Brisbane is one of the most light polluted regions in the Southern Hemisphere.  Its effects do not stop at the city limits but impact on all of South East Queensland.

The city of Brisbane was named after the astronomer Sir Thomas Brisbane.  However, were he alive today he would be appalled to see what his city has done to its evening sky.  

Outdated roadway lighting systems and poor control of illumination levels and light placement have left Brisbane cloaked in a halo of light pollution that stretches for hundreds of kilometres beyond the city boundary.  

Children living in Brisbane today may be taught about the wonder of our Milky Way Galaxy but never actually see the band of countless stars that pass overhead every night.  This is a loss to us all.

However, if the right choices on new lighting technologies are made now by Brisbane City Council and Energex we may slow the advance of light pollution.  Good lighting decisions may let a little more star light may enter our city and kindle imagination in our children as they look to the evening sky.

As Brisbane City Council and Energex transition our city to LED street lighting we ask that they protect our sky by adopting street lighting guidelines compiled by the International Dark Sky Association.  

The Brisbane Astronomical Society is not a lone voice seeking a solution to the global problem of light pollution.  While the International Dark-Sky Association drives the campaign in many countries, here in Australia we have multiple organisations supporting the cause:




A detailed paper presenting research into aspects of the human vision system and light pollution with particular reference to South East Queensland,  is available here.


What can you do?

We suggest you send an email to each of the following individuals and let them know you care about our evening skies and want good decisions made regarding the deployment of LED street lighting in South East Queensland.  Click below for their email addresses.

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Lord Mayor - Brisbane City Council

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Mayor - Sunshine Coast Council

Mayor - Noosa Council

We suggest you also identify your local government Councillor and send the email to them too.  Find Councillor email address details here: Brisbane   Ipswich   Logan   Scenic Rim   Gold Coast  Moreton Bay  Sunshine Coast   Somerset Region   Lockyer Valley  Toowoomba  Southern Downs   Gympie Region  South Burnett Region

When you insert your Councillor's email address you should also insert the email address for Councillor Amanda Cooper, who is the Chair of the BCC Infrastructure Committee: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Councillor Cooper must be made aware of puplic concerns about LED street lighting.  If she fails to receive complaint she will fail to act on the issue.

We also suggest you word your complaints as the views of resident of Brisbane rather than the views and concerns of an amateur astronomer.  Amateur astronomy is viewed as a tiny special interest within the broader Brisbane community and can therefore be ignored.  However, please also send astronomy-themed emails to your councillor too if you wish - the bigger the deluge of complaints the better.

We suggest the following Subject line in your email:  Your Community Expects Good Decision-Making on LED Street Lighting.

We suggest you copy & paste, or adapt, the following text into the body of your email:


To the attention:  XXXXXXX

In principle I support the transition to LED street lighting from the perspective of operating cost and greenhouse gas reduction.  However, any rollout must also address the particular characteristics of LED street lights that can negatively impact resident’s quality of life, streetscape ambiance and road safety.

I request your engineers and decision-makers adopt the following recommendations when selecting LED luminaires for installation by your authority.

Recommendation 1:  LED streetlight luminaires, for category V and P roadways and public spaces, must not exceed a correlated colour temperature of 3000K.

Recommendation 2:  That LED street light luminaires selected for deployment be certified by the International Dark-Sky Association for a Fixture Seal of Approval to minimise the negative impact of inappropriate street lighting on residents and the night sky of South-East Queensland.

Recommendation 3:  For Category V roadways LED luminaires must be of full cut-off design and emit less than 10% of their total luminance in the 800 to 900 glare-zone.

Recommendation 4:  For Category P roadways and public spaces LED luminaires must be shielded to at least the 800 level to reduce glare from the LED array.

Recommendation 5:  Streetlight LED luminaires on category V and P roadways must always be installed horizontally with zero upcast tilt.

Recommendation 6:  Luminaires must deliver a well-controlled light distribution that does not contribute to light trespass behind or forward of the luminaire on to private property.

Recommendation 7:  Streetlight luminaire designs must allow easy attachment of post-installation light shields to address any light trespass or glare complaints by nearby residents.

Recommendation 8:  Streetlight LED luminaires must not deliver a total luminous flux or target area illuminance in excess of the minimum level required for the lighting purpose. 

Recommendation 9:  For category P roadways and public spaces LED luminaires must be controlled by adaptive management systems that reduce power consumption when full illumination is not required and respond when triggered by movement of pedestrians, cyclists and cars. 

In order to implement these recommendations the current BCC/Energex LED Street Light Trial will need to incorporate a wider selection of luminaires.  The trialling of a wider range of LED luminaires with better design characteristics will allow your engineers to make a better informed decision on which luminaires to select for Brisbane-wide roll-out.

I also bring to your attention the fact that multiple overseas cities have well demonstrated the implications of poor decision-making in the selection and installation of LED luminaires, for example:  Davis, California; Phoenix, Arizona; Lake Worth, Florida; New York, New York; Chicago, Illinois and others.  You should be aware of the public backlash and expense these authorities suffered from deploying high-glare and poorly shielded 4000K LED street lighting.  My hope is that your organisation will learn from these overseas mistakes and not repeat them here. 

I look forward to your actions to ensure well chosen, well installed and well operated LED street lighting in South East Queensland

Yours sincerely,