Plan to preserve dark sky

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PLANS have been laid to create one of the world’s biggest dark sky preserves in the North East.

Managers at Kielder Water & Forest Park Development Trust, and Northumberland National Park Authority, hope to attract visitors to the wild Border country to appreciate the inky black of a moonless night.

Worsening light pollution means fewer Britons than ever have been able to enjoy the spectacular sight of countless stars.

The public will be consulted in Northumberland National Park on plans to protect 400 square miles of countryside from poor lighting which destroys the night vista.

Should residents agree, it will earn the designation from the International Dark Skies Association, based in Tucson, US.

Worldwide, there are only 12 such preserves, and Northumberland would become the third biggest.

Those behind the project will talk to residents, parish councils and businesses to explain the proposals and gauge feedback before applying.

A spokesman said: “If successful, Kielder Water & Forest Park would become England’s first dark sky park, while adjoining Northumberland National Park would be Europe’s largest dark sky reserve – both committed to reducing light pollution and engaging the public about our dark skies.”

Some 30,000 tourists have already visited Kielder’s £450,000 observatory since it opened in 2008.