"There are so many
ways in which energy is wasted, but light pollution must be the most ridiculous"
says Green Party Science and Technology Spokesperson

Images created
by scientist Felix Pharand-DeschÍnes (1) confirm the extent of light
pollution – and so the massive waste of energy – that is taking place every
night of the year from the UK, many countries in Europe and the USA.

The images were compiled
using data gathered by satellites and also show the sharp contrast
between rich western countries and poorer developing countries,
particularly in Africa.

James Abbott, Green
Party Science and Technology Spokesperson said:

"The Government tells us
that we must build more electricity generation capacity, including nuclear
power stations "to keep the lights on". What they routinely fail
to discuss is the obvious need to cut back on energy wastage as
the quickest, most cost effective way of using the energy we already
generate more efficiently.

There are so
many ways in which energy is wasted, but light pollution must be the
most ridiculous. Lighting the sky benefits nobody. This problem is caused by
both poor design and control but also poor regulation. So every night of the
year the UK has swathes of badly designed lights left on all night
and even where lights are of a better design, there are frequent examples
of waste such as empty car parks left lit all night, or office blocks
blazing away in the small hours, or buildings floodlit well after the time
when most people are in bed and so unable to appreciate them.

Sensor and switching controls
are available now to make sure we can save energy in lighting – both indoors
and outside. More efficient and better directed lighting designs are also
available. Yet the Government and many local authorities are doing far too
little to ensure that this technology is actually used to maximise energy
efficiency and so reduce the need to build ever more generation capacity in the
first place. A good starting place would be the planning system, yet all too
often national and local policies on lighting are weak or poorly
implemented. 

A worrying trend is the
increasingly intense lighting of city centres. Buildings are lit ever more
brightly, lit adverts proliferate and increasingly lasers and
"skybeams" are being used. This has been taken to extreme
lengths in cities such as Hong Kong, leading to campaigns to turn down the
glare so that people can sleep. Yet even as this profligate use of
electricity spreads, millions of people in the world do not have the basic
resources to live. Arctic sea ice continues to melt. It is a crazy
situation.   

By using technology to make
sure that light is directed to where it is needed, when it is needed, we
can reduce wasted energy and this will help in the vital battle against
dangerous climate change and lead to other positive benefits including
better quality star filled skies and reduced impact on nocturnal wildlife."

 The Green Party has long
championed the need to reduce the wasted energy that causes light
pollution.

The 2010 General Election
Manifesto included a commitment to:

Increase the tranquillity
of our urban environments, with less litter, less noise, reduced light pollution
and more green spaces. Everyone should live within walking distance of natural
green space.

The Green Party Policies for
a Sustainable Society include:

CY543 The Green Party
will introduce legislation to halt and reverse the spread of light pollution in
the countryside in order to protect the dark night sky and to minimise
disturbance to wildlife from artificial light. There will be a presumption
against new lighting in the countryside – this will be incorporated into all
Local Development Frameworks. Improved lighting design and the use of more
efficient lighting will be required for new developments or replacement of
existing lighting. Energy conservation, including the removal or reduction of
unnecessary lighting, will be promoted. National policy that encourages local
renewable energy installations will be retained, strengthened and
enforced. 

In 2007 the Greens welcomed
the STARLIGHT DECLARATION

http://www.greenparty.org.uk/news/1802

And in 1994 and 2003,
the Greens supported the British Astronomical Association/CPRE campaigns
against light pollution.

 

ENDS

 

Note (1) http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2170422/Revealed-The-stunning-images-Europe-wastes-energy-pollutes-light-Africa-South-America-Asia-darkness.html

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/world-news/light-pollution-how-western-world-1136843