As the festive season approaches, the sight of brightly coloured and dazzling light displays in and around our cities, towns and villages has become increasingly more common.
Love them or hate them, the lights and decorations will come out every year so here are some helpful tips and the relevant rules to keep in mind when transforming your own home into a magical Christmas winter wonderland:
1. Avoid high-speed, intensive, disco style flashing lights – there are Planning Regulations relating to external lights and their us;
2. Only put your lights on for set, limited times and avoid the early hours so as not to keep the neighbours awake - this should assist in avoiding a private or public nuisance claim;
3. If you are playing music, only do so at such a level so as not to disturb the neighbours, otherwise a Noise Abatement Notice from the Local Planning Authority could be served and your equipment seized
4. Use your own electricity supply- while it may be more convenient to connect to a streetlight or a neighbour’s garage socket, any unauthorised connections could constitute theft and possibly a breach of Building Regulations; and
5. If you’ve created a mini tourist attraction featuring the nativity scene in your garage, remember the Charity Commission has strict rules about the collection of donations for charitable causes and, of course, if you do have members of the public visiting, check you have the required third party liability insurance in place!
So, in summary, ordinary festive external lighting is generally acceptable to all but creating your own town centre scale yuletide attraction could bring its own festive legal issues; Happy Christmas!