westminster gas lamp

London council abandons plans to scrap traditional gas lamps for LED bulbs

Image credit: Dreamstime

Proposals to upgrade 174 gas lamps in the borough of Westminster to LED bulbs have been abandoned by the local council.

Following a wide consultation with heritage bodies, gas lamp enthusiasts and residents, Westminster City Council decided to halt the proposed conversion.

The 174 gas lamps include 138 Grade II-listed gas lamps and 36 non-listed gas lamps in prominent positions across the city that will continue to light the streets of Westminster.

In a change to its proposals, the council will now convert 94 non-listed gas lamps to LED. They will be fitted with the most recent LED lighting developed by specialist manufacturers which replicates the soft ‘honey’ lighting glow, as well as 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 admitted that concerns remain around growing delays experienced in repairing the gas pipes which service these lamps, which leaves some streets in darkness for extended periods posing a safety risk. It said it would work with suppliers to try and resolve the issue but said it may need to electrify other gas lamps when it faces lengthy delays to repairs.

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.

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