Turn off your lights says City of London to skyscrapers

The City of London will ask its skyscraper group to dim their lights at night as part of a new strategy to reduce visual pollution and save energy.

Property owners across the Square Mile are asked to turn off unnecessary building lights as part of a Suggestion by the City of London Corporation to create “bright zones” with curfews.

City officials are concerned about wasted energy and light pollution caused by the unnecessary use of lighting in office buildings that have few or no employees after a certain night time.

“Over time, as new developments follow this guidance, we will transform the way we approach lighting in the city,” the company said in a planning document outlining the proposal.

During the curfew, the city is requiring buildings to turn off or dim all outdoor lights except those needed for security or crime prevention. Indoor lighting should also be dimmed significantly, although buildings in business districts are allowed to have brighter lights if required by workers.

Earlier curfews apply in residential areas and areas with special cultural heritage status than in central business districts.

City officials said efforts to tackle light pollution must be balanced with the fact that some people work all night, particularly when complying with international opening hours, while the area’s many bars and restaurants stay open late.

“The city is a unique place where 24-hour business districts and busy transport hubs rub shoulders with historic buildings and residential communities,” said Shravan Joshi, chairman of the City of London Corporation’s Planning and Transport Committee.

The company’s strategy “aims to ensure a smart, sensitive approach to lighting that ensures the city is safe and accessible, while protecting its historical character and the amenities of our residents,” he added.

The company’s planning document, prepared with input from lighting architects Speirs Major, states that the developments “should ensure that all external and internal lighting is automatically switched off when not required [motion sensors] and/or time clocks or other automated control devices”.

Developers in the City of London would need to agree to these plans as part of the planning process for new buildings.

Owners of existing buildings are urged to abide by the rules as well, although the local authority has no legal authority to enforce them. Instead, they are being asked to join a voluntary charter to improve lighting in the city.

The company, one of the largest real estate owners in the Square Mile, will oversee the strategy for its property.

The planning document is being discussed by the municipality. The city is proposing the creation of three types of “bright zones” with curfews at 10 p.m. for residential and heritage areas, 11 p.m. for cultural and tourist areas, and midnight for commercial, retail and transport hubs.

The company said the proposals would help it meet its goal of achieving net-zero carbon for the Square Mile by 2040.

Melanie Leech, chief executive of the British Property Federation, said: “We should all do everything we can to reduce unnecessary light pollution and reduce energy consumption. Consultation of the City of London. . . should be helpful in providing guidance and clarity to developers, property owners and their clients.”

The company is also taking steps to address air pollution in the Square Mile, including closing certain streets and developing a one-way system near Bank Station, a busy intersection.

https://www.ft.com/content/b659ac62-8039-4cf1-b860-d70a4db75a2e Turn off your lights says City of London to skyscrapers

Adam Bradshaw

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