Great Leighs Racecourse – please object to the latest planning application (UPDATED)

UPDATE (26/08/08): Supposedly due to a “testing” process, the floodlights were on well into the early hours on this morning – blasting 2MW of intense light energy into the skies which could be seen as far as 6 miles away (if not further).

Light pollution from racecourse at 1AM

Light pollution from racecourse at 1AM

UPDATE (22/08/08): Below is a photograph showing just how bad these lights are. Note that this photo was taken two miles away from the site. The plume of light pollution goes up to the zenith, illuminating the clouds.

Great Leighs Racecourse light pollution

Great Leighs Racecourse light pollution

This following has been brought to our attention. Light pollution is a major issue in our region and if we want there to be any dark sky in the area we need sites like the new racecourse to take a much, much more considered approach to large scale lighting. Please try to make a difference and let the council aware of the problem – it only takes a few minutes to send out an email.

What used to be the Essex Showground in the countryside is being turned into a forest of massive metal poles with the most intensive floodlighting imaginable. By day it is completely out of character and by night it is simply indescribable.

There are over 1000 lights proposed, consuming nearly 2 megawatts of power, supplied by a fossil fuel burning generator, adding to climate change. Whilst these lights are on they will be burning enough energy to completely power a small town. It flies in the face of energy saving efforts in Essex. The development is contrary to countryside policies and the Council’s own policies on sustainability.

Local residents are being badly disturbed, as can be imagined, and have started complaining following the first race night last week and 3 successive nights of being blasted by light for “testing”. The light pollution is extremely severe even from many miles away, ruining the night sky and with the potential to seriously disturb nocturnal wildlife. The 2004 press release from the course claiming that the lights would minimise light pollution was completely misleading.

The course is being built up – the current proposal is to use the lights 2 evenings a week, all evening – but more is planned to make it a “leisure destination” which means more traffic on the roads and more pressure for bigger roads linked to it such as the A120.

There is also a serious risk of causing road crashes as the Council has allowed the development to take place right next to the dual carriageway A131, and there is no screening at all from the lights.

The Council has made a dreadful planning decision. A racecourse for daytime use might have been OK, but this is specifically designed as substantially a night time course to generate TV coverage and betting and that has been allowed to override protection of the countryside and the environment.

A large number of objections to this latest application might make the Council reconsider its position.

Please write to Chelmsford Borough Council quoting application reference 08/00603/FUL and object to the latest application for Great Leighs Racecourse.

You can write to


Posted on 20 August, 2008, in Astronomy News and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. I agree. They should fit small headlights to both sides of the horses head rather than having the sky lit up with floodlights.

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