Time to pester your MEP's!

12 years 6 months ago #51647 by albertw
Time to pester your MEP's! was created by albertw
Hi folks,

One of the problems in getting legislation passed is that people want to look for a precedent. Although the UK has a light pollution Law and now IDA Slovenia have got through what seems an excellent law there is still no direction being given from an EU parliament level.

The upcoming 7th Symposium on the Night Sky in Slovenia hopes to address this by working on an EU directive to tackle the growing problem of light pollution. We will have several MEP's and representatives from several countries Environment ministries in attendance.

In the past couple of days our colleagues in the European sections of the International Dark Sky Association have been to Brussels and have distributed an information pack to all members of the European Parliament! Thats quite a task!

What we need you do do is to write to your MEP and explain why you think they should do something about light pollution. If you are stuck for ideas check out the letter that Keith Geary sent to the Minister for the Environment last year ( here ). Stress the cost and environmental benefits to better lighting. Please mention ILPAC and the European wide effort through the IDA Europe and by astronomers and environmentalists to make a change for better lighting. Please also urge them to support an EU directive on light pollution.

Click here for contact details for your MEP! Northern Ireland click here

Thanks!
~Albert

Albert White MSc FRAS
Chairperson, International Dark Sky Association - Irish Section
www.darksky.ie/

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12 years 6 months ago #51651 by galactus
Replied by galactus on topic Re: Time to pester your MEP's!
I've sent those emails.

Quick Q: who are IDA Europe?

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12 years 6 months ago #51652 by albertw
Replied by albertw on topic Re: Time to pester your MEP's!

I've sent those emails.

Quick Q: who are IDA Europe?


Thanks!

It's all the Light Pollution groups in Europe that are sections or affiliated to the International Dark Sky Association. So ILPAC, the BAA's Campaign for Dark Skies (CfDS), etc.

Most of these groups have worked together before, in ILPAC's case for example we have always had close relations with our UK colleagues in the CfDS. However at the Last European Symposium on Light Pollution in Portsmouth the grouping got a little more formal and also received financial assistance from the IDA headquarters in Arizona. This was out of a recognition that we needed to have a more coordinated approach in Europe.

The last meeting of IDA Europe leaders was just a few weeks ago in Brussels, Terry Mosley attended on behalf of Ireland.

Cheers,
~Albert

Albert White MSc FRAS
Chairperson, International Dark Sky Association - Irish Section
www.darksky.ie/

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12 years 6 months ago #51653 by galactus
Replied by galactus on topic Re: Time to pester your MEP's!
Thanks for clearing that up! I'll post when I get a reply from the MEPs.

Here was my letter, feel free to modify etc. but please add in Please mention ILPAC and the European wide effort through the IDA Europe as I neglected to.

Minister [INSERT MINISTER'S NAME],

I realise you are busy but am writing to you on the urgent matter of Light Pollution across Europe. Currently there is NO LEGISLATION at an EU level on this matter.

Only the UK (Note 1) and (notably) the Republic of Slovenia (Note 2) have any legislation. As I'm sure you are aware, in Ireland, An Taisce have a policy on this and practically a lot can be done: "FCO lighting" (Note 3) is a good example.

The Irish Dark Sky is part of our shared Culture. Its also an economic asset that we could market (I have met many people from the continent who travel to Ireland to enjoy the night sky...you might think this is a niche market but so is golf!). Also, and obviously, Light Pollution is a waste of energy (Note 3).

What is your own position on this Minister [INSERT MINISTER'S NAME]? Can I ask for a commitment from you that you will working towards legislation in this regard - for example, implementing FCO lighting on new stretches of road across Europe and new housing estates etc.? In Europe as a whole, a policy is no good we need LEGISLATION and ENFORCEMENT.

It's all about trying to get "quality of life" nowadays. I grew up in the countryside and have seen it change immensely over the years. I suspect you went into politics to make a difference - I realise you are extremely busy but the above environmental issues are something that needs addressing urgently.

Keep up the good work!

