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Roads: Lighting

Volume 488: debated on Tuesday 24 February 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment he has made of the likely effects on (a) levels of road safety and (b) numbers of road accidents of reducing the hours during which (i) street and (ii) motorway lighting is used; and if he will make a statement. (255612)

Street lighting service levels on local roads are a matter for individual highway authorities.

The effects of reducing lighting levels or turning lights off will vary from case to case. Any reduction in energy use would have to be balanced against potential adverse effects, for example on accidents. The UK Lighting Board in conjunction with the Institution of Lighting Engineers has published “Invest to Save” which provides guidance to local authorities considering reducing lighting levels. The document can be found at the Institution of Lighting Engineers’ website at:

In respect of motorways, the Highways Agency provides and renews lighting by conducting a cost-benefit appraisal based on the historic accident rates for individual locations. This aims to deliver improvements to road safety and reduced night time accidents, where they would have the most effect.

Consideration is being given to switching off lighting on sections of motorway where there is a good safety record, traffic flows are low between midnight and 5 am, and have been subject to the completion of a thorough safety risk assessment.