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Scare mongering over street lighting reduction not backed by evidence

3,000 miles of motorway do not have street lighting. Some, including the Sunday Telegraph and The Mirror, have presented this as news. The Mirror talked about them being "plunged into darkness." But 3,000 miles of motorway and trunk roads have never had street lighting. The news is that an extra 98 miles are to be unlit.

The Highways Agency are undertaking this modest reduction in street lighting after pilot studies suggested no increase in road accidents.

Tim Harbot, Midlands 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. This includes some stretches of lighting on the M5 and the M54 in the West Midlands. 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."

The latest alarmist splurge has also stuck the story together with the lighting reductions from local councils. It is mentioned that their are "suggestions" or "concerns" that it might increase crime or accidents. But in places like Essex and Gloucestershire the policy of reducing street lighting is well established for a matter of years. It turns out that burglars don't like the dark as using torches attracts attention.

Essex Council report:

Crime statistics recorded during the trial showed no significant change due to the installation of part-night lighting in the two districts. The number of offences occurring between 11.30pm and 5.30am actually dropped by 14% in Maldon and by 12.6% in Uttlesford. Since the pilot scheme began there has also been no demonstrable increase in road collisions.


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