New Czech rules will put a lid on light pollution

The Environment Ministry wants Czechia to become a leader in an overlooked health issue. Staff

Written by Staff Published on 07.02.2023 09:55:00 (updated on 08.02.2023) Reading time: 1 minute

A regulation to limit light pollution or light smog will take effect in Czechia on March 1. It is intended to lower the negative impacts on the health of people and wildlife.

When installing new lighting points, both a minimum and maximum extent of illumination will be set for both the public and non-public sectors.

The level of artificial lighting at night has been rising worldwide by 10 percent annually. “Over 80 percent of people in the world live under an artificially lit night sky, even more in Europe. The new standard will protect people and nature from light pollution,” Deputy Environment Minister Petr Hladík said on Twitter.

The new rules affect lighting around roads, parking lots, pavements and bike paths, warehouses and halls, sports fields, monuments, airports, advertising billboards, and LED panels. It will not be valid retroactively, so currently installed lighting won’t have to be changed. It will only affect new lighting.

Light pollution upsets natural rhythms

Hladík said the legislation should have an impact on both wildlife and people. “The populations of insects and invertebrates have been rapidly falling in the long run, mainly in towns and villages,” Hladík said, according to ČTK.

The lights disturb the established biorhythms connected to food and reproduction, Hladík said.

The Czech Republic should be a leader in this field, he said. “It is a topic that is not dealt with globally. We want it not only for the communal sphere but also for the non-public sphere such as production plants, logistic centers, and parking lots at department stores,” he said.

“We want the topic of light pollution to become global and a similar legislation to be applied on the European and global level,” Hladík said.

This is not Czechia’s first attempt to address light pollution. Since 2002, street lamps have to be shielded to direct their light down, and not above the horizon. Astronomers also supported efforts to reduce light pollution as it interferes with their work.

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