Motorway lighting will be permanently switched off at two sites in the South West of England to reduce carbon emissions and light pollution.
The Highways Agency has announced that lighting at the following locations will be switched off from next week:
* On the On the M4 Motorway between Almondsbury Junction 20 to Severn Beach Junction 22 (approximately 5.3 miles);
* On the M48 at Aust
*Almondsbury Interchange and the approaches will remain lit, as will the Toll Plaza at M48 Severn Bridge.
The stretches of motorway have a good safety record and following careful assessment, analysis shows that the lights can be switched off without increasing risks to road user safety.
Under a current standard for lighting on England’s motorways and major A roads, which was 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.
Mike Wilson, South West Regional Director for the Highways Agency, said: “Since 2009 we’ve switched lighting off between the hours of Midnight and 5am on 15 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 switching off lights does not appear to have affected traffic volumes or speed.
“This is not about wishing to remove all lights from the motorway network, but we are confident we can now begin to permanently switch off motorway lights at certain sites.
“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 expect an annual reduction in carbon emissions on these stretches of about 330 tonnes. Local communities will also benefit from reduced light pollution of the night sky.”