West Cornwall & IOS Vying For Dark Skies Protection

                                                                  Northern Lights on Scilly - Image courtesy of Jane Hurd

                                                                  Northern Lights on Scilly - Image courtesy of Jane Hurd

By Will Lethbridge

West Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly are vying to become a dark skies reserve to protect the region from light pollution.

The iniatiave is being spearheaded by Kevin Hughes, Chairman of Towednack Parish Council, a Councillor for Zennor Parish Council and the Chair of Dark Skies West Cornwall & The Isles of Scilly.

Kevin spoke to Will about the initiative and the work that is being done to protect our dark skies.

Kevin said: ”First of all it’s non-political, it is a policy that is going to be, or is being supported by all parties and Cornwall Council. What we want to do is protect the night skies of West Cornwall (from the Hayle river, west though all of what was West Penwith and the Isles of Scilly) and register it as an International Dark Sky Reserve with the International Dark Sky Community.”

According to Kevin, Scilly already has 5 designated Dark Sky Discovery Sites but if the whole region gets this additional status through the International Dark Sky Community, extra protection will be added to protect the region further.

A whole host of major organisations as well as councillors and our local MP Derek Thomas are behind this initiative.

Councillor Edwina Hannaford, Portfolio Holder for Planning, for Cornwall Council commented:

“This is a fantastic opportunity to protect and enhance west Cornwall’s dark night sky for enjoyment and learning. International recognition of this natural resource will also help boost tourism, especially in the autumn and winter months. Cornwall Council already seeks to maintain dark skies through the Local Plan and is finalising an application for an International Dark Sky Designation for Bodmin Moor. If there is local interest we will also be backing efforts for an International Dark Sky Reserve in west Cornwall.

Kevin will be over in May and conducting tests of the level of darkness in Scilly which is all part of the application.

Derek Thomas will be over in Scilly next week and will be bringing over surveys with him, covering various matters but this survey also includes two questions related to the Dark Skies Initiative. 

The International Dark Sky Community requires 30% of the electorate in West Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly to back this campaign for it to move forwards and Kevin is urging members of the public to fill out this part of the survey at the very least.

According to Kevin this initiative would cost the taxpayer nothing and the protection would be funded through grant funding from The International Dark Sky Community and this protection would be there forever.

To find out more about this initiative you can find our more on Facebook by clicking here and you can listen to Will chatting to Kevin below.