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Westminster environment guidance - Section B

Find information on carbon and pollution reduction, as well as urban greening.

Section B - light pollution

Artificial lighting is used in our city for:

  • safety – when travelling in the dark, pavements, cycle lanes and roads are lit to be safe and accessible
  • celebration –  seasonal illuminations celebrate Christmas, Diwali and other festivities’ and
  • activity – from sports pitches to restaurants, lighting helps to extend the number of hours in which an activity can be enjoyed

Westminster’s street lighting uses LED bulbs which use less energy than incandescent, halogen and compact fluorescent lamps.  We have teamed this with a central management system which ensures that the best level of lighting is provided when it is needed and in the right place.

When sited incorrectly, lighting can be a nuisance, disrupt biodiversity and illuminate residential areas and buildings inappropriately.

The Institute of Lighting Professionals sets out current best practice which we advocate and based on that we have divided the city into three zones as set out below.

Light pollution zones

City Plan Area

  • within the Central Activity Zone and Lord’s Cricket Ground except for the Royal Parks and The Thames - ILE Zone 4 recommended standard
  • outside the Central Activity Zone except for the Royal Parks and the Thames - ILE Zone 3 recommended standard
  • within the Royal Parks and the Thames - ILE Zone 2 recommended standard

The Royal Parks and the Thames have the lowest level of illumination to protect biodiversity and the highest level of illumination is within the Central Activity Zone (CAZ) where the commercial and cultural offer is highest. The CAZ also has a large resident community and disruption to their evenings must be minimised to maintain their amenity.  

You must consider the environmental impact of lighting, which should not prevent appropriate levels of illumination for safety and accessibility. Sport England’s Outdoor Sports Lighting guidance is a useful starting point for lighting outdoor sports events/facilities – setting out what applicants should do before submitting an application such as consultation.

For more information see guidance produced by the Institute of Lighting Professionals.

Published: 23 April 2021

Last updated: 23 April 2021