THE Isle of Wight Council is being encouraged to support a fresh bid which would see the Island join an exclusive global family of Dark Sky Parks.

Among its many benefits and attractions, the Island could soon be recognised for what can only be seen in the dark.

A new application to the International Dark Skies Association (IDA) could see an area stretching between Freshwater, Chale and the edge of Newport, designated a Dark Sky Park.

These are large areas of unpolluted night sky where, on cloudless nights, it is possible to see thousands of stars, the Milky Way and other celestial delights.

A report recommending the council supports the bid is due to go to Cabinet next Thursday (December 16).

Councillor Jonathan Bacon, Cabinet member for the environment, said Dark Sky status would be a clear and visible demonstration of our commitment, as an Island and accredited UNESCO Biosphere, to protecting our starry skies.

He said: "When we think of our natural resources, we think of water and we think of trees, but looking up and being able to see the stars is another natural resource to be protected.

"It’s a wonderful thing to see a meteorite streak across the night sky, or to look up and appreciate the brilliance of the Milky Way, our home galaxy, arching overhead during the summer months.

"It’s absolutely something we need to protect for generations to come.

"Sadly, for much of the population, these sights have already been lost ­— obscured from view by a veil of artificially produced light from streetlights, advertising boards and flood lights."

Dark Skies are special areas where there are low levels of light pollution.

Currently, there are 64 Dark Sky areas around the world, including the Channel Island of Sark, the Brecon Beacons National Park and Dumfries and Galloway Dark Sky Reserve.

To help achieve the designation, the Island application is expected to require replacing the LED street lighting lanterns within the proposed Dark Sky Park to meet the requirements of the IDA.

This requires lighting with a different level of 'warmth' than the lighting currently being used.

You can read the full report here.