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Designers of a scheme to light up a gloomy Austrian valley unveiled their outline designs this week. The inhabitants of Rattenberg are to have their lives brightened up by two 2.4m 2 mirrors placed on a nearby mountain.

Rattenberg's 436 inhabitants spend four months of the year in darkness as the village is situated in the shadow of the Tyrol mountain range and gets no sun in winter. When complete in 2007 the two large mirrors, called Heliostats, will track the sun and reflect light 400m to a rocky outcrop 400m away.

There, a bank of mirrors will disperse the light to reflectors scattered around the village. These create patches of light which give an impression that the sun is shining. The £1.4M project aims to cut migration from the town, which loses 10% of its population every year.

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