Energy-conscious Granada and Córdoba launch Christmas illumination crackdown

LAST UPDATED: 31 Mar, 2009 @ 07:21
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Energy-conscious Granada and Córdoba launch Christmas illumination crackdown

THE battle against light pollution in Andalucía has taken somewhat of a seasonal turn after council authorities in Granada delayed the switching on of the annual Christmas illuminations.

In a bid to cut down on the electricity bill, greenhouse gas emissions and wasteful night-time illumination, the City Hall has also decided to reduce the amount of hours the decorations are lit.

Last Christmas, Granada residents could enjoy their city’s illuminations between 6pm and midnight from December 9 until January 6 this year.

The 1.5 million bulbs used 5,700 kilowatts of energy per hour – the equivalent used by 14 families of three over a three-month period.

But now, council officials – who recently fitted shields, which direct light downwards, on central lamp posts to protect the night skies – have decided the big turn on will take place just a few days before Christmas. And the lights will only be permitted between 8pm and midnight.

“Not only are we continuing our drive to cut back on light pollution, we are also maintaining economic austerity in these times of crisis,” explained a council spokesman.

But officials in neighbouring Córdoba are being asked to go one step further and ban Christmas lights all together this year.

A proposal put forward by the Climate Alliance – a collective of Córdoba-based environmental groups – has asked the council to consider keeping the city in total darkness this festive period.

“Not only are Christmas lights expensive to run, they also contribute towards global warming. Spain is already struggling to reduce its carbon emissions to meet the targets set out under the Kyoto protocol.

“This is also a call for austerity to put a stop to the increasing commercialism of Christmas in Spain,” the collective said in a statement.

Council officials, however, are expected to follow Granada’s lead and reduce the amount the decorative lights around the city.

The Junta de Andalucía is proposing legislation to cut down on the amount of light pollution in the region. Under the draft law, excessive urban illumination will be outlawed as will lighting in natural areas.

It is expected to be passed by parliament early next year.

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