Cornwall Council has defended a decision to leave lights on all night at an industrial building which was praised for its energy efficiency.

The Enterprising Space for Advanced Manufacturing (ESAM) building is at a remote location to the north of St Austell near the Eden Project.

But it has been criticised after locals noticed that lights were being left on around the clock despite the building being described as having a “high level of energy efficiency”.

The comments come after Cornwall Council declared a climate change emergency earlier this year and said it would be looking at ways of reducing its carbon emissions.

Local resident Lucy Tickner highlighted that  the ESAM building was causing unnecessary light pollution due to lights being left on at all hours.

She said: “I have lived in Penwithick village for 15 years and over that time have seen a number of developments, especially to the natural wildlife areas at the top near Carclaze.

Falmouth Packet:

The ESAM building in St Austell with lights on, which residents say is causing light pollution Image: Lucy Tickner

“Having such a lovely dark sky for many years this building has all the lights on every night all night. The light pollution and glow is awful. They are incredibly bright and a sight you can easily see from as far as Minions.

“The company could turn them off at night as they are not for any benefit apart from advertisement.”

In response Cornwall Council said the lights had to be on at all hours due to people working at the building 24 hours a day.

However Lucy said she had walked past the building at 7pm last night and not seen anyone there.

In a statement Cornwall Council said: “ESAM is a multi-occupancy building and is available and accessible to its tenants on a 24/7 basis to support individual business’ needs.

“Depending on attendance on any particular day, some degree of internal and external lighting is often required into the evenings and potentially overnight. This is for both operational and health and safety reasons.

“If, as some regularly do, tenants are working late into the evening, we would expect some of the internal industrial unit/office lights to be switched on, together with stairwells and some of the other common circulation areas within the building.

"All lighting within the building is controlled by an ‘absence detection’ system which is designed to turn the lights off automatically when units/areas have been vacated for some time. This system forms part of the wider energy management system at ESAM and ensures the operation of the building’s illumination systems, all of which utilise low energy LED technology, are kept to a minimum.

“The team has reviewed the external lighting control system as a review of CCTV footage showed some areas of the building being illuminated overnight that are not necessarily required for health and safety or security reasons.

“A visit has now taken place and appropriate adjustments have been made. Hopefully this will resolve the issues that have been causing concern.”