Under the proposals, developments in certain parts of the historic financial district would be governed by “curfew times” when all external lighting should be switched off or dimmed, apart from lights required for safety or crime prevention.
The governing authority would divide the Square Mile into different “brightness zones”, each governed by different lighting rules, it said. Residential areas and those with special heritage status would have earlier evening curfews than those in central business districts.
Under the plans, which are under consultation until 17 February, all developers planning new buildings in the City would need to agree to comply with the rules, in addition to submitting their own building lighting strategies.
The City of London Corporation is also drawing up guidance to spur more efficient lighting in older buildings, and to encourage businesses and building owners to sign up to a new Considerate Lighting Charter, a voluntary commitment to improving lighting and saving energy in the City.
The proposals come amid growing concern about the carbon and financial costs associated with energy wastage for businesses and building operators, such through the unnecessary use of lighting in offices after daytime hours when most workers have gone home for the evening.
Studies have also shown light pollution is reducing the visibility of stars in the sky at night, as well as disturbing the sleeping and waking patterns of birds.
Shravan Joshi, planning and transportation committee chairman at the City of London Corporation, encouraged workers and residents to take part in the consultation.
“The strategy laid out in this document is aimed at ensuring an intelligent, sensitive approach to lighting which ensures the City is safe and accessible, while protecting its historic character and the amenity of our residents,” he said. “We would really welcome the views of people who live, work in or visit the City, which will help us to shape how we enshrine responsible lighting in planning process and to meet our ambitious climate targets.”