Astronomers gazing at the stars over the Vale of Belvoir are now enjoying a much better experience thanks to the efforts of one of the area’s oldest businesses.
Employees at Barnstone Cement Works have made major adjustments to the plant’s lighting to help establish the only ‘dark sky area’ in south Nottinghamshire, making it easier to view planets, stars and other celestial bodies through a telescope.
The company, which celebrated its 150th anniversary last year, replaced external sodium with LED lighting and re-angled outdoor lights to focus on the areas needed on the ground in a bid to improve night-time visibility.
Representatives of Nottingham Astronomical Society, which owns and operates an observatory near Cotgrave, were impressed when they toured the works to see what had been done to enhance the ‘Dark Skies’ initiative.
Roy Gretton, the society’s vice-president, said: “We have been working hard to create this unique Dark Sky area around Barnstone and the cement plant is one of many businesses we have approached for help.
“It was fantastic that Barnstone Cement Works were able to help us - this has really made a difference for anyone who takes an interest in astronomy in this area.”
As well as helping the astronomers, the lighting changes have also benefited the cement Works by improving light quality on its grounds and work areas, producing significant energy and cost savings and also helping it meet environmental protection standards.
Josie Morrissey, environmental co-ordinator at the company, said: “We are committed to enhancing the local environment, whether that is the land, water or sky, so we were only too happy to help by carrying out light adjustment to avoid sky glow.
“We’d like to encourage other local businesses to consider their lighting use. For us it’s part of being a responsible business and, equally importantly, a good neighbour.”