In Upper Austria it gets dark – the street lights have to be turned off at night

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It will soon be dark in the communities of Upper Austria! From May 1, street lighting will be switched off between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. if safety permits. According to state environmental councilor Stefan Kainder (Greens), we are the first federal state to take active action against light pollution.

On May 1, the amendment to the state law on environmental protection with additional paragraphs for light protection will come into effect in Upper Austria. This makes us the first federal state to “take active action against light pollution,” Environment Councilor Stefan Kaineder (Greens) said on Wednesday. Public lighting hours in communities are generally limited from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. “It will remain light where people are,” the state council made clear.

The basic principle is that in the future, only as much light may shine at night as is necessary so as not to endanger safety on the street. With this in mind, municipalities are now being called on to establish binding service times tailored to their needs on the streets in question.

Old systems are being converted
Furthermore, public lighting may only have an environmentally and health-friendly warm light color and the beam angle of the lanterns may be a maximum of 70 degrees. These requirements apply from May to all new lighting systems in public spaces; Old systems must be converted by 2029.

Ultimately, the decision whether to turn off or dim street lights is made by the communities themselves; federal highways or city highways are excluded due to their jurisdiction. Kaineder believes that communities are very interested in saving energy. Until now, however, they lacked the legal certainty to turn off the lights. This arose due to the change in the law.

Evaluation in two years
The nighttime landscape is now recognized as a “protected asset” in Upper Austria, he said, pleased with the first step in the fight against light pollution and the careless use of artificial light. In two years, it will be evaluated whether the law actually ensures darker nights and thus “more restful sleep for people” and safer living conditions for nocturnal animals.

Source: Krone

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