Worry that ‘lights out’ hits safety

Idea: The AA says some councils are turning to low-energy technology to light roads
Idea: The AA says some councils are turning to low-energy technology to light roads
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Switching off street lighting is hampering a drive to cut the number of night-time road accidents, according to new statistics from the AA.

Despite research revealing night-time accidents in bad weather on 30mph urban roads had dropped by 15.6 per cent over the past five years, in places where street lights have been switched off or are not present, the fall is just two per cent, the AA’s UK-wide study claims.

AA president Edmund King said: “It is distinctly possible that the accident and casualty rates would have been even worse had some councils not taken advantage of PFI funding to invest in low-energy lighting technology.

“That option is now closed to them, but the AA urges the Government to speed up the use of the £200m challenge fund, identified by the Department for Transport, for helping councils to switch to greener and more energy-efficient lighting that can stay on all night.”

In March, Lancashire County Council came under fire for continuing to illuminate the outside of County Hall in Preston while planning to turn street lights off across the area in a bid to save £500,000 over the next four years.

Commenting on that story, the council insisted it caused “no problems” and pointed out that 70 per cent of the UK’s strategic road network, which includes motorways and major A-roads, is unlit.

Luke Bosdet, from the AA, said the organisation is against turning lights off completely.

He said: “More than one in 10 people who work leave the house between midnight and 5am

“This assumption by councils that switching off the lights until that time isn’t going to affect anybody is therefore plain wrong.”