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Proposed EU lighting regulations could ‘devastate’ live entertainment

News
1 May 2018

AS LIVE UK went to press a campaign to amend proposed European Union (EU) changes to lighting regulations, aimed at improving energy efficiency, that organisers say would have a significant impact on the live entertainment industry, was gathering momentum.

As part of the EU’s Ecodesign Working Plan, all stage lighting including tungsten, arc and LED, will have to meet new criteria – the same as those applied for domestic and office use.

Fittings will need a minimum efficiency of 85 lumens per watt and a maximum standby power of 0.5W. Scheduled to come into force from September 2020, the new regulations would affect live events from concerts at small venues to festival stages, as well as distributors and rental companies.

In response, the Association of Lighting Designers (ALD), which represents those involved in the creation of lighting, video and projection design for live events, has begun a Save Stage Lighting campaign, drawing support from organisations including the Production Services Association (PSA) and the Professional Light and Sound Association (PLASA).

“The proposed regulations are deeply alarming and are clearly written for domestic and industrial lighting,” says ALD chair Johanna Town. “The proposal shows no understanding of the tools we use in lighting design.

“Should this proposal go ahead as written, the effect on show lighting in Europe, as well as the UK, will be truly devastating.”

As many of the lighting currently in use fails to meet the new requirements, it would need to be changed, as would the fixtures. Current regulations contain an exemption for stage lighting, but the new ones do not.

“Every tool and effect we rely on to make theatre and performance powerful would be legislated out of use,” adds Town.

“Every tool and effect we rely on … would be legislated out of use”

Johanna Town

Bryan Raven, MD of White Light which supplies UK Theatres, is backing the campaign and claims the “disastrous” proposals put jobs at risk.

“We are just one company in the industry and we employ 250 staff,” says Raven.

“The diverse nature of the industry makes it hard to put a number to the jobs at risk but it is several thousand in the UK alone.

“Venues will also need to find tens of thousands of pounds to replace their equipment – while scrapping the perfectly working kit – and most venues will therefore have to stop holding live events.”

A public consultation on the proposals ended on 7 May, and although PSA general manager Andy Lenthall tells LIVE UK the industry has known about the changes for over a year, the full extent of the switch, which will also affect community centres and schools, has only recently come to light.

“At first it all revolved around tungsten lighting, but in the last few weeks we’ve found out it is almost everything,” Lenthall says.

“The impact hasn’t been properly assessed and there has to be clarification on a number of aspects otherwise a lot of kit is going to be discarded.”

A petition to keep stage lighting exempt from the legislation had received nearly 50,000 signatures as LIVE UK went to press. To sign the petition visit www.change.org.

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