Risk to Conservation Areas of LED lighting

victorian lamp 1

Around the country heritage lamps (above) are being replaced by modern LED lamps (below), even in some Conservation Areas.

Led light 2

This may save councils money (some decades after paying for the enormous initial outlay of replacing so many lamps at several thousand pounds each in some cases) as LED lights are said to last longer (not yet proven) and use less power, but it is disastrous for heritage as they are wholly unsympathetic in light and style (though occasionally LED bulbs are inserted into heritage lamp fittings with less than acceptable results).

Aside from the sheer ugliness of modern LED lamp posts, LED bulbs emit a harsh and dazzling blue-tinted light which has been associated with health issues including migraines and blamed for interrupting sleep patterns in various areas where they have been installed. There have even been protests against them in many European cities including Glasgow and Rome.

Certainly you wouldn’t want to find LED lights on any postcards, advertising or tourist brochures as they are deeply unflattering to the streetscapes around them, possessing all the ‘charm of a shower unit.’  They could never replace architectural lighting either to showcase our greatest architectural gems.

Ultimately these lights need to go back to the drawing board until they can replicate the flattery of incandescent, halogen or soft sodium fittings which sit easily in heritage lamp standards, as LED are not fit for heritage or conservation area use. Nor can they be dimmed. Montpelier Road is a good example of how LED lights can destroy the look and special ambiance of a Conservation Area. A range of LED bulbs are said to be available but they are certainly not being procured for street lights if so. In fact we have only found examples intended for indoor domestic use.

Brighton and Hove Heritage Commission is against the use of LED street lights in Brighton and Hove and were pleased to see the recent letter from Graham Chainey in the Brighton Argus (reproduced below).

We hope this ridiculous EU directive will be abandoned post-Brexit.

It also turns out that long life bulbs have been possible, almost from the start of bulb manufacture. There has been a deliberate world cartel since 1924 to ensure built in obsolescence, a practice which continues today, irrespective of environmental concerns.

Petition against LED streetlights in Brighton and Hove here. Please sign.

LED lights letter