Legislation, standards and guidelines

Some countries already have regulations and legal provisions to prevent the excessive and inefficient use of artificial lighting outdoors. In particular, legislation and codes have been introduced to protect astronomical observation sites, to promote energy savings and to prevent light trespass.

Light pollution regulations in Austria

Standards:

The standards should be observed for legal protection and to ensure compliance with the current state of the art.

The Austrian standard for the prevention of light pollution is ÖNORM O 1052 “Light immissions - measurement and assessment” (2012). It defines limit values and describes ways of producing effective light and avoiding negative impacts of light on the human habitat and environment.

Most standards for various lighting purposes (street lighting, sports facilities, workplaces, etc.) define minimum standards of illumination and maintenance requirements. For economic and ecological reasons, the maintenance intervals should be treated as limit values and should only be exceeded minimally if at all. This is easily achieved with the appropriate selection of low-polluting luminaires and long-life lamps and by defining maintenance and cleaning cycles.

Guidelines:

The Austrian Outdoor Lighting Guideline – Light that is more Use than Harm (2018) is a national guide to planning eco-friendly outdoor lighting installations. The guidelines were drawn up and published on the basis of a decision taken by the Ombudsmen for the Environment of the various Austrian regions.

Österreichischer Leitfaden Außenbeleuchtung

Street lighting standards and regulations

There is no explicit legal requirement to operate street lighting, but it can be derived from various standards and legal norms (general duty of care Art. 1295 ABGB, public ways liability Art. 1319a ABGB, building liability Art.1319 ABGB and Road Traffic Act). There has been no supreme court ruling in Austria to the effect that street lighting was the cause of an accident or that the illumination of a zebra crossing was problematical.

ÖNORM EN 13201, Part 2-5 Road Lighting (2004): In all EU countries, this series of standards is used for planning public lighting systems.

ÖNORM O 1055 Road lighting - Selection of lighting classes - Rules for the implementation of CEN/TR 13201-1 (2017): includes provisions for dimming during off-peak periods.

ÖNORM O 1051 Road lighting - Lighting of Conflict Areas (2007): contains recommendations for lighting zebra crossings, roundabouts, car parks, etc.

RVS (Guidelines and Regulations for Highways) 05.06.11 and 05.06.12: includes limit values and criteria to avoid adverse effects of artificial lighting (e.g. illuminated advertising) on road users.

© Stefanie Suchy
© Christoph Malin

Standard and guide for sports facility lighting

ÖNORM EN 12193 Light and Lighting – Sports Facility Lighting (1999)

ÖISS (Austrian Institute for School and Sports Facility Construction) Lighting Guide for Outdoor Facilities (2012)

Standard for Outdoor Workplace Lighting

ÖNORM EN 12464 Light and Lighting – Lighting of Workplaces, Part 2 Outdoor Workplaces

Light pollution laws and regulations in other countries (a selection)

Slovenia: law designed to curb inefficient lighting and light pollution (2007)

Slowenisches Gesetz gegen Lichtverschmutzung, Übersetzung durch Wiener Umweltanwaltschaft

ZDF – Lichtverschmutzung in Slowenien

France: ordinance on light pollution control and energy savings (2013)

The regulation prohibits the use of window display and facade lighting for public buildings and shops between 1 and 6 a.m. Alternatively, it can be based on the opening hours, i.e. the lighting may be switched on one hour before opening time at the earliest and must be switched off one hour after closing time at the latest. There are exceptions for festive periods and tourist areas.

Italy: laws against light pollution in many regions, such as Veneto (1997), Lombardy (since 2000) and Trentino-South Tyrol (2011)

In South Tyrol, the law against light pollution includes the following provisions: Lighting must be reduced by at least 30 percent between midnight and 6 a.m. Illuminated signs must be switched off between midnight and 6 a.m. Skybeamers are prohibited. Illuminated facades may not exceed a maximum luminance of 2 cd/m2 and must be switched off at midnight (winter) or 1 a.m. (summer). Exceptions apply to seasonal Christmas lighting.

Kriterien gegen Lichtverschmutzung in Trentino-Südtirol

Spain: laws against light pollution in some regions, e.g. Canary Islands (1988), Catalonia (2001) and Andalusia (2007)

Germany: guideline on the measurement and assessment of light immissions developed by the Immission Control Committee of Germany's Federal States (1993)

Hinweise zur Messung, Beurteilung und Minderung von Lichtimmissionen der Arbeitsgemeinschaft für Immissionsschutz, cost-LoNNe

Switzerland: SIA (Swiss Society of Engineers and Architects) Standard 491 on the avoidance of unnecessary light emissions in outdoor areas (2013)