HC Deb 02 December 1985 vol 88 cc8-9
11. Mr. Peter Bruinvels

asked the Secretary of State for Transport, out of the allocation for the national road programme in the autumn statement, how much will be spent on lighting on motorways in 1986–87 and 1987–88, respectively.

Mr. Ridley

For 1986–87 the allocation of resources between the various elements of the national road programme has yet to be finalised. Details will be published in the Supply Estimates. Future years' expenditure on lighting will be determined taking account of the available resources and competing priorities.

My Department's policy on the provision of lighting is currently under review. We are consulting on proposals which would require cost-benefit analysis and environmental assessment of each lighting scheme.

Mr Bruinvels

As joint chairman of the British parliamentary lighting group, I recognise that there is to be a review of motorway lighting, but does my right hon. Friend agree that having only 376 miles of motorway lit is not exactly good news, given that 1,300 miles are still unlit? Will he take note of the views of the Select Committee on Transport which said that lighting unlit stretches of our motorways would reduce night time accidents by 60 per cent.? Is that not the way forward?

Mr. Ridley

No one doubts my hon. Friend's credentials and his commitment to or extreme concern about motorway lighting. However, I am sure he will agree that we must have some form of cost benefit analysis to decide which stretches of road should be lit and which should not. There cannot just be a policy to light the whole of the motorway network. It must be done on a value for money basis, as is done in respect of other improvements to the road network in order to achieve road safety or to avoid congestion.

Mr. Bagier

Does the right hon. Gentleman agree that from a road safety aspect alone the lighting of the complete motorway system is highly desirable and ought to be provided for?

Mr. Ridley

No, I do not agree, because there are many other ways in which we can spend money to improve road safety, including the straightening of dangerous bends and junctions. One must make a value for money judgment about the best way to spend the available money, and that does not always mean the provision of lighting.