Lights switched off on M1 section

Lights are to be permanently switched off on one of Britain's busiest sections of motorway, the Highways Agency said today.







The 15-mile stretch is on the M1 from junction 10 at Luton in Bedfordshire to junction 13 at Milton Keynes in Buckinghamshire.



The motorway junctions and their approaches, and a section either side of junction 11 north of Luton, will remain lit.



Work is currently going on to make the junction 10-13 section a "managed motorway" where variable speed limits are used and the hard shoulder opened up as an additional lane at peak times.



The Highways Agency said that after careful analysis, it was confident that managed motorways could be operated unlit without affecting their proven congestion reducing and safety benefits.



The agency's director, Derek Turner, said: "Since 2009 we've switched lighting off between the hours of midnight and 5am on 14 carefully-selected stretches of motorways and evidence so far indicates that switching off the lights hasn't had an impact on safety. In March this year we also began permanently switching off motorway lights at three 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 no longer install lighting. The money saved could then be used for other measures 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 M1 stretch of about 810 tonnes. Local communities will also benefit from reduced light pollution of the night sky."

PA

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