Local MP backs new ‘Dark Skies’ Parliamentary Group

Local MP backs new ‘Dark Skies’ Parliamentary Group

James Wild MP for North West Norfolk attended the launch of a new All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Dark Skies in Parliament this week and has taken on a role as Vice Chairman.

The inaugural meeting set out the purpose of the APPG for Dark Skies:

  • Highlight importance of preserving the ability for people to see a dark sky at night;
  • Promote the adoption of dark sky friendly lighting and planning policies;
  • Protect existing UK Dark Sky reserves and support potential new reserves; and
  • Collaborate with International Dark Sky Association and countries hosting Dark Sky Reserves - Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, Namibia and New Zealand.

North West Norfolk has two Dark Sky Discovery Sites. These are part of a nationwide network of places that are accessible by everyone and that have been recognised as places so dark that the Milky Way or the constellation of Orion can be seen with the naked eye. The two sites are: RSPB Titchwell Marsh Nature Reserve; and Barrow Common, Brancaster.

The UK has four internationally accredited Dark Sky Reserves which are the Brecon Beacons National Park, Exmoor National Park, Snowdonia National Park and the South Downs National Park with Gower. The first recognized Dark Sky Park is in Dumfries and Galloway.

Speaking after visiting RSPB Titchwell, James Wild MP said:

“I am delighted that the campaign to preserve our Dark Skies at night and to fight unnecessary light pollution has now reached Parliament.

“West Norfolk is a fantastic place to view the night skies with an active community of astronomers. If we are to inspire future generations about the wonders of our universe then we must preserve the ability to see a clear night sky by reducing light pollution on the coast.”

Parking at RSPB Titchwell is free of charge after 17:00 for stargazers using the site however be aware of water and steep slopes. From the car park follow the path past the visitor centre onto the main reserve path.

Dr Lucie May Green addressed the inaugural meeting. Dr Green is Professor of Physics and a Royal Society University Research Fellow based at the Mullard Space Science Laboratory, UCL’s Department of Space and Climate Physics. She was the first female presenter of the BBC programme,’The Sky at Night’.

Light pollution is 100% man-made and is easy to remedy through improved design, better enforcement of planning guidelines and innovative new technologies.

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