A restaurant next to the scenic Azure Window in Dwejra has been ordered to remove powerful lights that are spoiling views of the night sky.

An enforcement notice was issued by the planning authority after the lighting conditions were in breach of the permit, a spokesman said.

The light pollution issue had been highlighted in a letter to The Times by Joseph Caruana, a Maltese lecturer at Oxford University’s Department of Physics.

“This summer, I visited Dwejra with a few colleagues who were keen on visiting the islands and observe the reputedly starry night sky of Dwejra, a site which, supposedly, is protected as a Dark-Sky Heritage Area by Mepa, as described in its 2002 local plan for Gozo and Comino,” Mr Caruana said.

Instead of seeing the beautiful “starry night”, he was “saddened” by the “great change” since he last visited.

“A change that was brought about by a restaurant that is spilling light everywhere, serving not only to severely compromise the once pristine view of the night sky but also to threaten the colony of Cory’s Shearwater nesting at these cliffs,” he wrote.

A planning authority spokesman said that, following the enforcement notice, the restaurant’s owner removed the “prominent rope lights fixed on the uppermost level on the façade”.

He will also alter other lights that were not as stipulated in the permit conditions.

Mepa “is monitoring to ensure that the conditions are fully adhered to”, he said.

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