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Charter on External Lighting takes effect (with photos)

     More than 4 000 properties and shops signed up to the Charter on External Lighting today (April 1) to participate in collaborative efforts to mitigate the problems of light nuisance and energy wastage caused by external lighting.

     Officiating at the signing ceremony, the Secretary for the Environment, Mr Wong Kam-sing, said the signatories to the Charter include premises from different sectors, such as property development, building management, hotels and catering, retail, banking, travel and cinemas, as well as schools, public utilities and public/non-governmental organisations. The active participation of these organisations and their positive response corresponds with the objective of the Charter, which is to build consensus through collaboration among the Government, the business community and the public, with a view to progressively bringing about changes across the community.

     Mr Wong pointed out that the Charter could enhance awareness of the problems of light nuisance and energy wastage caused by external lighting among business establishments and organisations. The Charter could also encourage them to refrain from switching on unnecessary external lighting at night, thereby driving behavioural change. The switch-off arrangement could provide residents with a better environment conducive to sleep, and also promote energy saving and low-carbon living for the purpose of combating the profound impact of climate change.

     Under the Charter, which took effect today, signatories pledge to switch off lighting installations with decorative, promotional or advertising purposes which affect the outdoor environment during preset times. Signatories that comply with the requirement to switch off external lighting from 11pm to 7am will be given the Platinum Award, while those complying with the requirement to switch off external lighting from midnight to 7am will be given the Gold Award. The awards will be presented in 2017.

     The Environment Bureau (ENB) will publish the list of the Charter signatories in newspapers and on a government website, and will provide signatories with labels and certificates for display at their premises.

     Speaking at the ceremony, the Chairperson of the Working Group on the Promotion of the Charter on External Lighting, Ms Caroline Mak, said that the Working Group had been working closely with the ENB in the past few months to invite organisations and business establishments to sign up to the Charter, and has received a very positive response. Many of the organisations and business establishments were prepared to switch off external lighting during the preset times to demonstrate their commitment to mitigating the problems of light nuisance and energy wastage. The Working Group is grateful for their support, and hopes that more organisations and business establishments would sign up to the Charter and switch off lighting installations of decorative, promotional or advertising purposes which affect the outdoor environment during the preset times.

     Apart from launching the Charter, the ENB is also re-launching the Guidelines on Industry Best Practices for External Lighting Installations (the Guidelines). The ENB will host a number of seminars starting from May this year to appeal to various sectors to observe the Guidelines and adopt the good practices in the Guidelines when planning or managing their external lighting installations. The ENB has promulgated further guidelines which require all government departments to switch off external lighting with decorative, promotional and advertising purposes at 11pm at all properties owned or managed by the Government, and to observe the good practices in the Guidelines.

     The Government set up the Task Force in August 2011 to advise it on the appropriate strategy and measures for tackling nuisance and energy wastage problems caused by external lighting. The Task Force, having studied international experience and practices and thoroughly considered the views and comments received during an engagement exercise, submitted its report to the Government in April 2015. The report recommended a multi-pronged approach to address the problems caused by external lighting, including the introduction of a Charter and the re-launch of the Guidelines. The Government has accepted the Task Force's recommendations, and set up the Working Group in June 2015 to plan and promote the Charter. The Working Group comprises members from the advertising, catering, property management, hotel and retail sectors, as well as District Councillors.

Ends/Friday, April 1, 2016
Issued at HKT 16:40


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