UK Lighting Designer Advises Hong Kong on Prevention of Light Nuisance and Light Pollution

Carl Gardner, Director of CSG Lighting Consultancy Ltd’, was recently invited by the city authorities in Hong Kong to advise them on ways that the city and its local businesses can reduce the problems of light nuisance and light pollution. During visits in December 2010 and October 2011, Carl Gardner gave presentations to senior figures in the city’s engineering and environmental departments on UK planning laws and light nuisance legislation – as well as suggesting technical and design solutions the city could consider. He was also taken on a night-time tour of the worst ‘unwanted light’ hotspots on Hong Kong island and across the harbour in Kowloon, to gauge the extent of the problems first hand.

 

Hong Kong has some of the densest living conditions in the world – high-rise residential blocks are packed tightly together, to maximise land use, and upwards light spill from lighting at ground level is a constant problem. The main culprits in creating unwanted light are uncontrolled floodlights on commercial hoardings above shop frontages – and the new generation of dynamic LED and LCD advertising screens, which are taking over the facades and rooflines of Hong Kong’s buildings. The number of complaints about light nuisance has increased enormously in recent years, particularly from wealthy residents from Mainland China who have bought property in Hong Kong.

 

Carl Gardner comments, ‘Unwanted light in the form of light nuisance and light pollution is a growing global problem. In some ways, the extreme nature of the situation in Hong Kong is a warning of things to come for other cities in the West — and a real-life laboratory for preventative solutions. If the city has some success in controlling these problems, through better regulatory and technical standards, improved lighting technologies and the dissemination of a wider knowledge base to building owners and investors, it would set a great example for other cities to follow.’

 

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