The London Plan is a document which outlines the vision for the development of London’s infrastructure over the next 25 years and is likely to influence the development decisions of other cities and towns. When the draft was first released, we were concerned that lighting had been overlooked, with just 6 mentions of lighting within the 526 page document which only addressed relatively broad issues (I wrote about this in the Lighting Journal). Our President at that time, Alan Jaques, wrote to the Mayor of London but with little initial effect.
Feeling that this issue was too important to ignore, I then enlisted the support of ILP Engagement and Communications Manager, Jess Gallacher. As the creator of the ILP How To Be Brilliant initiative I knew that she may have contacts within our community who could enable our voice to be heard. Fortunately for the ILP this proved to be the case. Myself, Jess and an ILP student member were invited to a meeting at the Mayor’s Office where we were able to set out our case, and given support and advice on the way forward.
A series of communications followed, led by Jess, collaborating with me and with the backing of some of my fellow Vice Presidents responsible for different areas of lighting. We were able to raise and get responses on specific lighting issues. We had a particularly supportive response from the Deputy Mayor for Culture and the Creative Industries, Justine Simons.
As a result, the Institution of Lighting Professionals was invited to participate in the Examination in Public phase. I was delighted to brief our CEO, Tracey White, to represent us with the following message:
In the Northern hemisphere people spend a large amount of time under artificial light. In the winter the sun sets as early as mid-afternoon and, in the summer, life goes on into the early hours, especially in London which more than anywhere else in the UK is a 24-hour city. Lighting impacts all aspects of London life – the quality of public realm at home, at work and for leisure time. It impacts well-being, health, security and safety and not simply an aesthetic consideration. Lighting impacts the environment and sustainability. Lighting is critical to the urban economy in a 24-hour city and also the quality of lighting design impacts on social issues, the vulnerable and anti-social behaviour. Lighting design is not simply a matter of light levels: it is a highly technical subject that draws as much from urban design and architecture than it does from engineering. Lighting cuts across disciplines it is both an art and a science. The ILP’s professional, specialist and academic membership and collaborators cross all of these boundaries and it is the only organisation that can speak authoritatively on all aspects of lighting engineering and design in the urban realm.
The Examination in Public phase is now complete and we await the final outcome of the Plan. As Vice President Architectural Lighting I am pleased to have made an impact on this important initiative and I would like to pay particular thanks to Fran Unerman, Don Slater, Paul Traynor, Mark Ridler and Jess Gallacher for their support and involvement.