Regione Veneto in Italy approves a law promoting no upward-directed light!

This panoramic image shows the Veneto plain at night as viewed from the Alps that surround the area. The image was taken by Leopoldo Dalla Gassa, the president of Venetostellato, an association that promotes dark skies in Veneto and was the engine pushing for the approval of the upgraded law.

Regione Veneto was the first Italian region to enforce a law against light pollution in 1997. Being the first, the law had room for future improvement. One area that needed improvement allowed up to 3% direct upward flux from luminaries. After more than 10 years (and in the International Year of Astronomy) Veneto is substantially upgrading its laws and the new law now recognizes the importance of 0% upward-directed flux, as in ten other Italian regions, starting from the most populated one: Lombardy.

Galileo used his telescope for the first time in Veneto and now Veneto is making a huge step forward in protecting the night sky and night environment.

The main points of the law are:

  • it is enforced on both public and private outdoor lights;

  • no direct light may escape upward from luminaires (maximum 0.49 cd/klm at or above the horizon);

  • the maximum allowed luminance or illuminance level is the minimum given by security norms;

  • the annual increase of electric energy must be kept under 1% of those in 2009;

  • white lights are allowed in very limited cases (monuments, historic buildings, central streets with pedestrian traffic only);

  • it has created a permanent observatory on light pollution that has members from the regional environmental agency, astronomical observatories, night sky protection associations, natural parks and a light pollution expert. The observatory main purpose is to find the most polluting light fixtures;

  • the light installations should be designed by professional lighting technicians.

The introduction of this new law in a region where there was already a less effective law is of paramount importance, because politicians understood that the way to prevent light pollution evolved in the years since the old law’s approval. What seemed a small upward light percentage (3%) then, is now clear that it produces far more pollution than strictly necessary.

Download the text of the law (in Italian).