Experiment to cast light on Lord’s future

NIGHT-TIME cricket matches could become a regular fixture at Lord s if a planning application for six temporary floodlights is successful

Susanna Wilkey

NIGHT-TIME cricket matches could become a regular fixture at Lord's if a planning application for six temporary floodlights is successful.

Marylebone Cricket Club has applied to Westminster Council to install six temporary floodlights at Lord's at the start of each cricket season for the next five years.

The floodlights are an integral part of MCC's Masterplan - which aims to improve Lord's for future generations and attract top class one day and Twenty20 cricket matches.

The ground experimented with floodlights last year, but residents complained that glaring light pouring into their homes was disrupting their lives.

The MCC has since changed the floodlights and is confident it now has higher quality, more accurate lighting to minimise problems for local residents and eliminate glare for players, umpires, broadcasters and spectators.

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Andrew Mainz, chairman of the St John's Wood Society, said: "Our position on this is that it is generally agreed that last year's experiment with the floodlights failed.

"And now we are working with Lord's to have another experiment in August this year. It has been agreed that the lights will be up for longer to try all different intensities.

"We want to come to an agreement with Lord's to give the ground what it needs without an unacceptable amount of light spilling outside the ground.

"It is hoped that the experiment will help to find a solution - because you cannot have a blanket ban on floodlights."

And Regent's Park Cllr Gwyneth Hampson said: "It is still early days and the residents are in consultation with Lord's so we will just have to wait for the experiment.

"Lord's and the residents are working together to find lights which everyone is happy with."

The application for temporary floodlights comes after an in-depth study by MCC, which looked at the growing demand for night games.

By providing floodlights Lord's hopes to retain its competitiveness in attracting these games - particularly the Twenty20 matches.

MCC secretary and chief executive Keith Bradshaw said: "Floodlights are now a key component for staging one day and Twenty20 matches.

"As the home of cricket globally, it is crucial that Lord's continues to host these games.

"The temporary option has been developed following a thorough analysis of floodlighting solutions.

"It's important that we take into account the effect on the local area as well as how it fits in with the Lord's Masterplan, which will see significant and long-term improvements at Lord's."

Last year's floodlight trial failed to meet England and Wales Cricket Board standards because light glare was not controlled effectively. Another trial is now planned for August this year to address some of these issues.

Temporary floodlights for the next five years will allow the MCC to monitor the impact of floodlighting on both the game and the local community over a longer period of time, with a view to finding a permanent solution.

The floodlights will be erected for the summer season and taken down during the winter for the next five years.