Homes, businesses and streets will go dark for night to help mark International Dark Skies Week next month.
The first Big Switch Off takes place on Saturday April 10 from 9.30pm and is organised by Ambleside Action For A Future and the Dark Skies Cumbria Project.
It aims to raise awareness about the value of dark skies for people’s enjoyment and health, for wildlife to flourish, and the need to tackle climate change by reducing energy consumption.
Gillian Kelly, Ambleside Action For A Future Co-ordinator, said: “We are privileged to live in a beautiful area and we know we must reduce our ‘carbon footprint’ as individuals and as a community.
“Electricity consumption is rising rapidly, switching to renewables is vital and low energy LEDs are now the norm. We must also look to reduce the wasteful use of energy and ask ourselves, do we really need so many lights on all through the night?
“Unlike some environmental problems, such as plastics in our lakes and oceans which will take decades to clear up, we can switch off lights in an instant.
“Working with Friends of the Lake District’s Dark Skies Project Officer Jack Ellerby, we are also asking people to use well shielded lights so the beam shines downwards and not up into the night sky.
“The Big Switch Off will hopefully also encourage home and business owners to install timers so their lights go off overnight when they are not needed, or open for business.”
Groups supporting or taking part in the Big Switch Off include St Mary’s Church, Ambleside C of E Primary School and the University of Cumbria, which will turn its outside campus lights off overnight.
Steve Crook, Chairman of Lakes Parish Chamber of Trade, is also backing the event.
He said: “COVID-19 lockdowns have hit our businesses terribly, particularly our hospitality and non-essential retailer sectors.
“Enjoying the dark skies especially during the quieter winter months offers an important attraction and reason to come and stay in Ambleside.
“Equally, as businesses we need to continuously look at our overhead costs, and with energy prices going only one way, if we can reduce our electricity use so much the better.”
For more information about Friends of the Lake District’s Dark Skies Cumbria Project, visit www.darkskiescumbria.org.uk