Jesus H Christ

Are slightly lower CO2 emissions more important than people’s lives? Personally I’d say no, but the Highways Agency thinks differently with their cunning scheme for “Midnight Switch-Off for Motorway Lighting”.

As the name suggests this scheme will see the lights turned off at night as part of their Sustainable Development Action Plan. Had this been a cost initiative that would be bad but, perhaps, understandable. After all putting a value on a human life to assess a safety scheme has a long (if unpublicised) history on the railways,  though I would note the very crucial point it’s used for staff safety not passenger safety. However this is different, this is a sacrifice (probably literally at some point) to the great false gods of sustainable development and global warming.

I’ll leave you with these two utterly contradictory statements from the HA website;

In doing this, safety remains our highest priority.

Which is then proved to be a total lie in the next sentences;

With the extremely low traffic flows at this time of night, the value of having lighting on the motorway is judged to be outweighed by the environmental impact and cost of providing the lighting.  Almost all the safety benefits from motorway lighting occur outside the midnight to 5am period.

Because safety is their highest priority, right up until anything else intervenes.

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2 Responses to “Jesus H Christ”

  1. I don’t think it’s that big a deal.

    They started doing this over a year ago on the M4, and so far I haven’t heard of a single accident being attributed to it. I’d have thought most accidents between midnight and 5am are caused by drivers nodding off anyway. All the evidence suggests that lighting certain sections of motorway between those hours simply doesn’t prevent any accidents.

    Of course there has to be some level of trade-off involving safety. That’s why level crossings aren’t all manned by guards round the clock, and why there isn’t a blanket speed limit of 10mph on all roads. And even if there were, there’d still be the odd fatality.

    Safety should be, and is, the HA’s highest priority, but it doesn’t mean they can’t have secondary priorities as well.

    • My problem is that this is not being justified as a value for money trade off, it’s to meet a ‘Sustainable Development Plan’ which worries the living hell out of me. A simple “Our budget is being cut, the safety impact is small and we’re doing this to save money” would have been OK, you can assess such things rationally and indeed if that were the case I’d be fine with it. But saying your deliberately introducing risks (however small they may be) for tree hugging reasons is madness.

      Of course the HA should have other priorities, but keeping Greenpeace and other dribblers happy should not be one of them.

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