The Highways Agency has turned off yet another 121 miles of motorway lights over the last three years in a frantic attempt to lower CO2 output, prompting resistance.
This has of course been met with opposition for safety campaigners as the lack of lighting would of course lead to a loss of visibility, particularly in heavy rain or fog. This could well mean fatalities or accidents causing motor insurance companies a lot of money. Also, no-one has considered that for motorcyclists, the danger is even greater due to the lack wipers on helmet visors, especially in heavy rains.
No energy-efficient alternatives?
Despite there being an option to install energy efficient lighting systems, the government has decided to leave huge stretches of motorway in the dark. We think that this aim for reducing carbon emissions is a façade for a lack of government funding. If the government was seriously considering carbon emissions they would no doubt think of the fact that the whole process of manufacturing lighting systems from start to finish would probably have used far more carbon dioxide than providing motorway lighting for hundreds of years. Abandoning it is what one could call ‘carbon irresponsibility’: The damage has been done so lets make the most of what we’ve got.
Local councils have also turned off much street lighting which has not only led to motoring concerns but safety concerns too. There have been certain interest groups campaigning to have the lights switched on to protect local residents from cars and crime.
What we would suggest?
We would suggest that the highways agency consider turning lighting on during rainfall and fog to ensure better visibility, at least, lest they compromise the safety of road users. Whilst we acknowledge that is a government budget deficit and do not for one moment believe the ‘green cover-up’, if you consider that one road fatality costs something in the region of £1,000,000 it may prove more cost effective to leave the lights on.