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Carnaby Street is leading the way with sustainable Christmas lights

Lucy Lovell

London’s Christmas lights are legendary, but 2019 sees one famous street taking a different approach. 

Carnaby Street’s lights are always some of the most marvellous in town, and this year is no exception. In an effort to illuminate one of the most pressing issues of our time, it’s collaborating with ocean conservation charity Project Zero to create a more eco-friendly Christmas display. 

Organisers have gone with an underwater theme to highlight the issue, creating an immersive oceanic scene of floating kelp, swimming sea creatures and bright pink coral. The decorations – which use water-based, vegan-friendly paint – feature a five-metre-long whale that blows bubbles, giant clusters of jellyfish and 200 lit-up squid. 

Photograph: Anthony Upton/PA Wire

The best part? It’s all been made using recycled and reusable materials, including repurposed fishing nets, 500 metres of upcycled bubble wrap and more than 1,500 recycled plastic bottles. What’s more, the power for the lights is 100 percent renewably sourced.

The environmental campaigners at Project Zero have also awarded Carnaby Street the Blue Turtle mark, confirming that restaurants along this road are taking steps to protect the oceans by pledging to eliminate avoidable single-use plastics, reduce waste and source sustainable seafood.

The deep-sea display will be revealed in all its glory from 6pm today (Thursday November 7), when Carnaby Street celebrates with a big switch-on ceremony. Okay, it might not be the answer to the oceans’ problems, but it’s certainly a good start. Let’s hope Santa is taking notes. 

Feeling super-festive? Check out our guide to Christmas in London

How about these sustainable supermarkets in London or these London bars and restaurants that are making the city greener 

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