By Simon GormanThe neon lights in the sky are a symbol of hope, promise and optimism.
They are also an iconic symbol of Britain’s capital city.
But are they good for the environment?
This week, the government will unveil a major overhaul of its neon lighting policy, which has been criticised by the environment charity Greenpeace.
The new policy aims to give schools and other public spaces a “cleaner, greener and more efficient” look and to cut down on the number of neon lights they use, says the Guardian.
This week’s announcement comes after the government’s National Environmental Strategy (NEVS), which sets out its priorities for tackling environmental damage and making sure our planet is a healthy place to live, work and play.
The NEVS has been launched with the aim of reducing emissions of CO2 and other greenhouse gases from the UK’s economy.
It is a significant step forward for Britain’s environment and we welcome the government committing to make it an even more effective tool for tackling the climate change threat posed by the growing use of neon light.
However, many people are concerned about the future of neon lighting and whether it will be better than the alternatives.
The National Trust for Public Health in London said it was concerned that the new policy would mean the use of more neon lights and potentially even lead to more deaths than it would help reduce.
It also said the new lights would only be used at certain times of the day.
A spokesperson for the National Trust said: “There is no doubt that neon lights are a positive thing for our environment.
However, the new NEVS policy sets out a number of priorities for ensuring that the use and installation of neon signs and bulbs is as safe as possible.”
What is neon light?
Neon lights are light emitting diodes that emit light, and are typically used in classrooms, offices and transport.
Neon lighting has become increasingly popular in the UK, with the UK lighting industry estimating that it could save about £100 million a year.
They are usually placed on the floor of classrooms to create a “virtual classroom” which encourages children to learn and interact.
But there is no evidence that they actually help to improve academic performance.
The UK government has pledged to reduce the use in schools of neon lamps by 80 per cent by 2020, and to reduce their use to 10 per cent of schools by 2021.
The changes are due to take effect in 2017.
But the NEVS says there is also evidence that neon lighting can lead to the “permanent exposure of vulnerable young people to harmful light”.
It said:”There is currently a lack of evidence that the neon lighting programme is helping to prevent or reduce the risks associated with harmful light exposure, and therefore, the NEVIS will propose to ensure that the light-emitting dioders will be replaced with a more effective alternative in light-sensitive classrooms, or with a new generation of lights.”
Are there any drawbacks?
Neo lights are an “invisible symbol of optimism and hope”, says Greenpeace.
But the neon lights do not have a clear environmental impact, and the NEVI says they are “too often used for temporary display rather than an effective way of lighting up classrooms”.
The NEVI also warned that they could lead to “serious health risks” if the lights are used in schools.
In its submission to the NEV, the Greenpeace organisation said the use is “generally harmful” because the lighting emits heat that could damage the skin and eyes.
The Greenpeace spokesperson said: “”These neon lights can also be extremely bright, and they emit a lot of heat, which is why they are often used in high-heat areas.
“How many neon lights will there be in schools?
The new NEVIS is expected to introduce a number at the end of this year.
The plan will give schools the option to install up to 1,000 of the new LED lights, with more than one per pupil.
The government will also require schools to install an “enriched white” LED that is much brighter than current neon lights, and has the potential to reduce “heat damage” to pupils’ eyes.”
Enriched white LEDs are less likely to be harmful than the current neon colours, and may be more environmentally sustainable,” the NEVA says.
But they also have “a potential to harm pupils’ pupils’ skin and skin contact with the fluorescent light”.
There are currently more than 8,000 neon lights installed across the UK.
A new school has been installed in Eastbourne, near Reading, with a total of 6,300 neon lights.
There are about 3,600 neon lights currently in use in public places, and about 3.5 million are in use.
The total number of schools in the country is estimated to be around 5,600.