State Commission Reports


Light Pollution

Eatontown Environmental Commission member John Batinsey, who chaired the Light Pollution Study Commission, suggests contacting the Governor's office or your legislators to encourage action on the recommendations in the report. He says that this year the NJ DOT revised its roadway lighting policy and is now maximizing the use of cutoff luminaires to improve the quality of lighting. The New Jersey Highway Authority is presently installing only cutoff lighting as new installations and replacements on the Garden State Parkway. The New Jersey Turnpike Authority continues to maintain its policy of using cutoff or equivalent luminaires.

In 1993, the state legislature established the New Jersey Light Pollution Study Commission to consider the problem of light pollution, the potential for monetary savings and other benefits from reducing light pollution, and the recommended steps to address this issue. The first meeting of the Commission was held March 1995 and in April 1996 it submitted its report to the Governor and legislature. The report's introduction states:

The Commission's report offers 12 recommendations to reduce light pollution and its adverse effects. The improved lighting conditions will achieve greater safety and reduced energy consumption and will help preserve the environment.

Local Actions

Local planning boards can accomplish several of the recommendations during site plan review. Municipalities should be sure that their ordinances and site improvement standards require these provisions. The report recommends implementation of the following actions during site plan review:

State Actions

The report further recommends that the state should provide training for municipal engineers and planners. Anyone involved with lighting should be aware of light pollution concerns and how to address them through lighting design. The state should provide municipalities with a set of guidelines to use as a starting point in developing standards and ordinances to reduce light pollution.

The report suggests that the state can educate other groups as well. It should provide the general public information about light pollution and how to minimize it. This can be accomplished through general instruction in schools, manufacturer's literature, company flyers, state programs or other mechanisms. The state also should offer light pollution training and education opportunities to lighting professionals, contractors, installers, inspectors and others.

The state can directly implement several of the lighting recommendations through the projects it funds. Utility companies, lighting installers, and others involved with lighting design also should follow the recommendations in the report, including:

Finally, the Commission recommended that the state should develop a plan to protect areas of New Jersey it determines to be especially suitable for astronomical observations or which provide nocturnal benefits to flora and fauna. These areas should be considered for designation as "dark areas", where lighting is prohibited or limited.

The appendix of the report contains an overview of light pollution ordinances from across the country. For a copy of the report contact the NJ Office of Legislative Services at 1-800-792-8630.

Updated 8-24-96