Lights switched off overnight on five miles of M54

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Lights have been switched off or dimmed on more than 121 miles of motorway, including on a five mile-stretch of the M54, it was revealed today.

The Government said it was trying to cut carbon-dioxide emissions, according to a response to a Freedom of Information request by drivers' group the AA.

Lights were either turned off altogether or dimmed, which the AA has criticised because it affects drivers' views of the road.

The Highways Agency, which manages motorways, stressed that safety had not been compromised. It switched off lights altogether on 62 miles of motorways between midnight and 5am.

This included a five-mile stretch of the M54 from junction 2 near Coven Heath to where it meets junction 10A of the M6, which began in March last year.

The M5 between junctions 2 at Oldbury, past Halesowen to junction 4 near Bromsgrove is also dark overnight, a total of eight miles. On the M6 between junctions 15 and 16 near Stoke-on-Trent the lights were switched off in September.

In its response to the AA the agency said: "In total midnight switch off is in place on nearly 62 miles of our motorway network, with permanent switch off in place on more than 59 miles of our network."

It said the switch off was supporting 'the Government's wider agenda on reducing carbon emissions'. AA spokesman Paul Watters said: "It smacks of penny pinching more than saving the planet. Given the amount of tax motorists are paying they deserve a better deal."

The agency said the switch off should be seen 'in context' and that 40 to 50 per cent of England's 1,070 miles of motorway were built without any lighting.

It said in the 1970s lighting would prevent 30 per cent of accidents. Today it is said to be 10 per cent.

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