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Presteigne Dark Sky Masterplan

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Join us in stopping light pollution and helping transform Presteigne into the first Dark Sky Community in England and Wales!

The lighting industry has rapidly grown over the last century, bringing towns and cities to life, celebrating architecture and providing visibility at night. However, today we also need to face the impact of human-made lighting on the natural environment. Are we challenging ourselves enough and think creatively about how to tackle our contribution to light pollution? Are we are part of the problem or the solution? How can we take action?

This project aims to put lighting design at the forefront of transforming a town into the first Welsh Dark Sky Community using intelligent and sustainable lighting technology. Presteigne is ready to lead the way, now we need committed donors and innovative manufacturers to help deliver. You can make a real difference by showing your support to Presteigne.

Lighting accounts for nearly 6% of the global CO2 emissions and 20% of the electricity used worldwide. Besides blighting the view of the night sky, inefficient lighting wastes over £1bn a year in the UK alone. Light pollution has drastic effects on the environment and well-being of all humans, animals and plants. It alters our perception of the night and blocks our access to our oldest heritage, the stars. This gives an important responsibility to the global lighting industry to lead exemplary progress. Well executed lighting design can encourage the night time activity, improve wayfinding, provide the community with a sense of reassurance whilst eliminating the light pollution. This project aims to raise the challenge and fundamentally reconsider the way we use lighting by focusing on the community and their needs.

Presteigne is a Welsh town surrounded with outstanding natural beauty and medieval heritage. The town's night-time ambience, its residents and the observatory located 8km to its north suffer from Presteigne’s excessive and outdated lighting scheme. Many complain about light nuisance and it is now preventing the Spaceguard Centre from its important role in spotting unidentified objects such as meteors. The area is also home to the endangered species of Horseshoe Bat which cannot come anywhere near bright lights. Considering that Wales has more land surface (18%) beneath protected dark skies than any other country on Earth, the only obstacle between Presteigne and dark skies is its current lighting and the sky-glow it generates.

The community aims to use a holistic approach to address several issues with the help of the new lighting masterplan. By employing the latest lighting and control technology, Presteigne will be able to reduce energy waste, become environmentally friendly and an exemplary Dark Sky destination as well as rejuvenate its night-time ambience and economy by attracting visitors.

Presteigne has three main goals to achieve with the new lighting masterplan:

1. Minimise light pollution & impact on biodiversity to achieve the Dark Sky Community status

Wales accommodates a range of Dark Sky destinations but this will be its first ever Dark Sky Community. Considering how close Presteigne is located to the neighbouring areas with good night-sky visibility ratings, earning this title will be the ideal opportunity for Presteigne to become recognised as a stargazing destination which will help the town with all year round ecotourism. Achieving this will attract visitors, generate economy, reduce energy  consumption, minimise the impact on biodiversity and protect the night-sky. The uneven distribution of the current lighting scheme results with some streets being overlit, whilst some are left in darkness. Focusing the light where it is needed, blocking the upward traveling light, adopting warmer colour temperatures and advising residents and businesses are some of the key measures which would immediately restore the visibility of the night sky. The International Dark Sky Association (IDA) in the US is the awarding body which will review the project to validate the application for the Dark Sky Status.

2. Introduce the latest LED lighting & control technology

Presteigne’s current lighting scheme consists of a mixture of lamp types with different quality, intensity and colour temperatures. The new lighting scheme aims to introduce the latest LED lighting and Bluetooth control technology to provide a holistic and consistent upgrade, whilst reducing the energy consumption and maintenance costs significantly. Being able to control and dim the lights remotely and use of sensors will allow the town to regulate and monitor its power consumption. The Bluetooth technology will be utilised to help local shops and businesses further by encouraging interaction through mobile application. 

3. Enhance the night-time character, experience & heritage architecture  

Presteigne’s unique daytime character is lost at night due to its street lighting which  is unsympathetic to the historic fabric, human scale experience and legibility. Uneven distribution of light degrades the visual contrast by excessive illumination at street level, it causes unwanted light spill on residential facades whilst plunging the town’s key features and buildings into darkness. The new lighting scheme aims to  enhance the nighttime experience by encouraging social activity after dark, restore the historic significance of the unique architectural character and improve the sense of safety by rendering the town legible.

Do you love the project and want to see it come to life? 
We need generous donors but also innovative manufacturing partners who wish to collaborate and showcase their technology to initiate this big change for Presteigne. 

Pledge 5£ or more
Help keep us going by funding us and we’ll keep you in the loop with behind the scenes updates on the project.

Pledge 50£ or more
We are offering a unique artwork in postcard size. 

Pledge 200£ or more
You will get  a unique artwork in A4 size.

All funds will go to PRESTEIGNE & NORTON COMMUNITY TRUST LTD only to be used for the Presteigne Dark Sky Masterplan Project. ​The funds will be used for lighting and control equipment, design development, siteworks, installation and all other project related costs. 

With this unique project, ​ Presteigne wants to lead the way and inspire others by showing what can be achieved with careful planning, community effort and vision.  We need you to be a part of this journey and help Presteigne achieve its goals. Please donate to our cause and show your support by being a part of this movement. Your contribution will make a great difference for protecting the night sky while improving the lives of many.

Please email  if you require further information.

Organizer and beneficiary

Dark Source
Leigh Harling-Bowen

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