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Rights to light revisited

Before rushing to abolish rights to light, we should consider 
the position of homeowners, warns Sarah Dwight

22 March 2013

It is a difficult balance for property owners and developers when considering their rights to light. On one side, there is a need to allow development to take place, but on the other side, there are the rights of existing home owners who have always had the right to enjoy natural light to their properties. The right to light has an impact on any potential construction work on neighbouring land, which could be merely a neighbours’ extension but could be a new development, whether houses, flats or even offices.

The accepted view is that, in a home, just over half the room should be lit by natural light, and, in a commercial building, about half of the room. The minimum standard is the equivalent to the light from one candle, one foot away.

Accepted level

Until recently, a person’s right to light was protected in England and Wales under common l...

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