Put that light out! Geneva votes to dim its lights at night

Put that light out! Geneva votes to dim its lights at night

The canton of Geneva has approved a controversial law to dim outdoor lighting at night, in a move to help protect the environment and reduce the consumption of energy

Lighting will be reduced in Geneva between 1 am and 6 am

The law, which will see illuminated outdoor signs and bright lighting from non-residential buildings banned, was approved by the government on November 11. The law was accepted by 69 votes in favour of the proposal to 23 against.

Naturally, lighting that is deemed “necessary” will be unaffected by the new rules. This includes lighting for facilities that belong to the police, hospitals and popular sights and attractions. Street lighting will also remain unaffected. Businesses that operate after 1 am, such as hotels, are also exempt from the new rules. It is hoped that the law could save up to 1 percent of the electricity consumption of the canton.

Not all politicians are happy with the law

Several politicians in the cantonal parliament have praised the new law for helping to combat climate change at a local level. However, the plan’s initiator and former mayor of Geneva, Rémy Pagani, has expressed disappointment that the initial proposal has been watered down, and criticised the new law for not going far enough. 

On the other side of the debate, a number of parliamentarians feel the law is too restrictive. Cantonal MP Alexis Barbey said turning off the lights could harm businesses, and could even be a threat to public safety.



Emily Proctor

Former Editor at IamExpat Media.

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