Light and Environmental Heath
Although no planning permission is required for light itself (large structures as a means of producing light are a different matter), it is still necessary to consider the matter of Environmental Health: the nuisance factor. Beams of light pointing directly at neighbours’ windows might cause complaints, leading to legal action.
Another potential nuisance is a light fitted with a PIR motion sensor. A PIR (passive infrared) sensor is an electronic device that detects and measures changes in infrared light in its field of view. These devices generate no energy for detection purposes. They work entirely by detecting infrared waves – and, importantly, the changes in the waves – given off by other objects; hence the term ‘passive’. If these motion sensor lights are set up in positions that cause light to be triggered by passing traffic and pedestrians, neighbours might get a bit annoyed.
RCD and IP Rating
Outdoor electrical devices are, of course, exposed to water – an excellent conductor of electricity, and therefore a great danger to health and property. To reduce the risk of electric shock, legislation demands that an RCD (residual current device) is fitted to the consumer unit (fuse box). An RCD is an electrical wiring device that disconnects a circuit when the electric current between the energized conductor and the return conductor is uneven. However, the RCD provides no protection against overload or a short circuit when there is no current leakage, and so a circuit breaker (fuse) is still necessary.
Outdoor sockets are available with front covers that enclose the plug, providing a high IP rating. IP (Ingress Protection) rating measures the degree of protection against solid objects (first digit) and water (second digit). For outdoor use it is advisable to use IP68 rated sockets, indicating total resistance to dust (6) and water (8).
IEE Wiring Regulations
When it comes to choosing light bulbs for your garden, you might want to consider bugs and their attraction to light and heat. Insects use UV (ultraviolet) and infrared light for navigation. LED (light-emitting diode) bulbs give off less heat than incandescent bulbs, and they also emit very little light from the UV spectrum. Most insects are unaware of light waves in the yellow part of the spectrum, so it makes sense to use yellow bulbs.
Any outdoor electrical installation must comply with the latest IEE Wiring Regulations and Part P of the Building Regulations. An electrician from LCD Electrical Services can safely install your outside electric lighting, allowing you to enjoy long summer evenings in the garden and to move around the outside of your home with more confidence.