The Environment

The project puts wildlife, sustainability and energy efficiency at the heart of every decision. It provides an opportunity to explore and address issues of increasing lighting pollution and energy inefficiency in the city.

Millennium Bridge. © Sean Pollock

The Illuminated River is undertaking research and consultation to ensure the project leaves a positive environment legacy for London. It is already inspiring new partnerships and collaboration between those who use and are working along the Thames.

  • Flora and Fauna

    Flora and Fauna

    This project seeks to improve natural habitats for flora and wildlife, and we are working closely with agencies including London Wildlife Trust, the Environment Agency, Zoological Society of London, Thames Estuary Partnership, the Bat Conservation Trust, and London Biodiversity Forum.

    The design of the new light fittings and their shields will refocus light on the bridge surfaces and not into the river or surrounding areas. The project aims to reduce direct light spill by 75% and remove it entirely where possible. Some bridges, such as London Bridge, currently have very high levels of light spill, which is extremely harmful to fish.

  • Reducing light pollution

    Reducing light pollution

    By removing existing excessive fittings and using more subtle LEDs, the project will enhance the architectural beauty of the bridges and provide a better environment for wildlife.

    Read more about how we are working to put The right light – in the right places.

  • Responsive design

    Responsive design

    Leo Villareal’s lighting concept is a subtle kinetic artwork programmed using computer software to be very site specific to each bridge. The artwork will be digitally controlled, there will be opportunities to dim it at certain times – for example, to respond to spawning, shoaling and migration. These key moments can also be promoted to the public, making the invisible life of the Thames visible.

  • Energy efficiency

    Energy efficiency

    Using the latest LED technology, the project has the potential to reduce existing energy consumption by as much as 50%. Longer lasting technologies will ensure the reduction of maintenance costs.

  • Renewable energy

    Renewable energy

    The project is exploring opportunities to use off-site renewable energy and emerging green technologies.

  • Data and evidence gathering

    Data and evidence gathering

    Our pioneering luminance and wildlife surveys of the Thames area between Tower and Albert Bridges, together with constant monitoring and assessment of the installation and its environs, will contribute to London’s growing understanding of its river environment.

Working in Partnership

The project is already inspiring new partnerships and collaborations between those who use, inhabit, admire and work on the Thames. The project has the valuable help and advice of the London Wildlife Trust, the Environment Agency, Zoological Society of London, Thames Estuary Partnership, the Bat Conservation Trust, London Biodiversity Forum, the GLA and others whom the team update and meet with regularly.

Since the winning design was selected, I’ve been really impressed with the Illuminated River team’s pro-active approach to seek advice regarding how lighting design, lighting type and lighting levels could impact wildlife, specifically concerning fish in my case. By organising an ecology meeting at such an early stage of the project, I am confident that the advice provided will be used by the architects to minimise impact on fish, and other wildlife, during the design process. Following a trip on the Thames with Leo Villareal and the Illuminated River team; it is clear that the project partners are striving to produce an ecologically sensitive design and I look forward to seeing the installation draw attention to the wonderful Thames environment.

Joanna Barker, Marine and Freshwater Project Manager, ZSL (Zoological Society of London)

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