Highways Agency to permanently switch off lights

 

Drivers of vans covered by commercial vehicle insurance, who work during the night, will be left in the dark, as lighting on the M1 motorway in Bedfordshire is being permanently switched off in an effort to cut both carbon emissions and light pollution.

Three junctions affected

The Highways Agency have assessed the area and decided that parts of the M1 can be safely unlit between junctions 10 and 13. The area is the latest to have its lights switched off and the fifteen mile stretch of motorway between Luton and Milton Keynes will have other changes which include using variable speed limits and opening the hard shoulder as an additional lane during extremely busy periods.

Turn off now permanent

It is not a new policy for the Highways Agency, they have been reducing lighting on motorways for about two years now, and so far their selective turn-offs have had no serious impact on safety issues or figures. This year though, marks a change in the strategy. Since the spring of this year, 3 sites have had their lights switched off permanently and the agency is now trying to identify other locations where this can be done.

Cash saved will be re-invested

The new measures are all part of the highways agency’s plan to divert revenue to where it can be best used. The money saved by the switch off will be used on other safety measures on the road network where it could have a more significant benefit, and the potential to save the lives of motorists. Most night time travellers are professional drivers with business van insurance. These drivers are used to working unsocial hours and also accustomed to driving in the dark; the changes should not dramatically affect them. The conditions will come as a challenge to many ordinary motorists though, who are driving through the night in “one-off” situations.

Turn off will cut carbon emissions

It is hoped that a yearly reduction in carbon emissions of about 800 tonnes will be made. The switch-off started on August 17 and the removal of all lighting columns will be done in phases until the autumn of next year. CCTV cameras which are able to work without lighting will be installed so that the Highways Agency can monitor what is happening on the motorway, especially with regards to safety.

 

 

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