Highway Agency to permanently switch off the road lighting on sections of the M1 Motorway in Bedfordshire
OK, you could discuss the impact of carbon emissions all day long and different people will have different views and light pollution I guess makes it more difficult to see the stars at night!
Well for those two reasons, the chaps at the Highway Agency have decided to permanently switch off the road lighting on sections of the M1 Motorway in Bedfordshire.
The stretch of road they are talking about is between junction 10 (Luton) and junction 13 (Milton Keynes) and its going to be plunged into darkness permanently over its 15 mile length.
The Highways Agency says that they have been switching lights off between the hours of midnight and 5am on around 14 carefully selected stretches of motorway in the UK since 2009 and there has been no evidence of any impact on safety. In March 2011, the agency began turning off lights permanently at three different sites.
The stretch of the M1 affected is being upgraded to help reduce congestion which will see the opening of the hard shoulder as an additional lane during peak travel times. To help with “safety” they will also be introducing variable speed limits (and you know what that means).
Apparently, lighting on this stretch of the road is in a pretty poor state of repair and following the introduction of new standards relating to “A” roads and motorways in 2007, it would mean that were this a newly built road, lights wouldn’t be installed there in the first place and as such, replacing them isn’t on the cards either.
The Highway Agency says that they are not intending to remove all lights from Motorways , but look carefully at areas where under the new guide lines, lighting would not have been installed (were it a new road being built). That way, money can be saved and used in other areas where it could have more of an impact, show safety benefits and save lives.
The big “turn-off” started on 17th August and will be followed by removal of the lighting columns and the fitting of a CCTV camera system that is able to work in low light conditions, enabling staff of the Highway Agency to monitor the road 24-7.
On the up-side, they say that turning these lights off on that stretch of the M1 will reduce the annual carbon emissions by about 810 tonnes and that people living in the area will have less night sky pollution. Now, if they can just get rid of the cars, trucks & busses, they’ve got it sorted!