10 May 2018

institution of lighting professionals' response to the 'london plan'. image

Jess Gallacher, ILP Operations Manager

We feel that lighting is too important to be consigned to the margins of planning policy. We wish to urge those with influence in policy making to move this essential element of our city life and health further up the agenda.

The ILP have recently penned a response to the London Mayor about lighting strategy outlined in his consultation for the London Plan issued last December. The London Plan is a very important document for Londoners and outlines a vision for the development of London's infrastructure over the next 25 years.

Graham Festenstein, Vice President Architectural for the ILP raised his concerns, outlined in the March issue of ILP's Lighting Journal. There are just 6 mentions of lighting within the 526-page document and these only address relatively broad issues. (Read his full article here).

Here is a copy of the letter addressed to Sadiq Khan by Alan Jaques, President of the ILP.

'Dear Mr Mayor

Institution of Lighting Professionals and the Draft London Plan 

The Institution of Lighting Professionals is the professional body for lighting designers and engineers in the UK. Many of our members are designers working in public realm and engineers working for local authorities or on large scale infrastructure projects. Our members work both in the UK and worldwide; London in particular having an international reputation for excellence in lighting design. 

London is unusual as a major international city in that it does not have an overarching lighting strategy or masterplan for its public space, and although some London Boroughs have introduced lighting masterplans, notably the recent document prepared by the City of London, there is no strategic planning document that addresses the long-term approach to public lighting across the capital. The London Plan is an excellent opportunity to rectify this, but unfortunately the present draft does not address many of the important issues and opportunities that could and should be included. 

London is a night time city with many residents, visitors and tourists drawn to the capital for its internationally renowned night life. As well as providing a safe and comfortable environment, lighting is critical to the appearance of the city at night, not only creating a high quality public realm but also providing some of the most iconic images of the city as it is perceived around the world. Lighting facilitates the night time economy but also the lives of those who work and travel at night supporting the wider economy.

Lighting is also hugely important as a part of urban design especially when considering the development of sustainable communities in residential areas. When undertaken as a coherent and integrated approach with other design disciplines, good lighting has a positive impact on public safety and the perception of safety, helping to tackle anti-social behaviour, improving quality of life and consequently contributing to social cohesion. These are principles that have been endorsed by the Configuring Light research programme at the London School of Economics and demonstrated by their work in London with social housing and the Peabody Trust.

Lighting also has an impact on health and wellbeing. Much research is being undertaken regarding this matter and we feel this is an issue that should be addressed.

As well as the design aspects relating to visual appearance there are technical factors to lighting that are important to consider. As new technology advances quickly, there are dangers that the quality of our night time environment may be compromised if the wrong technology is adopted. As new energy efficient LED lighting will have a service life of decades, it is critical that a long term strategic approach is taken to its selection and application.

Technology is also bringing new challenges and opportunities. The concept of smart cities and the potential for data collection and wi-fi networks provided by communications equipment integrated within the public lighting infrastructure is becoming a reality. The provision for other services such as charging systems for electric vehicles are again being integrated with lighting equipment. This type of system integration is already being used elsewhere to help coordinate traffic, parking, public transport and emergency services. Using technology in this way can bring improvements in energy efficiency, a reduction in traffic emissions and provide valuable data for long term analysis. For this to succeed in London a long term cross Borough approach is important alongside plans for lighting infrastructure upgrades.

We feel that lighting is too important to be consigned to the margins of planning policy. We wish to urge those with influence in policy making to move this essential element of our city life and health further up the agenda.

As an Institution we are committed to promoting best practice and quality in lighting and as such feel we are uniquely placed to contribute to the ongoing development of this important document. I offer our support in helping you to develop the London Plan. You can reach me through the contact details below and I look forward to hearing from you.' 

Yours sincerely

Alan Jaques IEng FILP President Institution of Lighting Professionals 

Please contact Jo Harding on with any questions about the ILP's response to the London Plan.

Jo Harding is Marketing and PR consultant to the ILP.