far.

We are supposed to be saving energy these days and these schemes are just wasting it!

You may not be able to stop those that are already in the pipeline, but enough complaints will get the planning committee thinking. And write to the local paper. Don't be put off by councillors saying you are a killjoy, it's just a bit of fun and all that. You are raining on their picnic, but if enough people complain they are bound to feel sore, but eventually they will realise that these lights are antisocial.

One local complaint will have ten times the effect of anything that the SPA or I can contribute.

Robin
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Post by A »

Hi

Every now and then I keep seeing plans surface for the
Humber Bridge to be floodlit. The reginal development
council say that they want to make it a prominent feature
in the night sky.
Robin Scagell
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Post by Robin Scagell »

Then jump on them or they will!

Robin
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Post by spawebmaster »

There is space for feedback on the Barnsley site. I have left this message:

I can't believe you are considering an act of such vandalism as this halo.
If you want to signify progress for the town, isn't it ridiculous to do something as negative as to contribute to light pollution and to spoil the night sky for our neighbours for many, many miles around?

Please reconsider and see sense!

Paul Sutherland
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Post by spawebmaster »

I also suggest that someone asked the Council for the Protection of Rural England to get involved since light pollution is one of their campaigns.
And it would be worth contacting Barnsley's elected politicians too - I would guess that those in the minority parties at least would be keen to know of our objections.
You can find all Barnsley's councillors with their email addresses via this page. If you have the patience, it would probably look better to send separate emails to councillors, or grouped by wards, rather than one email to the lot.
I also think it is important to stress the point that this is light POLLUTION. Presumably councils like Barnsley which want to appear forward-looking are trying to get away from the old image of dark satanic mills and polluting, industrial chimneys.

Paul
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My feedback sent ...

Post by Astrogeordie »

Feedback about the "light halo"

Dear Sirs,

I am quite embarrassed to see these plans of light pollution taking place. In times where people try to reduce CO2 emission and save energy, this is a bare antagonism. Even if it is not lit up permanently, it will spoil not only the joy of watching the night sky, but also have a major impact on wildlife, especially birds and night-active insects. Its a well-known fact that operators of so-called skybeamers have sometimes to clean their devices from dead birds and other animals which became trapped by the light.

This "halo" is a nice example of how to waste energy and money as well which could be much better spent in schools or for the environment. There are surely much better ways of making your town attractive than this abusive way.

Best wishes,

Dr Juergen Schmoll
Instrument Scientist and Astronomer
Best wishes & clear skies,


Juergen
Colin Henshaw
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Barnsley Sky Halo

Post by Colin Henshaw »

Dhaka, Bangladesh.
Yesterday I blitzed most of the councillors on Barnsley MBC expressing my concern over the Barnsley Sky Halo. By this morining I already hady had three replies, two of which agreed with me, saying that there was considerable opposition to it within the council and from the local population. Hopefully, if the pressure can be maintained, it will be stopped. I have also been in contact with the quango Yorkshire Forward that is allegedly financing this project, through their on-line feed-back system, but apart from an acknowledgement that my message had been received, I have had no further reply. A few more messages sent there may prompt them into some kind of action.
Colin Henshaw
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Post by spawebmaster »

It occurred to me that this is a "good story" for the press, certainly papers such as the daily Yorkshire Post. I did a quick check on Google news yesterday, searching for "Barnsley" and "halo" and found a link to a story published in various Yorks papers on Dec 8 along the lines on "Top astronomer objects to halo". Unfortunately I have been unable to bring up the full story when clicking the links so I don't know who the "top astronomer" is. Not you was it Robin? :o

Paul
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