Things to consider before you put up Christmas lights

Twinkling lights and festive decorations are the best ways to bring Christmas ambience into your home and the community. Kids love the displays on properties around the area, and some homes go all out with hundreds of lights to make it a special time for all. However, although this is the season for good tidings, for some outlandish displays and bright illuminations well into the night can cause tension amongst neighbours.

On the whole, most people love this time of year. However, if you’re thinking about putting lights up outside your home this Christmas, there are a host of things to consider to keep the peace.

Consider health and safety

With all the excitement of Christmas, small things can be overlooked including general health and safety. Whether you are hanging Christmas lights inside or outside your home, there are a few things to consider before putting them up. In extreme cases, lights can cause a fire.

So take a look at the key elements to check before and after you decorate your property.

  • Test the lights before hanging them up to check they are in working order
  • Test fire and smoke detectors before the Christmas period and change batteries if required
  • Turn lights off when you leave the house
  • If you have a real tree, turn the lights off before watering it
  • Be aware of trailing cables and avoid running wires near pathways or driveways
  • Ensure lighting is suitable for outdoor conditions (waterproof etc.)
  • Keep pets and children away from cables and lighting to prevent accidents

Consideration for your neighbours

Most people get into the festive spirit. However, some individuals prefer not to celebrate. Everyone is different so considering how your neighbours feel about Blackpool illuminations next door should play a role in the quantity and location of your decorations.

Street facing lights don’t usually pose too much of an issue as long as they are switched off at a sensible time. It is also advisable to consider whether any lights directly face neighbours windows, as this can cause a nuisance even if they have their curtains closed.

Flashing lights are possibly one of the most significant irritants for neighbours. So be sure to limit these in outside spots if possible and don’t place them near windows.

Laws and regulation

Alongside general health and safety, plus consideration for others, there is a law that covers complaints from the effects of excessive artificial light. This law is called ‘statutory nuisance’ and ensures that artificial light does not:

  • Unreasonably and substantially interfere with the use or enjoyment of a home or other premises
  • Injure or likely to injure health

If a complaint is made about artificial lighting, your local council can issue an abatement order for you to remove or restrict the light. However, in many cases, just talking it out with your neighbour’s or local community can appease the situation.

For more information on putting Christmas lights up and the guidance surrounding the ‘statutory nuisance’ law, take a look at:

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/artificial-light-nuisances-how-councils-deal-with-complaints