She explores the legal and administrative aspects of tackling artificial light pollution

Light pollution is excessive or intrusive, poorly directed artificial light. The source of the problem lies primarily in improperly designed outdoor lighting, which instead of illuminating the target location causes the 'escape of light' towards the sky, contributing to LP emissions and energy wastage at the same time. Research on legal and administrative aspects of counteracting artificial light pollution is conducted by dr Katarzyna Szlachetko from the Faculty of Law and Administration of the University of Gdańsk within the framework of the author's project 'GOOD LIGHT LAW' by the Metropolitan Institute.

Artificial light pollution is not a new phenomenon, but it has not yet been sufficiently established in the public consciousness. It is nothing more than excessive or annoying, badly directed artificial light. Dr Katarzyna Szlachetko from the Faculty of Law and Administration of the University of Gdańsk is researching legal and administrative aspects of counteracting artificial light pollution within the framework of the 'GOOD LIGHT LAW' (GLL) at the Metropolitan Institute. As she stresses, the fight against light pollution requires the coordination of environmental policy, development policy and spatial planning and development.

- 'In times of a changing climate, progressing environmental degradation, many new challenges facing the health care system, there is more and more talk in scientific and expert circles about the need for sustainable spatial planning, i.e. harmonising public interest and private interests, taking into account the solidarity between generations and environmental resources. This paradigm has many implications and requires new developments to be taken into account in the activities of planning authorities. This is what prompted me to undertake research on the problem of light pollution, which in Poland is still treated marginally in the public discourse, and the law in force does not provide for measures to effectively protect against this category of pollution,' says dr Katarzyna Szlachetko. - 'My GLL project aims to draw attention to the need and importance of 'good law' in the design and implementation of outdoor lighting.'

What are the consequences of light pollution? Scientific studies show that excessive emission of artificial light has harmful effects on human physical and mental health, disrupts the chronobiological cycle of animals (especially nocturnal and migratory species), disturbs the photoperiodism of some plant species, creates dangers in road traffic, contributes to climate change, and prevents amateur and professional astronomical observations.

Dr Katarzyna Szlachetko is also a member of the interdisciplinary research group 'ILLUME' within the EcoTech Research Centre at the Gdańsk University of Technology, which aims to minimise the impact of artificial light pollution on people, fauna and flora. In autumn this year, in cooperation with the American organisation International Dark-Sky Association, an international conference will be organised: 'Responsible Outdoor Lighting at night'.

EMW/Press Office of University of Gdańsk