Cornwall Council and Caradon Observatory are to apply for an International Dark Sky Designation for Bodmin Moor.

If the bid is successful, the designation would formally recognise the exceptional quality of the night sky over Bodmin Moor and help protect it from light pollution. 

Looe councillor Edwina Hannaford, Cornwall Council’s portfolio holder for planning, said: ’The quality of the night sky over Bodmin Moor is amongst the best in the world, thanks to its low levels of light pollution. 

’Cornwall Council already seeks to maintain dark skies through the Local Plan, and achieving the International Dark Sky Designation for Bodmin Moor would help protect our wonderfully starry sky for local residents and draw in visitors during the winter months, boosting our local economy.

’It would also provide a focus for awareness and learning about the stars and solar systems and benefit wildlife and the health of local communities.’

The International Dark-Sky Association (IDA) designations are for places that have an exceptionally high quality night sky and have made a commitment and put partnerships in place to work to protect and enhance it.

Other parts of the UK with designations include Exmoor, Dartmoor, South Downs, Brecon Beacons, Elan Valley, Snowdonia and parts of Northumberland and Scotland.

The area proposed for inclusion in the Bodmin Moor International Dark Sky Designation is the portion of the moor that lies within the Cornwall Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty plus a two-mile buffer zone around it. 

Dr Wayne Thomas and Ken Bennett from Caradon Observatory said: ’An International Dark Sky Designation would help preserve the beauty of our skies for future generations and to allow people who visit the Moor to be inspired by what the universe has to offer.’

A month-long public consultation held last year found overwhelming public support for the bid.  The Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE), Visit Cornwall, Devon and Cornwall Police, and many local councils, businesses, observatories and astronomers also support the bid.

The aim is to finalise the application and submit it to the IDA at the end of March, with a decision expected in June.