Lincoln Consistory Court: Collier Ch, November 2001
A petition was granted for the installation of modest floodlighting at the parish church, such floodlighting to be operated until 11pm on Saturdays, Sundays and special occasions between October and March. The principal issues related to concern for the bat population that lived in the church roof and general concerns about light pollution. An assessment was undertaken and conditions were imposed to minimise the level of lighting, to minimise the risk of disturbing the bats (to the satisfaction of English Nature) and to minimise light pollution. The chancellor referred to the Conservation (Natural Habitats, &c.) Regulations 1994, SI 1994/2716, and stated that he expected there to be consultation with English Nature in all petitions in the diocese where there was evidence of bat activity and a chance that there might be disturbance to bats. The chancellor reviewed recent authorities on the Bishopsgate questions, indicating that tests of 'reasonable necessity' were unnecessarily restrictive. The chancellor asked himself the following questions in determining the petition:
(i) Is what is proposed a reasonable thing to do within the curtilage of the church?
(ii) If so, will some or all of the proposals adversely affect the character of the church as a building of special architectural and historical interest or adversely affect other community interests?
(iii) If there will be an adverse effect on any of those interests then is the loss that will be occasioned proportionate to the benefit that will be gained from the proposal?
(2002) 6 Ecc LJ 414