Tackling light pollution in London’s Square Mile

City of London Corporation signs international declaration, pledging to dim streetlights, reduce light pollution and save energy. It will also work with owners of local buildings.  

London joins 70 cities including Paris, Moscow and Shanghai that have signed the Lighting Urban Community International (LUCI) declaration. Durham and Glasgow are also among the signatories.

St. Paul's Cathedral London, England

The heart of the London metropolis includes the bustling business and financial district and such iconic historic buildings as St Paul’s Cathedral, the Bank of England and Old Bailey. The so-called Square Mile may not be the biggest city but it has a lot bright lights.  

At least it does for the moment. 

The City of London Corporation has now signed up to the LUCI declaration that aims to cut light pollution in cities and save energy at the same time by simply dimming streetlights and getting local property owners to turn off lights that aren’t in use.   

The non-profit organisation LUCI was created in 2002. Based in Lyon, France, it brings together representatives from towns and cities across the world. Its 50 associate members include experts from the lighting industry and research institutes. 

Meri Lumela, President of LUCI, says: ‘The orientations and solutions shared in this declaration are intended to inspire and call to action cities around the world.’ 

Joining LUCI will support the City of London’s own climate action strategy, with its aim for the Square Mile to have net zero emissions by 2040. Minimising light pollution and using net-zero lighting are key to achieving this. 

A campaign will soon launch encouraging local businesses to sign up to a ‘Considerate Lighting Charter’, committing to turn off lights that are not in use. The corporation has also consulted on a new planning requirement for developers to submit details of how their buildings will be lit, with an emphasis on minimising energy use and light pollution.  

Shravan Joshi, chair of the corporation’s planning and transportation committee, says: ‘Our strategy is aimed at ensuring an intelligent and sensitive approach to lighting, that balances the safety and accessibility of the City with the preservation of local amenity and character.’ 

The lights are just one aspect of plans to transform the Square Mile. ‘Fleet Street Area Healthy Streets’ is a set of proposals to redesign local streets and make them more accessible, engaging and safe.  

Graham Packham, chair of the corporation’s streets and walkways subcommittee, says: ‘These proposals will not only help to improve the City’s accessibility, so that everyone can feel safe and comfortable as they walk around the Square Mile, but also help deliver on our commitment to reducing air pollution and making the City more attractive.’

In related news, a harbourside in New Zealand is to have penguin-friendly solar lighting.

Photo by Nick Fewings


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