Cornwall Council and Caradon Observatory are to apply for an International Dark Sky Designation for Bodmin Moor.
If the bid is successful, the designation would formally recognise the exceptional quality of the night sky over Bodmin Moor and help protect it from light pollution.
Edwina Hannaford, Cornwall Council’s Portfolio Holder for Planning, said: “I’m delighted that this bid is going ahead. The quality of the night sky over Bodmin Moor is amongst the best in the world, thanks to its low levels of light pollution. Cornwall Council already seeks to maintain dark skies through the Local Plan, and achieving the International Dark Sky Designation for Bodmin Moor would help protect our wonderfully starry sky for local residents and draw in visitors during the winter months, boosting our local economy. It would also provide a focus for awareness and learning about the stars and solar systems and benefit wildlife and the health of local communities.”
The International Dark-Sky Association (IDA) designations are for places that have an exceptionally high quality night sky and have made a commitment and put partnerships in place to work to protect and enhance it. Other parts of the UK with designations include Exmoor, Dartmoor, South Downs, Brecon Beacons, Elan Valley, Snowdonia and parts of Northumberland and Scotland.
The area proposed for inclusion in the Bodmin Moor International Dark Sky Designation is the portion of the moor that lies within the Cornwall Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty plus a two mile buffer zone around it. Residents and business in the area would be encouraged to manage lighting better so that it can do what it needs to without harming the night sky. No one would have to change their existing lights. Instead people would be provided with a guide for dark sky friendly lighting to help them choose appropriate lights when they need to replace old lights or fit new ones. They would also be encouraged to only use lighting where it’s needed and turn off lights when they aren’t needed.
Dr Wayne Thomas and Ken Bennett from Caradon Observatory said: “We are fortunate that Bodmin Moor has some of the darkest skies in England. An International Dark Sky Designation would help preserve the beauty of our skies for future generations and to allow people who visit the Moor to be inspired by what the universe has to offer.”
A decision is expected on the application in June 2017. More information about the Bodmin Moor International Dark Sky Designation bid is available on www.cornwall.gov.uk/darksky.
Cornwall Council and Caradon Observatory are also supporting a separate project led by local councils for an International Dark Sky Reserve designation for West Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.