Two-month Consultation on External Lighting Urge for Legislation without Delay Turn Off Advertising Signs at 11pm

Two-month Consultation on External Lighting
Urge for Legislation without Delay
Turn Off Advertising Signs at 11pm

Green Sense has long been concerned to the seriousness of light pollution in Hong Kong. Excessive external lighting causes waste of energy and aggravates the problem of global warming. Also, it is irritating to residents nearby. Their sleeping quality, health and daily life are seriously affected.

In August 2011, the Government set up Task Force on External Lighting. The Task Force is currently studying different options for regulating the use of external lighting. It is now inviting the opinion of the public. Here are the views of Green Sense:

  1. We support the regulation requiring advertising signs and decorative lighting to be turned off at 11pm. As explained by the Task Force, it is decided with reference to the time adopted for noise nuisance regulation and it meets the general expectation of a darker environment for sleeping. We have also found many governmental premises, for example, outdoor pitches and courts maintained by Leisure and Culture Services Department, have their light turned off at 11pm.

    In fact, according to the survey we conducted a few years ago, many complainants found excessive lighting intruded from windows from around 9 pm annoying and it adversely affected their rest. A regulation prohibiting external lighting from 11 pm is already a great concession.

  2.  The Task Force suggests non-static signs and flashing signs must be turned off at 11pm. There is no exception even if the concerned business is not closed. Green Sense supports its underlying objective and wishes to have more stringent regulation – 10pm instead. It is because flashing signs absolutely cause more serious nuisance to residents nearby. Recent received complaints suggested that flashing signs or video walls are more annoying and irritating than excessive but static lighting.
  3. Apart from the options suggested by the Task Force about turning off external lighting at night, Green Sense suggests also regulating the use of external lighting during daytime, for example, it may be turned on at 6:00pm but not before. Upon careful observation, many advertising signs are on during bright sunny days, wasting much precious energy with however limited advertising effect.
  4. Green Sense strongly urge for legislation without any delay. Our survey has found that over 85% interviewees remarked there were excessive adverting signs and spotlights in the urban area and it was a waste of electricity. As early as in 2007, we sent a letter to Mr. Edward Yau (then Secretary for the Environment). We urged regulation on the abuse of external lighting and proposed suggestions. Sadly, six years later, there is still serious problem of light pollution in Hong Kong.

As seen from previous cases handled, there is only slim chance to solve the problem of light nuisance and abuse of advertising lighting with “guideline” or “chartered scheme”, which carries no legal force. Therefore, we strongly urge the Government to propose as quickly as practicable a clear legislative bill to tackle light pollution, reduce waste of energy and improve the quality of life of citizens.

*Should there is any discrepancy in meaning between the Chinese and English version, the Chinese press release prevails.