What is the difference between 'Rights of Light' and "Daylight Sunlight" assessments ?
A Right of Light is an easement in common law. It is a private legal right to one’s property.
A Daylight Sunlight assessment is a planning issue. It is a document considered by the planners only for potential development schemes.
Although these issues are both a measurement of light they are significantly different. Please see below for further information;
What is "Rights of Light"?
In English and Welsh land law, a Right of Light is an easement enjoyed to a property, known as the dominant tenement. It is the benefit to receive a specific amount of sky over a neighbours land, known as the servient tenement. If that sky is blocked by development, to the extent of causing a light nuisance by injuring the Right of Light, there is grounds for remedy. The injured party is able to seek injunction over the offending structure, however many people settle for compensation to ‘release’ their light.
There are various ways of acquiring a Right of Light easement, but by far the most common method is via prescription, authorised by Section 3 of the Prescription Act 1832. This highlights that where a window has enjoyed uninterrupted light for a period of 20 years, it will become an ‘ancient light’ and with benefit from a Right of Light.
Natural light is an important commodity and it is recognised in law that if this is reduced to beyond a level that is for ‘reasonable use by the ordinary notions of mankind’ it becomes an actionable loss. This ‘level’ is generally agreed to be an adequately lit space via natural light to about 50-55% of the room area, any less than this and there may be a claim.
What can be done about it?
Typically in urban areas like cities and towns, new development will see a dramatic increase in the building massing compared to what was on the site prior. If you feel that a new development, planned or recently built is infringing on your light, you may have an actionable loss. The developer must address any actionable injury’s before building, otherwise he risks having an injunction brought against them in the future. We are able to provide details of Rights of Light consultants that can advise you on this matter and assist in making a claim from the developer.
What is a "Daylight Sunlight" assessment?
When applying for planning permission in a densely populated area, the local planning authority may wish for a Daylight Sunlight assessment to accompany the application. This will assist the planners in considering the viability of the proposed scheme. The common method of assessment is using the Building Research Establishments guidance ‘Site Layout Planning for Daylight and Sunlight 2011’. This guide gives recommended standards for Daylighting, Sunlighting and Overshadowing to be adhered to so as not to reduce these levels and cause a significant impact.
The means of assessment is typically done using 3D modelling of the building environment with further software analysis to produce exact results. We are able to provide details of specialists in this field, that can advise you on your options and preparing the necessary report to suit your requirements.
Do you carry out Daylight and Sunlight or Rights of Light Survey work?
If you are a surveyor who specialises in producing Daylight or Rights of Light Reports and you would like your contact details to be listed on our website please complete our form to apply for a no obligation trial.
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