Westminster City Council are keen to hear your views:
The consultation closed on 20th November 2022. Feel free to express your views, and continue to post comments on Instagram & Twitter.
1) The council says: "We are proud of our city’s heritage and as its cultural custodians, it is a responsibility we take seriously."
We say: “The destruction of 275 historic working gas lamps constitutes irreparable harm to London’s heritage in locations of sensitive and historic importance."
2) The council says: “How are (we) maintaining their authenticity? We are committed to ensuring that the special character of the existing lighting on impacted streets is retained."
We say: “Replica Lanterns with ‘gas-effect’ LEDs are not the answer. With just three basic LED powered prototypes, the council cannot replicate the full variety of models: i.e. the rare passage lamps, or the “Windsor” lamp- made by different companies over a long period of time."
3) The council says: "Gas lamps currently produce 200 tonnes of carbon per year. That’s the equivalent of 40 return flights from London to Sydney."
We say: “The gas lamps CO2 emissions represent a tiny 0.0088% of Westminster’s overall emissions. We urge the council to identify more impactful ways of reducing their carbon footprint. 40 return flights from London to Sydney suggests aircraft (and there are 51 flights PER day from London, or 358 per week, and Sydney is a one long-haul destination among many). But what the council is suggesting is 40 INDIVIDUAL PASSENGERS. According to Atmosfair, the carbon emissions of a scheduled economy return flight from London to Sydney is about 4 tonnes, so 200 tonnes equates to about 50 individual passengers. But the impact of contrails and ozone disruption makes that environmental impact three times greater, the equivalent of 11,452kg per passenger. At 200 tonnes the gas lamps are, actually, the equivalent of about 18 passengers.
There are about 50,000 Australians currently living in London, and we expect more than 18 of them to go home for Christmas.
4) The council says: "Gas lamps are of historical value but due to their age, mostly over 100 years old, they are becoming increasingly difficult, time-consuming and costly to maintain."
We say: “The British Gas Lamplighter team uphold a 200 year old tradition of gas lamp maintenance. We have visited the Lamp Lighters Lock Up in Battersea, and there is no shortage of spare parts or skills."
5) The council says "We have a budget of just under £3 million to undertake this work..."
We say: "The council gives their annual maintenance bill for the gas lights as £26,000 (in total) and this year's gas bill as £75,000. They predict that their annual energy bill for the new LED lights will be around £13,000 (with no figures given for maintenance). We don't think that a capital investment of £3million- now- to save approximately £90,000 per year (at today's prices- as energy prices are hard to predict) is good value for taxpayers. The money could be spent more effectively elsewhere."
6) The council says: "We have a duty to keep our street lighting in good working order to make sure our neighbourhoods remain safe and to help reduce the risk of crime."
We say: "In terms of public safety the lamps are in well-trodden streets augmented by other ambient light sources. We would support the introduction of sympathetic additional LED lighting where absolutely necessary, as has already been done in Bull Inn Court, Covent Garden."
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