Isle Of Wight Council Backs “Dark Skies Status” Bid

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An Isle of Wight bid to secure dark skies status will be backed by the Isle of Wight Council, which says it will formulate a new local lighting code to help promote astro-tourism and preserve wildlife.

The International Dark Sky Association (IDASA) has handed out only a few official statuses, which can help boost tourism, including to the islands of Sark and Coll, as well as in Northumberland and Exmoor.

At the meeting of the Full Council on Wednesday (15 November), councillors voted to draft a policy on dark skies and to review the Island plan, as well as producing an accompanying policy guidance document.

It also means that the Vectis Astronomical Society and the Isle of Wight Society, which are pushing for dark skies status here, will now work with the local authority in the bid to achieve it.

Councillor Barry Abraham, planning and housing cabinet member, said:

“This is an exciting opportunity and we are happy to support the approach being championed by the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty partnership as it will benefit the Island’s economy.

“This is all about encouraging the better use of lighting and understanding its impact on the night sky – particularly in our rural areas.

“Studies show this approach can also help wildlife and the environment but it will also help increase visitors to the Island in the winter months when the night sky is at its best for astronomers.”