Motorway lighting on, what the agency has called, a ‘carefully selected section’ of the M27 in Hampshire will be switched off between midnight and 5am in a move to reduce carbon emissions and light pollution.

Lighting on the M27 between junctions seven and eight near Southampton will be switched off between midnight and 5am from the morning of Thursday 23 April, but the motorway junctions and their approaches will remain lit.

This is the first of four sites in the south east, following a successful launch of the scheme in the south west in March.

The agency hope to achieve up to a 40% saving in carbon emissions and energy use for each section of motorway where they carry out the tests.

The site has an excellent safety record and a very low traffic flow between midnight and 5am, and has been chosen as the first site for the Highways Agency’s programme in the south east.

Jon Griffiths, Highways Agency network operations director in the south east, said: “We are looking for ways to reduce the carbon footprint of operating the motorway network and this is one step in that direction.

“We have carefully chosen sites where the traffic flows are so low in the early hours that when taken together with the good safety record of the sites, there would be no case for installing new lighting if the decision was based on the overnight figures alone.”

Timing devices at the roadside will control when the lights switch off and on again. The Highways Agency’s Regional Control Centre for the South East can override the mechanism if needed.

The scheme will no doubt cut carbon emissions and, save the agency money, but the idea is likely to be criticised by road safety campaigners who have responded negatively to similar schemes around the UK.

Luke Walsh

Action inspires action. Stay ahead of the curve with sustainability and energy newsletters from edie