The Shire of Carnamah and the Shire of Wongan-Ballidu are the first Councils in Western Australia to adopt a new Lighting Management Policy as they develop an Astrotourism sector to diversify regional economies, grow tourism and create jobs.

The Policy outlines good lighting design principles to maintain and improve the quality of the dark night sky for Astrotourism activities such as stargazing, astrophotography and viewing through telescopes.

The principles in the Policy can be applied to any situation where protecting and conserving the night sky is important. Application of the principles benefit not only Astrotourism, but also astronomy, heritage, human health, safety, energy, wildlife, environment and ecological values.

The Policy was developed in consultation with the NSW Department of Planning and Environment, International Dark-Sky Association (IDA),  Australasian Dark Sky Alliance (ADSA) and Warrumbungle Dark-Sky Park. It was based on the Dark Sky Planning Guideline prepared for Australia’s first Internationally Accredited Dark-Sky Park in the Warrumbungle National Park.

The Australasian Dark Sky Alliance, which supports the International Dark-Sky Association, is a group dedicated to educating the public and policymakers about night sky conservation and encouraging environmentally responsible outdoor lighting to create business opportunities, and celebrate night sky heritage. The Australian Government’s Department of the Environment and Energy has also released Draft National Light Pollution Guidelines.

Founder of Astrotourism WA and ADSA Board Director, Ms Carol Redford said “It was a great opportunity to draw on the experience of the NSW State Government, IDA, ADSA and the Warrumbungle Dark-Sky Park to develop a Lighting Management Policy especially for Local Governments in WA.”

“In regional WA over the next few years, advanced LED street lighting will replace redundant mercury vapour and compact fluorescent technology. This is unique opportunity to take advantage of the right type of lighting for regional towns that will maintain or improve the dark night sky for Astrotourism,” Ms Redford said.

Transition to LED Street Lights Working Group

The WA Local Government Association (WALGA) is heading up a Transition to LED Street Lights Working Group. Mr Ian Duncan, Executive Manager Infrastructure, chairs the Working Group and said, “LED technology offers significant improvements in lighting delivery, energy efficiency and lower maintenance costs.”

“After discussions with Astrotourism WA and many of the Local Governments supporting the development of dark-sky tourism, “astrotourism” has been listed as a customer requirement within the Working Group,” he said

New LED Streetlights

In November 2018, Western Power announced a new range of LED streetlights available for order and Ms Redford along with WA’s emerging network of Astrotourism Towns continue to engage with WALGA and Western Power enabling Councils to make choices that will leave an enduring dark-sky legacy and a tourism asset for decades to come.

All Local Governments across WA can now access the Policy for adoption if they seek to maintain a dark night sky for astronomy and stargazing activities in the Tourism and Space Industries. The Policy will also be adapted for use by Local Governments in NSW and Queensland. For any queries or for a copy of the template Policy, please contact Carol Redford, or 0427 554 035.

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