Page last updated at 08:18 GMT, Sunday, 30 March 2008 09:18 UK

Assembly goes dark for Earth Hour

Welsh Assembly Government building, Merthyr Tydfil
The offices in Merthyr Tydfil are among those taking part

Lights were turned off at Welsh Assembly Government offices across the nation on Saturday night as part of a worldwide climate change campaign.

It went dark in main government buildings between 2000 and 2100 GMT on Saturday to support "Earth Hour".

The symbolic campaign was launched last year in Sydney, Australia, and 24 cities are taking part on Saturday.

Environment Minister Jane Davidson said it was a "simple yet powerful way" to show how everyone can play their part.

The minister said: "Climate change is one of the greatest challenges we all face today and cutting down on the energy we use will be one of the most effective ways to reduce the C02 emissions that contribute to climate change."

Assembly government offices in Cathays Park, Cardiff, Merthyr Tydfil, Carmarthen, Llandrindod Wells, Caernarfon and Colwyn Bay all took part in the one-hour blackout.

Sydney Harbour Bridge
The lights went out across Sydney Harbour Bridge

Other offices also took part where the assembly government has direct control over lighting.

Last March, 2.2m people and 2,100 businesses in Sydney switched off for Earth Hour, and this year the city has taken part in the initiative again.

The Welsh Assembly Government said Sydney's inspirational collective effort reduced the city's energy consumption by a "whopping 10.2% during that hour - equivalent to taking 48,000 cars off the road".

The assembly government said Earth Hour was about simple changes that would "collectively make a difference - from businesses turning off their lights when their offices are empty, to households turning off appliances rather than leaving them on standby."

Some assembly government offices share sites with other organisations, but before the blackout officials said it would ensure that its lights go off at the designated time.

There were some exceptions for health and safety and security requirements, and traffic management centres at Coryton and Morfa were not taking part because they are an essential 24-hour operation.

Cities dim lights for environment
29 Mar 08 |  Science/Nature
Sydney in climate change blackout
31 Mar 07 |  Asia-Pacific


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