…a blog by David Smith, Buglife Social Change and Advocacy Officer.
The adjournment debate, Light Pollution and the Protection of Dark Skies was led by Duncan Baker MP, the Glow-worm species champion. Duncan, following a visit with staff from Buglife to see the species in the summer, was keen to raise awareness of one of the threats to Glow-worms and applied for a debate on the topic.
Duncan’s speech set out the issues caused by light pollution and the impact it is having on the natural world. He also detailed the long warnings received from astronomers who have been noticing a loss of the night sky for decades.
Glow-worm numbers are falling, and many people don’t remember the last time they saw this charismatic beetle, including the Environment Minister, Trudy Harrison MP, who was responding in the debate. Unfortunately, light pollution, loss of habitat, climate change and chemical use are all contributing to the species decline, but it is light that has so far not been properly addressed in biodiversity action.
The debate set out the case for action and suggested ways that the Government could take leadership as well as steps individuals could take to help #NurtureTheNightShift. Welcome interventions from Jim Shannon MP and Claire Hanna MP showed shared concern for the rise in light pollution and support for action to be taken.
The Minister, setting out the steps the Government are taking to halt biodiversity decline recognised the need for more work to be done in addressing light pollution, but also the challenges faced in determining the levels of impact. Buglife were encouraged to hear the minister reference international work on light pollution and guidelines being developed by the Convention on Migratory Species.
It was great to raise awareness of light pollution at the heart of Parliament, with MPs and officials. It ensures we have a record of the progress we are making and continues the campaign to reduce levels of light pollution. The Government must do more though to ensure better quality, community-friendly lighting is installed, and unnecessary lighting is removed to give nocturnal nature a chance to thrive.
Buglife looks forward to continuing work with our species champions and the Government on this issue and is grateful for the efforts of Duncan Baker MP to get it the platform it deserves.