Decree forces neon switch-off

Neon signs will have to be switched off late at night

Lit-up shop signs and advertising boards will have to be turned off after 1.00 says government

NEON shop signs will have to be turned off from 1.00 to 6.00 every night, under a decree coming into force from Sunday.

The rule will initially apply to new installations, but will be extended to existing ones progressively, by 2018.

Illuminated adverts are also concerned by the rule, which is intended to save electricity.

However exceptions will be made for certain special events, such as the Cannes Festival or the Fête des Lumières in Lyon.

The idea came out of a debate on energy efficiency organised last year as a follow-up to 2007’s Grenelle de l’Environnement.

An official in charge of the project at the Ecology Ministry, Lory Waks, said it would save the energy consumption of 370,000 homes - 1terawatt hour per year - and would avoid the emission of 120,000 tonnes of CO2.

“This decree puts an end to an economic and ecological absurdity whose consequences are paid for by the whole of society,” said the head of nature charity France Nature Environnement, Bruno Genty.

The ministry is also drafting another decree, which may come in at the end of the year, telling people to switch off lights at offices and shop windows at night.

Ecology agency Ademe believes this could save twice as much again as the neon signs decree, as well as benefiting insects, which are disorientated by continual light.

Commentators suggest the plan may also help decrease light pollution which limits observation of the night sky in towns.

Photo: Eléonore H - www.fotolia.com

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