Lights could be dimmed on miles of roads across England as The Highways Agency looks at ways of reducing carbon emissions and business energy costs.
There is a proposal from The Highways Agency to reduce the light levels on A-roads when roads are not very busy.
Research will be carried out to assess when and where lights could be dimmed and the local transport minister, Norman Baker, said he supported the proposal as long as it didn’t adversely affect safety.
With rising business electricity prices many organisations and businesses are looking at ways of cutting energy costs and reducing their carbon footprint at the same time.
The announcement was made as the result of a parliamentary question to the Transport Secretary, Justine Greening, from Mr Kawczynski, the MP for Shrewsbury and Atcham. He asked “what plans she has to revise guidance on the minimum amount of lighting required on A roads”.
Mr Baker’s written reply was “The Highways Agency has plans to reduce the level of lighting on A roads when traffic levels are significantly below road capacity. The agency has no plans to reduce the level of lighting on A roads during the peak periods that occur during the hours of darkness or to temporarily switch A road lighting off when traffic flows are low”.
He added “The level of light reduction will be based upon internationally agreed standards and made in consultation with the UK’s Institution of Lighting Professionals”.
He said it was right that the lighting authorities think about how to cut costs and reduce environmental emissions. However, this had to be done consistently with proper safety assessments.
A spokesman for the Highways Agency said “This is not about switching off lights on A-roads. However, we want to continue to reduce the carbon footprint associated with managing England’s major A-roads and one of the ways we are considering doing this is dimming lights when traffic levels are very low”.
He added “Any changes to light level will be determined in consultation with industry experts and will meet internationally agreed standards to ensure there will be no impact on safety for road users”.
Utility Exchange has reported in the past that a number of councils are switching off lights altogether on some roads during the night when traffic is light. As business electricity prices continue to increase and energy costs go up then it seems more businesses and agencies will look at ways of reducing costs including switching off or dimming lights in public places when it’s safe to do so.