The Highways Agency (HA) has had to issue a clarification of its motorway lighting policy after a UK national newspaper, the Sunday Telegraph, published a story on October 29, entitled ‘Row over street lights turned off at night’, which was subsequently followed up and reported by other media. The story implied that lighting had been switched off on 3,080 miles (4,956km) of motorway. The HA media release states that, “In fact the number of miles of motorway that are currently unlit, as a result of our program to reduce carbon emissions, is under 100 miles in total (98.4 miles). In addition, the media reporting did not explain the safety considerations that underpin the Highways Agency’s decisions on removal of lighting from carefully selected sites.”
The HA’s statement explains that the agency’s program is not about wishing to remove all lights from the motorway network. It is about carefully identifying the locations where, under the latest guidelines for motorway lighting that were revised in 2007 following the latest research into the safety benefits provided by motorway lighting, the HA would not consider installing lighting for the first time. The agency says that evidence so far, from the first six sites where lighting was switched off between midnight and 05:00, indicates that switching off the lights on the carefully selected sections of motorway has not had an adverse impact on safety. Analysis also suggests no impact on traffic volumes or speed.
The HA states that it will only turn off lights at further sites following careful site safety assessments. The statement concludes, “The majority of the motorway network (70%) has never had lighting installed, even under the previous lighting standards, when motorway lighting was thought to have a greater safety benefits than it does today.”
30 October 2012
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