Lights on a thirteen mile stretch of the M1 between junction 13 (Bedford) and the border between Buckinghamshire and Northamptonshire will be switched-off at 00:01 on 04 September 2012.
This follows a careful assessment which shows that the safety record along this stretch of motorway is good and that the lights can be switched off without increasing risks to road user safety.
This is the second stretch of motorway in the region where lighting is being switched-off. In August last year lighting was switched off on the M1 between junctions 10 (Luton) and 13 (Bedford).
Under a revised standard for lighting on England's motorways and major A roads introduced in 2007, lights would not be installed at these sites if the existing lighting was due to be replaced - or if the sites were opening as new.
The motorway junctions and their approaches will remain lit.
David Gingell, Regional Director for the East of England at the Highways Agency, said:
"Since 2009 we've switched lighting off between the hours of Midnight and 5am on 13 carefully selected stretches of motorways and evidence so far indicates that switching off the lights hasn't had an impact on safety. Analysis also suggests that driver behaviour does not appear to have been affected in terms of traffic volumes and speed.
"We are confident we can now begin to permanently switch off motorway lights at certain sites. This is not about wishing to remove all lights from the motorway network. It's about carefully identifying the locations where, under the revised guidelines, we would not consider installing lighting. The money saved could then be used elsewhere on the Strategic Road Network where it would have a more significant safety benefit and potentially save more lives.
"We anticipate achieving an annual reduction in carbon emissions on this stretch of motorway of about 1,094 tonnes. Local communities will also benefit from reduced light pollution of the night sky."
Potential future sites for permanent switch off will continue to be assessed.
Notes to Editors
NOTES TO EDITORS
1. The Highways Agency is an executive agency of the Department for Transport. We manage, maintain and improve England’s motorways and other strategic roads on behalf of the Secretary of State.
2. Existing sites where lights are switched off between midnight and 5am:
Site - Length (Motorway miles)
M2 J3-4 – (5.3 miles)
M4 J7-8/9 – (2.7 miles)
M4 J11-12 – (3.0 miles)
M4 J21-22 – (2.9 miles)
M5 J29-30 – (1.4 miles)
M27 J7-8 – (2.4 miles)
M6 J27-28 – (9.5 miles)
M6 J26-27 – (1.2 miles)
M5 J2-4 – (8 miles)
M1 J16 to Watford Gap Services – (6 miles)
M6 J21a - J23 – (2.5 miles)
M5 J4a - J6 – (10.0 miles)
M6 J31- J31a – (2.0 miles)
M54 from its junction with the M6 to junction 2 near Wolverhampton – (5.0 miles)
Total Length 47.4 miles
Existing sites where lights are switched off permanently:
M58 J4 to J6 (approximately 3.8 miles)
M65 J7 to J10 (approximately 5.5 miles)
M66 J1 to J4 (approximately 6.6 miles).
M1 J10 and the A421 (approximately 15 miles).
M4 J20 to J22 as well as the M48 at Aust (approximately 5.3 miles)
Total Length 36.2 miles
3. Real-time traffic information for England’s motorways and other strategic roads is available:
- From the web at www.highways.gov.uk/traffic or www.highways.gov.uk/mobile if using a phone or mobile device.
- By phone from the Highways Agency Information Line on 0300 123 5000 at any time. (Calls to 0300 numbers will cost no more than 5p per minute from a standard BT residential landline. Call charges from other landlines and mobile networks may vary, but will be no more than a standard geographic call and will be included in all inclusive minutes and discount schemes). Make sure it’s safe and legal before you call. Before using any mobile, find a safe place to park. Never stop on the hard shoulder of a motorway except in an emergency.
- On an iPhone app which will automatically select the region you are in. Free to download from the iTunes store or search for Highways Agency on your device.
- From Twitter – there are eight feeds with live traffic information provided by region. For information on roads in the East follow us at @HAtraffic_east or for the full index visit www.highways.gov.uk/twitter.
4. Receive our national and regional press releases by RSS and get the latest headlines straight to your desktop the moment we publish them to our website. Choose to receive a national press feed or one of our regionalised feeds - go to www.highways.gov.uk/rssnews for more information.
Issued by Jessica Brown on behalf of the Highways Agency. For further information please contact Jessica Brown on 0121 687 4072 or Jane Manning on 01306 878110. Media enquiries out of hours should be made to the Highways Agency National Press Office (24hrs) on 0844 693 1448.
Issued on behalf of the Highways Agency by GNN East. For further information please call 01223 372782 / 83 / 84.