CPRE’s Star Count results – light pollution affects majority of population 

star count 2023

27th April 2023

Light pollution affects the vast majority of the population, with three-quarters of people in the UK finding their view of the night sky obscured, new data has shown. The results of Star Count 2023, released today by CPRE, the countryside charity, find only five percent of people can enjoy the wonder of a truly dark starry sky. 

Almost 4,000 people took part in this year’s Star Count, the country’s biggest annual citizen science project of its kind, from 17-24 February. Participants were asked to report the number of stars they could see with the naked eye in the Orion constellation. The results show that, for just over half the population, their view of the night sky remains obscured by severe light pollution. The proportion experiencing ‘truly dark skies’ and ‘very severe light pollution’ – the best and worst categories – both increased by two percent. 

In Oxfordshire 54.9% counted less than 10 stars, indicating severe light pollution in those areas. 6.3% counted over 30 stars and are lucky enough to experience truly dark skies.

In evidence presented this month to the House of Lords Science and Technology Committee, CPRE recommended that local authorities should have legal powers to control light pollution through planning regulations. Outdoor advertisements are already managed in a similar way. Further to that, key changes to national and local planning policy were identified that, if implemented, should lead to a step-change in reducing light pollution, including policies to protect dark skies and intrinsically dark landscapes.