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Dark Skies Technical Advice Note (TAN)

Dark Skies Technical Advice Note (TAN)

The Dark Skies Technical Advice Note (TAN) was first approved for publication in April 2018. The new document was updated in May 2021.

An accessible version of the Dark Skies Technical Advise Note (TAN) can be found here.

The TAN sets out the South Downs National Park Authority’s (SDNPA) approach to lighting design and the protection and enhancement of dark skies.

Its aim is to provide developers and planners with the necessary information to submit and assess lighting schemes which are appropriate to the landscape, including the South Downs International Dark Sky Reserve, designated in May 2016.

In addition to the TAN, an appendix document has also been produced covering internal light spill.

An accessible version of the appendix document can be found here.

Dark Night Skies: Design Guidance for events, creative commissions and lighting festivals

The following document provides design guidance and wider considerations for lighting events, creative (artistic) commissions and lighting festivals.

The guidance provides information on the main threats of these types of installations on dark skies and how designers can accommodate dark skies to prevent losses of sky quality.

The guidance does not cover domestic Christmas tree lighting and is aimed towards public events.

Towards a Dark Sky Standard

As a precursor to the planning process and as an extra resource for applicants, “Towards A Dark Sky Standard” is a general guide and overview of the key considerations needed for good lighting design and the protection of dark skies.

An accessible version of “Towards A Dark Sky Standard” can be read here.

While it is not a formal planning document, the information within it will help applicants, developers, lighting professional and the general public to install lighting that does not unnecessarily impact on dark skies.

The standard provides an overview of basic lighting principles and provides links and information towards other essential documents, e.g. British Standards, Planning Policy and professional guidance, that may need to be considered when designing and installing any lighting.

There is also some advice  on the impact of internal light spill and some good tips when purchasing lights for any need.

The guide has been produced by lighting and dark sky professionals.

Local Authorities, Communities and Dark Skies Toolkit

This toolkit by the UK Dark Skies Partnership is designed to help local authorities and communities understand what they can do to improve their involvement in dark skies and reducing light pollution.

Based upon the experiences of existing International Dark-Sky Association places within the UK, such as the South Downs National Park, this toolkit will describe the initial steps and important requirements local authorities should consider to reduce the negative impact of light pollution.

It will show how to map your skies, how to embed effective policies and how to engage with resident and visitors.

Regardless if you have dark skies within your local authority or not, this toolkit will help reduce light pollution, improve the welfare of your residents and wildlife and potentially save energy costs.


"The Downs...too much for one pair of eyes, enough to float a whole population in happiness."