(1) UK: a new bill called the "Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2005"
www.defra.gov.uk/Environment/localenv/le...ation/cnea/index.htm

(2) The Republic of Slovenia adopted its first light pollution law on August 30, 2007. The new law is the result of successful coordination between Slovenia's Environment Ministry and the Government Office for Growth, among other departments, as well as lighting experts and environmentalists. It makes Slovenia one of the EU countries leading efforts at light regulation.
www.darksky.org/news/press-2007-08-31.php

(3) Outstanding example of the effects of FCO Lighting
www.irishastronomy.org/boards/viewtopic.php?t=4904

- [INSERT YOUR NAME]

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12 years 6 months ago #51725 by albertw
Replied by albertw on topic Re: Time to pester your MEP's!
Hi,

Heres a to-the-point letter template for MEP's from Bob Mizon of the CfDS:

To all MEPs: a new directive against energy waste? - your chance to save energy and money for your constituents
Dear……..MEP
You should by now have received information about the European Dark-Sky Symposium in Bled, Slovenia, on October 5-6 2007. One of the aims of this international environmental event is the establishment of a European legislative directive, with a view to reversing the tide of light pollution. Wasted light has robbed most of Europe’s citizens of a view of the night sky over the last decades, and costs us vast amounts of energy and money, with deleterious effects on our wildlife.
Light pollution wastes as much as 1700 million Euros a year in Europe, and I am sure you will agree that it is high time for it to be controlled. The environmental problem of light pollution can only be solved by Europe-wide action at the highest level. I trust that you will support a European directive on this subject.
Yours sincerely..........


Albert White MSc FRAS
Chairperson, International Dark Sky Association - Irish Section
www.darksky.ie/

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12 years 6 months ago #51889 by galactus
Replied by galactus on topic Re: Time to pester your MEP's!
I have a reply from Brian Crowley: I'll give Mr. Dimas a month to reply and then ask Brian what the story is. Sounds fair?

Dear Seán

Thank you for your email of September 27th last regarding the important subject of Light Pollution which I wasn't previously aware of. However, I have written to the European Commissioner for the Environment, Mr Stavros Dimas, to ask if there is any proposed legislation on this matter and I have taken the liberty of sending him on the examples that you have laid out.

I will get in touch again when I hear further on the matter.

Kind regards
Is mise le meas

Brian Crowley MEP
President U.E.N. Group
Leader F.F. in Europe

Maryborough Lodge, Maryborough Hill
Douglas
Cork, Ireland
Tel +353 (21) 4896 433 Fax +353 (21) 4896 401
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
www.briancrowleymep.ie

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12 years 5 months ago #52024 by albertw
Replied by albertw on topic Re: Time to pester your MEP's!
Hi Sean,

I have a reply from Brian Crowley: I'll give Mr. Dimas a month to reply and then ask Brian what the story is. Sounds fair?


Thanks for writing to Brian; I received an identical reply to that. I'm looking forward to the reply from Mr Dimas! The conference in Bled was attended by Mr. Miroslav Ouzký. Chairman of Committee on the Environment. I managed to have a few words with him over lunch and he seems positive about what we are trying to archive, I'll post a bit more on that later.

Albert White MSc FRAS
Chairperson, International Dark Sky Association - Irish Section
www.darksky.ie/

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12 years 5 months ago #52075 by albertw
Replied by albertw on topic Re: Time to pester your MEP's!

In the past couple of days our colleagues in the European sections of the International Dark Sky Association have been to Brussels and have distributed an information pack to all members of the European Parliament! Thats quite a task!


Meant to say that the brochure that was delivered is available from ILPAC: www.ilpac.eu/content/view/38/25/

Albert White MSc FRAS
Chairperson, International Dark Sky Association - Irish Section
www.darksky.ie/

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12 years 3 months ago #56417 by galactus
Replied by galactus on topic Re: Time to pester your MEP's!
Brian Crowley has written to me again with a reply from Commissioner Dimas.

Commissioner Dimas response to Brian is that the EC is currently working on draft legislation under the Ecodesign of Energy Using Products directive (Directive 2005/32/EC). Adoption of this directive is scheduled at the end of 2008.

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12 years 3 months ago #56422 by albertw
Replied by albertw on topic Re: Time to pester your MEP's!
Hi,

Yep got that too.

Here's what I sent to the ilpac list today. You are all on the ilpac list that you sign up to at groups.yahoo.com/group/ilpac/ right :-)


Forwarded message
From: Albert White - Irish Light Pollution Awareness Campaign <info@ilpac.eu>
Date: 13 Dec 2007 12:29
Subject: Fwd: Light Pollution:Result of Enquiry made by Miss Sinnott on your Behalf
To: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Hi all,

Below is Kathy Sinnott's MEP EU Parliamentary question to the EU
commissioner for the Environment, Mr. Dimas, and his response. I
should also point out that I received a letter from Brian Crowley MEP
containing a response that he had received from Mr. Dimas along the
same lines.

