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Lighting Consultants – Daylight, Sunlight, Overshadowing and External Light Surveys  

The interaction of light with our daily lives is profound, influencing not only aesthetics but also health and safety, especially in the context of urban development. Lighting consultants play a critical role in ensuring that new buildings and renovations meet the necessary daylight, sunlight, and external lighting requirements. Aval can help guide you through the pivotal aspects of lighting in the planning process and our consultants contribute to cost-effective, health-conscious, and regulation-compliant solutions.

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The Significance of Daylight and Sunlight Assessments

Daylight and sunlight are not just essential for our physical well-being, but they also play a crucial role in the planning and development of new buildings. A well-lit environment can protect against Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) and certain skin conditions, while high levels of exposure to ultraviolet light (UV rays) can significantly increase the risk of skin cancer. Lighting consultants evaluate the amount of sunlight and daylight a proposed development will receive and its long term impact on the surrounding area.

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Planning Application Requirements

Please note, when you submit a planning application, it is crucial to consider how the proposed development will affect the light received by adjacent buildings and outdoor spaces. This is where lighting consultants conduct daylight and sunlight assessments to ensure that the development does not cause significant overshadowing or loss of light to neighbouring properties.

Overshadowing and Its Implications

Overshadowing occurs when a new development blocks sunlight to existing properties or outdoor spaces, which can affect the living conditions of neighbouring residents. Therefore it’s essential to assess the potential overshadowing impacts early in the design phase to avoid costly revisions later.

Measured Survey and Analysis

Lighting consultants begin with a measured survey of the site and surrounding areas. They analyse the proposed development’s height, density, and location to determine the potential for overshadowing. Furthermore using advanced tools and techniques, consultants can forecast the shadows cast by the new building at different times of the day and year.

Planning Portal and Public Comments

The findings from overshadowing studies are often submitted through the planning portal as part of the planning application process. Here, members of the public can view and comment on a planning application, including any concerns about potential overshadowing effects.

External Light Surveys for Safety and Aesthetics

Outdoor lighting, including emergency lighting and garden lights, is not just about creating an appealing ambiance; it’s also a matter of safety. Aval’s consultants assess the lighting levels to ensure that they meet workplace safety standards and enhance the security of outdoor spaces.

Commercial and LED Lighting Consultants

Commercial lighting consultants specialize in designing and implementing lighting solutions for businesses. This includes optimizing the cost-effectiveness of lighting systems, such as by employing LED lighting consultants to recommend energy-efficient options that also meet aesthetic and functional requirements.

Emergency Lighting Considerations

In the event of a power outage or emergency, well-designed emergency lighting is crucial for safe evacuation. Our consultants evaluate the placement and intensity of emergency lights to comply with safety regulations.


The Cost-Effective Approach to Lighting Design

Ensuring that lighting design is cost-effective without compromising on quality is a top priority. Consultants provide valuable insights on how to achieve desired lighting levels and effects while minimizing expenses.

History Searches and Planning History

Part of a lighting consultant’s job is to conduct history searches to understand the lighting conditions and planning history of a site. Basically this knowledge allows them to design lighting schemes that are sensitive to the area’s character and past developments.

Reference Number and Application Process

Consultants help clients navigate the application process by providing a reference number for the lighting survey and ensuring that all necessary documentation is in order. This streamlines the process and helps avoid delays in obtaining planning approval.

The Role of Lighting Consultants in the Planning Application Process

Lighting consultants are instrumental in the planning application process. They offer expert advice on how to meet regulatory requirements and address any potential issues with daylight, sunlight, overshadowing, and external lighting.

Submitting a Planning Application

When preparing to submit a planning application to local authorities, consultants ensure that all lighting-related concerns are addressed. They provide detailed reports that can be submitted alongside the application to demonstrate compliance with relevant guidelines and regulations.

Viewing and Commenting on a Planning Application

Consultants can also assist stakeholders in understanding the lighting aspects of a planning application. By providing clear information, they enable informed decisions and constructive feedback during the public consultation phase.

Light Survey: A Critical Component of Development

A light survey is a comprehensive assessment of existing and proposed lighting conditions. It is a critical component of the development process, providing the data needed to make informed decisions about lighting design and placement.

Understanding the Impact of Proposed Development

A light survey helps understand how a proposed development will affect natural and artificial light distribution in the area. It evaluates the impact on existing properties and informs design choices to mitigate any negative effects.

Ensuring Compliance with Light Regulations

Regulations regarding daylight, sunlight, and external lighting are in place to protect the quality of life for residents and the environment. Our consultants conduct light surveys to ensure that proposed developments meet these regulatory standards.

The Value of Professional Lighting Consultancy

Aval’s lighting consultants offer specialized expertise that is essential for any development project. From ensuring the health and safety benefits of natural light to creating aesthetically pleasing and cost-effective lighting designs, their role cannot be overstated. By navigating the complexities of planning applications, conducting thorough light surveys, and providing actionable recommendations, lighting consultants help shape spaces that are both functional and harmonious with their surroundings.

