An exemplar car park lighting scheme benefiting bats, human health and the protection of our starlit skies

The challenge

Dorothy House Hospice Care in Bradford-on-Avon boundaries onto Winsley Mines: a designated site of specific scientific interest, special area of conservation and hibernation roost for the Greater Horseshoe bat. The location also sits within a Cotswold area of outstanding natural beauty (CAONB).

Designs for Lighting (DfL) were tasked with designing a scheme to light the new car park facility. They identified that the lighting for the existing car park, lit by 6m column mounted floodlights, needed improvement: with uncontrolled distribution, high levels of glare and excessive spill light resulting in complaints from adjacent residents. 

Clients and partners


  • Lighting Designer

    Designs for Lighting

  • Client

    Dorothy House

  • Contractor

    MJ Church

Key project requirements

  • Ensure approval for lighting was granted by the local planning authority.
  • Create a sensitive lighting solution which would not be detrimental to the ecologically sensitive boundaries.
  • Strike a balance between satisfying the ecologists’ requirements and ensuring that the light levels for the car park were satisfactory for the client.

The solution

Kirium Pro Mini luminaires, mounted on 4m columns, were selected for their ability to control light distribution, lighting the main car park. DfL worked closely with DW Windsor to create a bespoke luminaire shield which further reduced light spill for the west boundary to the site, ensuring light levels did not exceed 0.5 lux. Due to the sensitivity of the site and the need to minimise light spill at the boundaries, the area is lit to a P Class, rather than ‘recommended’ car park lighting levels. This deviation from the standard was subject to a risk assessment and is successful due to the low speed traffic flow.

Pharola DS (dark-sky) illuminated bollards, are additionally located on the access ramp, providing low levels of amenity lighting for pedestrians accessing the car park extension.

All luminaires feature PIR to dim the luminaires when not needed.

DfL specified warm white colour temperatures of 3000K/80Ra throughout the scheme - known for their lower blue light content than higher colour temperature sources - warmer colour temperatures are now recommended in the latest ILP guidance for Bats and Artificial Lighting in the UK.

It took nearly 12 years to develop and deliver an appropriate lighting strategy for this highly sensitive lighting scheme. The project opened in January, has since been awarded a prestigious ‘Good Lighting’ award by the Commission for Dark Skies.

The design achieved 0% upward light from the installation, which was one factor influencing the Commission for Dark Skies award.

" A key factor in the success of this project was the ability of DW Windsor to work hand-in-hand with DfL to solve issues. Dorothy House Hospice are very happy with the resulting exemplar scheme, achieving benefits to biodiversity, human health, protection of our starlit sky and cost efficiency. The scheme has been praised by local residents, who had previously raised strong objections about the prospect of the car park being lit "

Ryan Carroll, Lighting Designer, Designs for Lighting

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