THE Valencian Community is the third region in Spain with the highest level of light pollution.
And according to an audit by the regional ombudsman, the town of Onda in Castellon is worse in this regard than the provincial capital and even Valencia city.
In addition, the survey also shows that there is a severe deficiency in renewable energy technology throughout the autonomous community compared to other parts of Spain.
As a result of the findings, the ombudsman has called upon the Generalitat to pass a new law specifically aimed at preventing light pollution and reducing the amount of energy that is projected into space and, therefore, wasted.
One major step to achieve this, according to the authors of the study, is to make street lighting more efficient, stepping up inspections and controls, and fining local councils and other administrations for wasting electricity.
By analysing the public lighting figures of 27 towns between the years 2015 and 2019, the investigators reached another conclusion – that not all municipalities have invested public funds equally.
Of the 27 towns and cities analysed, Onda is the worst offender with regards to the environmental and financial efficiency of its public lighting system, as it is said to lack proper audits, inventories, and investment.
Onda is followed on the ‘blacklist’ by Castellon city, Valencia, Alicante and Orihuela (Costa Blanca south), in that order.
A total of €59 million were granted by the national, regional and provincial authorities for projects aimed at reducing power wastage within the four-year period under scrutiny, but the ombudsman’s report shows that in many cases, plans were approved without a prior efficiency study.
Furthermore, the researchers reveal that the Generalitat has failed to pass any legislation preventing and reducing light pollution since a national law came into being in 2007.
Regional government sources insist that a project is currently being drawn up ready for the approval of a regional energy efficiency law in the near future.