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  1. ITV Report

Is driving in the darkness the future?

Motorway lighting is to be permanently switched off on a stretch of the M1 in a bid to reduce carbon emissions and light pollution. Photo: PA

Motorway lighting is to be permanently switched off on a stretch of the M1 in a bid to reduce carbon emissions and light pollution.

The Highways Agency have announced that lights on a 13-mile-stretch of the motorway between Bedford (J13) and the border between Buckinghamshire and Northamptonshire will be switched off just after midnight on 4th September this year.

The decision comes after an assessment revealed that turning the lights off will not increase risks to the safety of motorists.

However the motorway junctions will remain lit, Highways Agency's David Gingell says since 2009 certain sections have been switched off between midnight and 5.00am:

"We are confident we can now begin to permanently switch off motorway lights at certain 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 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 anticipate achieving an annual reduction in carbon emissions on this stretch of motorway of about 1,094 tonnes. Local communities will also benefit from reduced light pollution of the night sky."

– David Gingell, Regional Director for the East of England at the Highways Agency