A fatal smash on the M65 in the early hours of the morning has prompted fresh calls for the motorway lights to be switched on and cutbacks being put before lives
The latest incident on the motorway saw Mohammed Iqbal (49), from Burnley, and Mazafer Iqbal (47), of Brierfield, killed when their car, a blue peugeot 106, was in collision with two other vehicles between junctions 9 and 10 eastbound at 2-15am on Saturday.
Burnley dad-of-two Mark Burgess (39) died in November following a five-vehicle crash at junction 8 near Padiham.
At an inquest into his death, Coroner Mr Michael Singleton called for the decision to switch the lights off to be reconsidered.
Coun. Mohammed Iqbal said it was too early to say whether the lack of lighting played a part in the latest tragedy but safety campaigner Mr Chris Johnson said: “It goes back to the fatality in November at junction 8 and we have been in contact with Lancashire County Council about this. Lives are being put at risk because of economic cutbacks. It’s money being put in front of lives.
“This is what I said would happen last year, now we’ve got two more fatalities.
“I fear more lives will be lost before something is done.”
Burnley MP Gordon Birtwistle added: “The lights should never have been switched off. The savings being made are very nominal, about £10,000 a year. I think lives are worth more than that.
“I travel that road in winter every week coming back from Parliament and it’s a nightmare, especially when it’s dark and raining. It’s scandalous.”
Control of the lighting on the M65 is split between the Highways Agency and Lancashire County Council, which controls junction 11 to 14.
The Highways Agency said it blacked out roads as its contribution to cutting the nation’s carbon footprint.
The lights were permanently switched off along the five-and-a-half-mile stretch between the Dunkenhalgh at junction 7 and junction 10 at Burnley in March 2011.
It said the money saved could be used elsewhere in the country where it would have a “more significant safety benefit and potentially save more lives”.
A county council spokesman this morning pointed out that lights on the stretch of road it controlled are “on during the hours of darkness except between midnight to 5am”.