Enlightening changes
The Official Gazette of the Government of Catalonia has published the Fiscal, Financial and Administrative Measures Act, which includes the modification of the Environmental Regulation of Street Lighting Act for the protection of the nocturnal environment in three precepts: the obsolescence of street lighting installations, the activities subject to prevention and control regulations, and the operating limitations on lighting for ski slopes.
Obsolete street lighting installations
The new act establishes the existing typology of street lighting installations that are considered to be obsolete, inefficient or unsuitable. These installations are:
  • High pressure mercury vapour lamps that have a substantial effect on the biodiversity of an area and are potential sources of contaminants after use
  • Lamps located in zones of maximum protection against light pollution other than sodium-vapour or other technologies with similar spectral characteristics
  • Lamps that emit a luminous flux greater than 50% over the plain parallel to the horizon, in other words, those that direct a large part of their light towards the sky
These components will no longer be permitted to operate after a specified date, which depends on the ownership and location of the installation. The stipulated periods are as follows:
  • Installations in zones of maximum protection: 31 March 2016
  • Other installations under public ownership: 31 December 2016
  • Other installations under private ownership: end of 2018
The Directorate General for Environmental Quality estimates that replacing these types of street lighting will save 100 GWh of electricity and €18M annually. This means the new installations will have paid for themselves in approximately five years.
Activities subject to prevention and control regulations
From now on environmental checks on lighting prescriptions will be carried out every six years, thus extending a period that in some cases could have been as little as one year. This measure rationalises and reduces the administrative burden. It also simplifies the procedures for activities with exterior lighting without diminishing the protection of the environment and will save over €100,000 a year across all the installations.
Lighting on ski slopes
The regulation clarifies the interpretation of the limitations applicable to ski slope lighting (except for extraordinary sporting events) and leaves the concretion of the conditions to the regulatory development. Under the regulations it is also possible to set the hours during which lighting can be allowed, as well as other conditions aimed at the protection of the nocturnal environment and fauna.