Input invited on draft dark sky position statement

Western Australia’s celestial landscape is an extraordinary natural asset. Our night skies offer exceptional viewing opportunities for scientific and recreational star gazers and are opening tourism opportunities.

As mentioned in previous WA Foundation newsletters, several communities in areas of WA where stargazing is spectacular are working to keep the night sky as dark as possible by reducing light pollution.

Now, The Western Australian Planning Commission is seeking public comment on a draft planning policy to protect our dark and night sky locations through limiting light and dust pollution. The draft Dark Sky and Astrotourism Position Statement provides principles and flexible cost-neutral land use planning measures to reduce orange haze-creating pollution from dust and artificial and natural light.

The policy will enable planning decision-makers to consider pollution sources and the impact of the amount, direction, time and type of artificial lighting in an area or proposed development on the night sky.

The draft Position Statement has been developed in consultation with the Shire of Gingin and City of Wanneroo, the Gravity Discovery Centre, Perth’s resident observatories and selected Government agencies.

Local communities could benefit from the proposed measures in the draft position statement, which encourage astrotourism offerings such as desert tours, traditional Aboriginal cultural experiences, nature-based camping, themed festivals, photography and scientific learning centres.