The responses are unbelievable coming from someone who is supposed to
be well informed on these matters. "so-called light pollution"? "no
evidence [of] significant environmental impact"? Oh dear.

I've already passed this response on to the other IDA Europe and we'll
be looking for a meeting with Mr. Dimas.

The proposed street lighting legislation he mentions currently, as I
understand it, would allow for lights to shine up to 6 degrees above
the horizon. The IDA has already made submissions regarding this. If
the 6degrees is correct (and I don't know if light intensities are
specified either) then that would in effect ban the use of SOX
lighting (as used in Ireland anyway) and cause it to be replaced with
SON lights with a 'bowl'.
[edit: I checked with some colleagues in Europe who were involved with this and its 6percent upward allowed for roads with fast and medium traffic and 24% for roads with slow traffic. Effectively what we have at the moment. The reason given for these is that using fco's would require a higher space height ratio - ie require most lamp posts and so use more energy. However where FCO regulations have been brought in, eg. Lombardy, the industry quickly adapted and managed to use FCO's with anti-reflection coatings on the glass. ]

Clearly if the EU wants to take the correct environmental action
regarding streetlighting they should ensure that FCO lights are used.
Allowing any light above the horizon means energy is being wasted in
generating it.

I'll be writing to Mr. Dimas on behalf of ILPAC in the coming week.

Cheers,
~Albert
--
Albert White MSc FRAS
Chairperson, International Dark Sky Association - Irish Section
www.ilpac.eu

Forwarded message
From: SINNOTT Kathy <kathy.sinnott@europarl.europa.eu>
Date: 6 Dec 2007 08:22
Subject: RE: Light Pollution:Result of Enquiry made by Miss Sinnott on
your Behalf
To: Albert White - Irish Light Pollution Awareness Campaign <info@ilpac.eu>



Dear Albert,

Sorry you could not access the documents. I have attached them again,
and have pasted the text below in case you have trouble opening the
attachments.

Kind Regards,

Joanna

Office of Kathy Sinnott, MEP For Ireland South

+32 (0)228 45692 Tel. Brussels

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.



WRITTEN QUESTION E-5205/07
by Kathy Sinnott (IND/DEM)
to the Commission

Subject: Light pollution

A number of my constituents in Ireland are concerned that the beauty of
their natural habitat is impinged on on a daily basis by light
pollution. Not only this but they are alarmed at the considerable cost,
both financially and environmentally, caused by light pollution. What is
more this light pollution is entirely unnecessary due to the fact that,
with correct lights, the issue would be averted.

By simply switching to 'non-polluting full cut off lights' or FCOs, it
would ensure that light is directed at the ground level rather than at
the sky, thus significantly reducing light pollution and allowing people
to admire the night sky as well as using vital street illumination.

To date, there is no EU legislation on light pollution within Europe to
encourage councils to provide lighting which does not pollute our skies.
Given the serious ramifications of light pollution for our environment
at large, our natural night skies and the bank balances of local
authorities, I consider it necessary to take action.

1. Is the Commission aware of the issue of light pollution? If so,
what measures has the Commission taken in this area?

2. What future action does the Commission consider necessary in
this situation?

3. Will the Commission commit itself to carrying out a light
pollution assessment, and to finding out the true environmental impact
of light pollution?

4. Does the Commission have any objection to implementing
regulations or directives concerning light pollution?

5. What justification can the Commission provide if it does not
intend to take any action on light pollution in the future?



E-5205/07EN
Answer given by Mr Dimas
on behalf of the Commission
(3.12.2007)


Although the Commission is aware of so-called "light pollution", there
is no evidence that this issue has a significant environmental impact
that deserves priority action at Community level. However the Commission
is currently developing eco-design requirements for street lighting
equipment which will aim at improving their energy efficiency thereby
indirectly contribute to reducing the "light pollution". The adoption of
the implementing legislation specific to public street lighting products
is foreseen by the Commission at the end of 2008.

Furthermore, the Commission would like to draw the Honourable Member's
attention to the fact that based on the principle of subsidiarity Member
States can take appropriate measures themselves as some Member States already have.

Albert White MSc FRAS
Chairperson, International Dark Sky Association - Irish Section
www.darksky.ie/

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