|Paris after sunset - July 2010|
Starting from this week all businesses, shops and government buildings across France will have to switch off all their lights between the hours of 1 am and 7 am. The idea is to cut (or at least reduce) greenhouse-gas emissions and save around €200m a year off the national energy bill - any business that ignores the new rules will be fined €750 a night.
I'm sure it is full of good intentions but it could have some serious repercussions, we are currently experiencing a turning off of the lights in the U.K in many towns and cities with the result that taxis will not travel into certain areas after 1 am where there is no street lighting and some town centres are dark with all the potential social problems that brings. In France it is not the street lights going out but anyone who has spent anytime in Paris will be aware that there is a culture of eating out well past midnight and the further south you go so the closing of bars and restaurants slips farther and farther into the early hours.
It will be interesting to see how this idea works over the next year and whether or not it is workable in the long run.