MORE of the M65 is to have its lights turned off, despite warnings from the police that the move would put motorists at risk.
Lancashire County Council had already proposed to turn off the lights between midnight and 5am to save £65,000 a year on the section it manages between junction 10, Burnley, and 14 , Colne.
Now Highways Agency bosses want to turn out some of the lighting on the part of the M65 that runs from junction one, Bamber Bridge, through to junction 10.
The changes, which also affect motorways across the country, will come into effect in March.
While bosses have confirmed the M65 will see lights turned out, they have not revealed the exact sites.
The agency said its research had found that street lighting reduced the risk of crashes by only 10 per cent.
A spokeswoman for the Highways Agency said: “Only sections of motorway between junctions and which have a good safety record and low traffic flows in the early hours will be considered, and junctions themselves will remain lit.”
The 10 per cent figure is disputed.
Latest research published in the scientific journal the Cochrane Library found that street lighting reduced the number of fatal crashes by 77 per cent and other collisions by between 32 and 55 per cent.
And police pointed to the increase in traffic in recent years and the fact that ambulances now use the motorway more frequently as key reasons why the proposals should be rejected.
Inspector Phil Cottam, head of the motorway policing unit for Lancashire, said: “We feel that any measure that enhances public road safety should be maintained at all times.
“We feel it’s unfair on the public that unless there are good reasons for the lighting to be switched off it should be maintained on the motorway.”
The county council will make a decision on whether to turn off the lights on its stretch next month.