HL Deb 07 December 1994 vol 559 cc86-7WA
Lord Northbourne

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether they are proposing to provide streetlighting for the whole, or part of the A.2/M.2 trunk route, and whether they have undertaken an economic assessment to justify the cost on grounds of increased safety; and

Whether they undertook an environmental impact before introducing streetlighting on the A.2/M.2 trunk route, and what environmental bodies, if any, they consulted.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Transport (Viscount Goschen)

These are operational matters for the Highways Agency. I have asked the Chief Executive, Mr. Lawrie Haynes, to write to the noble Lord.

Letter to Lord Northbourne from the Chief Executive of the Highways Agency, Mr. L. Haynes, dated 6 December 1994:

Viscount Goschen has asked me to write to you in reply to your recent parliamentary Questions about street lighting on the A.2/M.2 trunk route.

The Highways Agency's contractors are currently installing lighting on a 7-mile (11 km) length of the A.2 from its junction with the A.296 almost to the M.2 (Junction 1). With the completion of the work— hopefully by Christmas—the A.2 will be lit to modern standards over a continuous length of 14 miles (22 kms) starting from the boundary of the London Borough of Bexley at the River Gray. A 200-metre section close to the M.2 (J1) will remain unlit for the time being, but lighting proposals for this will form part of the planned future widening of the M.2 between Junctions 1 and 4. The Agency has no plans at the present time to implement further lighting schemes on this route.

The present lighting scheme is justified economically on the basis of a projected 30 per cent. reduction in the night-time accident record. The scheme, which complies fully with the latest Department of Transport design standards, involves the installation of lighting columns providing a 15-metre mounting height for lanterns of `flat glass' construction using high pressure sodium lamp sources. This type of equipment minimises lighting spillage beyond the highway and is considered to be the most environmentally friendly currently available.

Although it is not our practice to carry out full environmental assessments in respect for road safety schemes on existing unaltered road, we are careful to ensure that any adverse effects are kept to an absolute minimum. This applies particularly in environmentally sensitive urban areas. The department's publication Road Lighting and the Environment sets out the policy on this. The A.2 lighting scheme was discussed with members of the Landscape Advisory Committee, who made special day and night-time inspections of the lit and unlit sections of the road. Their recommendations were incorporated into the design. A full environmental assessment has been carried out in respect of the M.2 widening scheme.