Whether it’s assessing the impact of sunlight on a new development or designing an emergency lighting system, their insights and guidance are invaluable. As urban spaces continue to evolve, the need for professional lighting consultancy will only grow, ensuring that our built environments remain conducive to well-being, safety, and sustainability.

Aval’s consultants ensure that our shared spaces are illuminated thoughtfully and responsibly. With their expertise, developments can proceed smoothly, reflecting a harmonious balance between innovation, comfort, and respect for the natural world.

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Call us on 0333 006 2524
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Lighting Assessment for Planning: FAQs


  1. What is a Lighting Assessment for Planning?

A Lighting Assessment for Planning evaluates the impact of proposed development on natural and artificial lighting. It ensures that new buildings receive adequate daylight and sunlight while minimising adverse effects on neighbouring properties.

  1. Why is Daylight and Sunlight Assessment important in planning?

Daylight and Sunlight Assessments are crucial as they help maintain living standards by ensuring adequate natural light. They also help avoid overshadowing issues that could negatively impact neighbouring properties.

  1. What does a Daylight Assessment involve?

A Daylight Assessment involves measuring the amount of natural light available inside a building. This includes assessing factors like window placement, building orientation, and potential obstructions.

  1. How is the Sunlight Assessment conducted?

Sunlight Assessment evaluates the direct sunlight a building or open space will receive. This involves using sun path diagrams, shadow studies, and computer simulations to predict sunlight exposure throughout the year.

  1. What is Overshadowing in planning terms?

Overshadowing occurs when a new development casts shadows over existing properties or open spaces, reducing their natural light. Assessments ensure that overshadowing remains within acceptable limits.

  1. What is Right to Light, and how does it affect planning?

Right to Light is a legal entitlement that protects a property’s access to natural light. Developments must consider these rights to avoid legal disputes and ensure compliance with planning regulations.

  1. What is an External Light Impact Assessment?

An External Light Impact Assessment evaluates the effects of artificial lighting from a development on the surrounding environment. This includes assessing light pollution, glare, and the impact on wildlife.

  1. When is a Lighting Assessment required in the planning process?

A Lighting Assessment is typically required for larger developments or those in close proximity to existing buildings. Planning authorities may request these assessments to ensure compliance with local planning policies.

  1. What are the key benefits of conducting a Lighting Assessment?

Benefits include improved living conditions through adequate natural light, minimised legal risks from Right to Light infringements, and reduced environmental impact from artificial lighting.

  1. How do you measure daylight levels in a Daylight Assessment?

Daylight levels are measured using various metrics such as Vertical Sky Component (VSC), Daylight Factor (DF), and Annual Probable Sunlight Hours (APSH). These metrics assess the quantity and quality of light entering a space.

  1. What tools and techniques are used in Sunlight and Overshadowing Assessments?

Tools include sun path diagrams, 3D modelling software, and shadow studies. These techniques help visualise and quantify the impact of a development on sunlight exposure and potential overshadowing.

  1. What is the role of BRE guidelines in Lighting Assessments?

The Building Research Establishment (BRE) guidelines provide best practices and standards for conducting Daylight, Sunlight, and Overshadowing Assessments. They ensure consistency and reliability in assessments.

  1. How can a development comply with Right to Light regulations?

Compliance involves designing buildings to avoid infringing on neighbouring properties’ Right to Light. This may include strategic placement of windows, stepping back upper floors, or using light wells.

  1. What is light pollution, and how is it assessed?

Light pollution refers to excessive or misdirected artificial light that can affect humans, wildlife, and the environment. Assessments evaluate factors like sky glow, glare, and light trespass to mitigate these impacts.

  1. How does an External Light Impact Assessment benefit the environment?

By assessing and mitigating the impact of artificial lighting, these assessments help protect nocturnal wildlife, reduce energy consumption, and preserve the natural night sky.

  1. Who conducts Lighting Assessments, and what qualifications are required?

Lighting Assessments are typically conducted by qualified lighting consultants or engineers with expertise in building physics, lighting design, and environmental impact assessments. They use specialised tools and adhere to industry standards to provide accurate evaluations.

  1. What is the Vertical Sky Component (VSC) in a Daylight Assessment?

The Vertical Sky Component (VSC) is a measure of the amount of sky visible from a given point in a room. It helps determine the potential for daylight penetration into a space.

  1. What are Annual Probable Sunlight Hours (APSH)?

Annual Probable Sunlight Hours (APSH) measure the amount of direct sunlight a specific point receives over a year. It is used to assess the adequacy of sunlight in buildings and outdoor spaces.

  1. How does a Lighting Assessment impact the design of a building?

A Lighting Assessment influences building design by identifying optimal window placements, building orientations, and potential shading devices to maximise natural light while minimising negative impacts on surrounding areas.

  1. Can a development project be rejected based on a Lighting Assessment?

Yes, a development project can be rejected if the Lighting Assessment shows significant negative impacts on daylight, sunlight, or overshadowing for neighbouring properties or if it fails to comply with Right to Light regulations and local planning policies.