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Our history

We have come a long way since our crowd-funding beginnings! We have liaised with decision makers in local and national government in the UK and with the European Parliament. We have brought this under-reported issue to the attention of local and national media and to professionals in many related fields, winning an international award for our efforts to encourage discussion and investigation. We have created much valued resources and supported many individuals all over the world. Here are some highlights from the story so far …

2015 – 2016

LightAware was founded in 2015 by a group of people concerned about the health impact and social exclusion caused by changes in lighting technology.

In 2016 we launched a crowdfunding campaign to establish the charity and create a website.

The first meetings were held with MEPs to discuss lighting regulation.


In 2017 LightAware won an international award in Paris for our “effort to raise awareness of the impact of artificial lighting on human health and well-being and encouraging discussion and investigation into the same”…

Paris conference August 2017

In the UK, we launched the LightAware card and held a ‘street lighting summit’ with leading industry insiders to learn more about the issues involved in LED street lighting, from finance to technology.

Following our discussions, MEPs put questions to the EU Commission highlighting the lack of data on the effects of artificial light on health prior to the ban on incandescent lighting.


In 2018 LightAware Trustees met with representatives from Public Health England and representatives from the Chief Medical Officer for Scotland.

We met with the UK Department of Transport to discuss the need to review the current research on LED and health and identify the gaps in that research.

The EU adopted LightAware’s proposed exemption to the EU Single Lighting Regulation, which aims to ensure incandescent light sources will continue to be available to those that need them.

LightAware Trustees and Ambassadors meeting for our AGM in Cambridge July 2018


In 2019 MEPs submitted questions to the European Parliament, asking what steps were taken to safeguard the health of those at risk from LED lighting.

We continued to provide guidance for people struggling with access to healthcare, and LightAware cards were made available through the Photobiology Unit at Salford Royal hospital. 

In December, we launched a press campaign highlighting the devastating effects of LED Christmas lights, which resulted in coverage in the national press.


In 2020 we launched the German-language version of the LightAware card, following requests from Germany.

German version of the LightAware card

We began our telephone support group – a vital resource especially for those who struggle with computer screens and feel increasingly isolated in an ever-more online world. Lockdown was particularly challenging for those who are sensitive to artificial light.

We liaised with the UK government department responsible for lighting regulation on their public consultation on lighting and incorporating EU lighting regulation into UK law.

Meanwhile the EU introduced a new method of assessing flicker in LED lighting and LightAware lobbied for minimal flicker to be allowed.


In 2021 we published the comprehensive report A bright idea? Adverse health, social and environmental impacts associated with LED street lighting. Download the report here.

This was the result of an in-depth investigation over previous years involving a Freedom of Information request to all councils in England, Scotland and Wales.

The UK government department responsible for lighting carried the LightAware exemption into UK law, but we continued negotiations as to how this will work in practice.


In 2022 we continued to engage with the UK Government to ensure non-LED light bulbs are available to those who need them on health grounds. 

A LightAware representative spoke to the Irish Parliament’s Joint Committee on Disability Matters, highlighting the severe social exclusion of light-disabled people.

We supported a US campaign on street lighting by a citizen with epilepsy who suffers violent seizures from any exposure to LED lighting. This led to an investigation by the State of New York Department of Public Services.


In 2023 LightAware submitted evidence to the House of Lords Science and Technology Committee inquiry into the effects of artificial light and noise on human health.

We provided comprehensive responses to the UK government’s consultation on lighting regulation, and to the House of Lords inquiry into the effects of artificial light and noise on human health.

We relaunched our website for a new era as a membership charity.

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