Plans to install the Olympic rings and Paralympic agitos at the top of Tower Bridge have been approved by the boroughs of Southwark and Tower Hamlets.
The project includes the replacement of Tower Bridge's 25-year-old lights with a new energy efficient eco-friendly system funded by Olympic sponsors GE and EDF.
Replacing the current static lights with a system capable of displaying varying colours and intensity will enable the bridge to play a key role in special events such as the Olympic and Paralympic games, New Year's Eve and the Queen's Diamond Jubilee.
During the 45 days of the games next summer, the Olympic rings and Paralympic agitos will be suspended from the bridge's upper walkways and will be the centrepiece of a daily 'light show' intended to be viewed from Potters Fields Park (which is to be renamed 'London Park' for the duration).
Because the rings and agitos will reduce the normal clearance for boats passing through Tower Bridge, the Port of London Authority has warned that a bundle of straw will need to be suspended from the bridge to alert mariners to the reduced headroom.
"The spectacular view of Tower Bridge from my office in City Hall is one of my favourites in London, and it's fantastic to now be able to crack on with this work to make it even better, brighter and greener and at no cost to the taxpayer," says Mayor of London Boris Johnson.
"This city is going to be watched by the world next summer and this grand old lady of London, one of our best loved landmarks, is now set to play a sparkling role in the celebrations.
"But what's more, this is another lasting legacy stemming from the games which will benefit the city for decades."
English Heritage had initially objected to the plans because the logos of EDF and GE will be projected onto the bridge, which is a grade I listed building, every evening throughout the Olympic period. The heritage watchdog later withdrew its objection in recognition of the exceptional circumstances of the London Olympics.
EDF Energy will also be supplying electricity for Tower Bridge and will match every unit of electricity that is used by the landmark with power generated from low carbon sources.
Work is expected to start imminently on the installation of the new equipment.
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