[Svetlo]Czech Republic Passes Light Pollution Law (fwd)

Jan Hollan
Mon, 25 Mar 2002 13:39:14 +0100 (CET)

I forgot to publish the original Press Release here in time, sorry, you
have read it already at the links given before:

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Mon, 18 Mar 2002 12:02:10 EST
From: RLGent1Aaol...
To: idaAdarksky...
Subject: Czech Republic Passes Light Pollution Law

To all IDA sections, affiliates, board, listservers, and media contacts.

Please distribute the following press release to your media contacts, e-mail 
news services, and other contacts.  

          Bob Gent, IDA PR Officer
International Dark-Sky Association
Press Release, March 18, 2002
Ted Schaar, Volunteer Writer

Summary: New Czech Republic national law prohibits light pollution.

TUCSON, ARIZONA--MARCH 18, 2002--The Czech Republic recently became 
the first country to enact national legislation with provisions aimed 
at eliminating light pollution.   This new was announced today at the annual 
confernce of the International Dark-Sky Association (IDA) in Tucson, Arizona. 

Known as the "Protection of the Atmosphere Act," the bill passed both 
houses of parliament (Chamber of Deputies and Senate) and was signed 
into law by President Vaclav Havel on February 27, 2002.  It takes 
effect June 1, 2002, and addresses light and other kinds of air 

The law defines "light pollution" as "every form of illumination by 
artificial light which is dispersed outside the areas it is dedicated 
to, particularly if directed above the level of the horizon."  Under 
the law, Czech Republic citizens and organizations are obligated to 
"take measures to prevent the occurrence of light pollution of the 

The landmark legislation closely resembles the "Lombardy Law," which 
was enacted in the Lombardy region of Italy after 25,000 citizens 
signed petitions demanding action against obtrusive outdoor lighting.

Key to compliance with the new Czech Republic law is the use of fully 
shielded light fixtures.  The International Dark-Sky Association 
(IDA) defines these as "fixtures that emit no light above the 
horizontal direction."  Citizens and organizations found in violation 
of the law's anti-light pollution provisions will be subject to fines 
ranging from 500 to 150,000 Czech crowns.

Czech Republic astronomer Jenik Hollan, a member of the IDA, was 
instrumental in promoting and drafting the legislation.  "Support was 
very good and no serious objections have appeared," said Hollan, a 
resident of Brno who works at the Nicholas Copernicus Observatory and 
Planetarium. "Many of my fellow citizens are as concerned as I am 
about the glare created by poorly designed lighting; they're happy 
action was taken."

Pavel Suchan, of the Stefanik Observatory in Prague, and the Czech 
Astronomical Society also lobbied for the new legislation, which 
Hollan says is already paying off: "In downtown Brno, fully shielded 
fixtures are becoming the norm and the improvement is spectacular."

Dr. David L. Crawford, astronomer and volunteer executive director of 
the IDA, views the Czech Republic legislation as "a great leap 
forward" in combating light pollution around the globe. "We applaud 
the Czechs and are committed to helping other governments enact 
similar legislation," Crawford said. "Fully shielded light fixtures 
not only help preserve the beauty of the starry sky, but they also 
illuminate more efficiently and allow people to see better at night."

* * *


Elizabeth Alvarez,
Associate Director, 
International Dark-Sky Association (http://www.darksky.org)
3225 North First Avenue
Tucson, AZ  85719 USA 
520 293-3198

Bob Gent
IDA European Liaison Officer

Jenik Hollan (http://www.astro.cz/darksky)
Nicholas Copernicus Observatory and Planetarium
Kraví hora 2
Brno 616 00
Czech Republic
+420 (5) 41 32 12 87

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