Illuminated billboards and signs along Malta’s roads, save for those that give traffic-related information, must be switched off at 11 pm according to new guidelines on light pollution.
This was one of the proposals in a public consultation process for guidelines tackling light pollution in Malta released today by the Ministry of the Environment.
Light pollution, which is the inappropriate use of artificial light, can have several consequences for life and the climate and is a glaring issue in Malta.
Minister of Environment Aaron Farrugia said that high-intensity artificial lighting like LED billboards can have a considerable negative effect on everyday life.
“Apart from negative effects on our flora and fauna, scientific studies have shown that light pollution may affect public health and affect sleep patterns. Light pollution may also affect criminality rates in particular areas, reduce the visibility of the night sky and increase energy consumption,” the minister said.
The guidelines also propose to include sites around Malta into the Dark Sky Heritage areas, which at present only involve protected areas in Gozo and Comino.
Skies above these areas are protected from polluting light for them to be enjoyed and their deterioration prevented. Dwejra in Gozo, for example, is classified as a Dark Sky Heritage area. Possible sites in Malta are located in the west and Northern-western regions of Malta, including Natura 2000 sites.
Advice on outdoor lighting, external lighting for urban areas, alternatives to road lighting among other points can be found in the guidelines here.
The public consultation is open until 4th August and all submissions can be sent to [email protected]