Monday, July 15, 2019
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A plan to turn off the lights at night to become the first starry region

Night lighting illustration – G. Varela / 20 Minutes

  • There are about a million bright spots in New Aquitaine.
  • The region wants to set up a device to support the territories in order to reduce the number and the intensity of these luminous points.
  • The explosion of artificial lighting would disrupt the physiology of man and the biology of plants and animals.

Make New Aquitaine the first star region of France. This is the ambition of the regional council, which will put in place a plan devoted to lighting and protection of the starry sky.

He met this Tuesday in Limoges several experts, as well as territories to collect their needs. The goal is to divide by four the electricity consumption of public lighting on the region by 2050, compared to 2015. He also wants the cessation of light pollution (lighting of the sky) from 2025. The sheet The roadmap for this is expected to be ready on July 9, and presented at a council meeting devoted to ecological transition.

A law already requires the extinction of lights at night, built heritage and stores. The shop windows of the businesses have for example obligation to be extinguished between 1:00 and 7:00. But Françoise Coutant, vice president EELV in charge of energy transition to the region, admits that its "application is random. "

About 30% savings on the electricity bill

Questioned by 20 minutesFrançoise Coutant estimates that New Aquitaine has about "one million bright spots" which represents "an annual budget of 70 million euros. That could be greatly reduced.

137 municipalities have been identified as "committed to a fight against light pollution", about half of which is labeled "towns and villages with stars. In the Bordeaux metropolis, several cities have embarked on this process. The town of Taillan-Médoc was the forerunner, since it took the initiative to turn off its public lighting between 1am and 5am, from September 2015. Contacted by 20 minutes,
the mayor of Taillan Agnès Versepuy recognizes that this approach was primarily economic. "The result has been spectacular, since we are saving 30% of our consumption, which represents an annual gain of 30,000 euros, which we reinvest in the energy improvement of our buildings. Today, it would be totally absurd for us to re-light the light. On the contrary, the city could even extend the time slot between midnight and 6am.

"There are even fewer road accidents"

The municipality of Eysines followed suit two years ago. "For our part, we made the choice to go in stages, performing a test for six months on 25 streets," says Serge Tournerie, councilor in charge of energy and public lighting. About 700 households were directly concerned, "and we obtained a satisfaction rate of 82%" which decided the municipality to generalize the device, between 1am and 5am also.

The energy gain is 36%, "and with our initiatives such as the lowering of tensions in some places, or the acquisition of an astronomical clock that allows greater precision in the management of our lighting, the economy of energy goes up to 50%, "adds Serge Tournerie. On the bill, this corresponds to a gain of 100,000 euros per year.

In matters of security, these two elected officials ensure that there has been no negative impact. Neither on delinquency nor on road safety. "There are even fewer accidents at night, says Agnes Versepuy, because, quite simply, people get off their feet when it is not lit. "

"Species that disappeared have reappeared"

The issue is also environmental. "The explosion of artificial outdoor lighting disrupts the physiology of man and the biology of plants and animals," says the regional council. Françoise Coutant is convinced that the survival of certain species, whose reproduction would be threatened by these artificial lights, "is at stake."

Agnès Versepuy says that "species that had completely disappeared from the town reappeared, like bats, because insects were attracted by artificial lights which disrupted the food chain. Finally, "we also rediscovered a true starry sky at night. "

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