Monday, 26 November 2012

Highways Agency switch off motorway lights to "save the planet"

Motorway lights switched offPA

It's been revealed the Government has turned off the lights on 121 miles of motorway in the last three years to help "save the planet".

The startling revelation has been discovered after the motoring organisation the AA placed a freedom of information request with the Highways Agency.

Drivers have had to rely on their headlamps and cats eyes due to motorway lights being turned off between midnight and 5am as part of the Government's attempts to reduce carbon emissions.

The motorways which have been plunged into the dark over the past three years have been the M4 near junctions 21 and 22, March 2009; the M5 between junctions 2 and 4, February 2011; the M1 between junction 16 and Watford Gap services, February 2011; the M4 between junctions 11 and 12, June 2009; and the M54 from its junction with the M6 to junction 2 near Wolverhampton, March 2011.

But there's also a number of motorways where the lights have been turned off for good; these include parts of the M58; M65; M1 and M6.

The AA has issued its concerns about the black-outs, but the Highways Agency has said road safety has not been compromised.

The lights have been turned off in areas affected by fog, says the AA – the Highways Agency believes it has undertaken safety assessments and is happy.

AA spokesman Paul Watters said: "What's wrong with dimming the lights or using more energy efficient lighting?

"It smacks of penny pinching more than saving the planet. Given the amount of tax motorists are paying they deserve a better deal.

"They shouldn't have to squint in the dark. We're going to end up with a motorway network that's only partially lit."

But the Highways Agency said the 121 miles of motorway (242 miles in both directions) was part of a network made up of 1,070 miles.

The Institute of Advanced Motorists is not impressed at the news. A spokesperson told AOL Cars: "The risk of fatal accidents increases in the dark simply because of reduced visibility.

"Modern headlamps are very good, but they do not light enough of the road ahead to help drivers avoid hazards at motorway speeds. At 70 mph the stopping distance is just 315ft."

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