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We’ve listened: council to retain 174 heritage gas lamps following consultation

Published: 22 November 2022

Following a wide consultation with heritage bodies, gas lamp enthusiasts and residents, Westminster City Council has decided to halt the proposed conversion of 174 gas lamps to LED. The 174 gas lamps include 138 Grade II listed gas lamps and 36 non-listed gas lamps in prominent positions across the city, and will continue to light the streets of Westminster in the current structure.

In a change to its proposals, the council will now convert 94 non-listed gas lamps to LED. These 94 non-listed gas lamps will be fitted with the most recent LED lighting developed by specialist manufacturers which both replicates the soft ‘honey’ lighting glow, as well as including replica mantles, piping and clocks. In addition, the designs of the three replacement lantern styles will be enhanced to reflect more of the detail of the original lanterns, following consultation with Historic England and other heritage bodies.

The council also heard from Westminster residents and residents’ groups who urged the council to replace the gas lamps with LED lights as part of its wider commitments on climate action. The council’s revised proposals demonstrate how changes to the built environment can contribute to decarbonisation.

Concerns remain around growing delays experienced in repairing the gas pipes which service these lamps. This leaves some streets in darkness for extended periods and poses a genuine safety risk for residents and visitors. The council will work with suppliers and partners such as Cadent Gas to resolve this issue. However the council may need to electrify other gas lamps where we face lengthy delays to repairs or it becomes too costly or unsafe not to. 

Councillor Paul Dimoldenberg, Cabinet Member for City Management and Air Quality at Westminster City Council said:

We thank everyone who has commented and contributed to the debate on this very serious and impassioned matter. We have listened closely to the heritage bodies, gas lamp enthusiasts and residents who have given their views and now propose to change our proposals to reflect the concerns expressed. Public safety has always been our prime consideration, but we also acknowledge the strong heritage issues at stake.

We hope that by keeping the 174 gas lights shining across Westminster, we can both keep our streets safe and preserve our precious heritage. Converting the 94 unlisted gas lamps to LED will make a positive contribution to reaching the council’s zero carbon target by 2030.

The consultation was put on hold by the previous administration before the local council elections in May 2022. Following the elections, the newly elected council reactivated and widened the consultation to include three on-site public presentations which attracted over 100 people. The council has received over 1,250 representations.

The 174 gas lamps will be retained in the following streets:

  • The listed gas lamps are on: Albany Courtyard, Bedford Street, Buckingham Palace Road, Carlton Gardens, Carlton House Terrace, Carting Lane, Catherine Street, Chandos Place, Churton Place, St Paul’s – Covent Garden, Dean Bradley Street, Dean Stanley Street, Dean’s Yard, Goodwin’s Court, Henrietta Street, King Street, Little College Street, New Row, The Sanctuary, Smith Square, St James’s Place, Tavistock Street, Trevor Square, Warwick Street
  • The unlisted gas lamps are on: Barton Street, Blue Ball Yard, Buckingham Mews, Carlton Gardens, Cecil Court, Cowley Street, Grosvenor Gardens Mews West, Inigo Place, Maunsel Street, Old Palace Yard, Rutland Gardens, Strand junction Carting Lane