Dark skies and economic progress are both important – leader comment

For centuries, light has been associated with economic and philosophical progress.

The Milky Way is a wonderous sight that many of us simply never see (Picture: Sylvan Buckley/SWNS)

And so it might seem a bit odd, in the home of the Scottish Englightenment, to be extolling the virtues of darkness.

But modern science has demonstrated the importance of both light and dark to the human body clock as well as the rhythms of the natural world.

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And our fondness for artificial light has reached such proportions that many of us miss out on the wonders of the night sky.

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Scotland one of few places you can still see Milky Way

A third of the world’s population can no longer see our galaxy, the Milky Way, because its starlight is drowned out by street lights, while 83 per cent are affected by ‘light pollution’.

So places like the International Dark Sky Park in Tomintoul and Glenlivet are precious.

The Scotsman is not in a position to cast judgement on Chivas Brothers’ plans for a “24/7” visitor centre in the park, which have been condemned by the Astronomer Royal for Scotland. But we hope a compromise can be found – perhaps a different location – that preserves the special darkness while enabling a project that is likely to be a welcome boost to the economy.