M-way lights switch off slammed by council

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PLANS to make the M65 through Pendle pitch dark at night have been slammed by the borough council.

And members agreed to ask Lancashire County Council to change its mind because it would put people at risk.

County Hall has decided to scrap the motorway road lights between Burnley and Colne.

Coun Tony Greaves proposed the motion and said the Conservative county councillors had originally supported keeping the lights on and now changed their minds, which was “a strange world”.

And he was backed by fellow Liberal Democrat Coun. David Clegg, who said: “It drops down to two lanes, which is a lot less safe than a three-lane motorway. It will be pitch black.

“I think the lights need to be on before the end of the motorway. This is all down to safety. I think it is ludicrous to do it, especially at the end of the motorway. Here, junctions are only two or three miles apart.”

Conservative Coun. George Askew said: “We are only talking about the bit from Burnley to Colne. More and more lights are being switched off across the country. There is no evidence to suggest there is more danger of accidents in the dark.”

And he concluded: “I think the documentation really does explain why the Conservatives U-turned on this.”

And Coun. Smith Benson added: “I can’t see a problem if people drive sensibly.”

However, Labour group leader Coun. Mohammed Iqbal said: “I disagree with Coun. Smith Benson.” He added that Coun. Askew had slammed Labour for planning to cut the lights before the elections.

Coun. Graham Roach said he had once had to slam his brakes on on a darkened M65 when six youths were walking on it, missing them by 12 inches. “These lads were walking from Burnley back to Nelson,” he said. “It frightened me to death - I phoned the police. Safety is important - you have got to consider it.”

But Coun. Tony Beckett said: “People ought to drive according to the conditions. If it becomes foggy I wouldn’t drive at 70 m.p.h. If people want to drive, they should be conscientious.”

Coun. Ann Kerrigan said: “If people can’t drive at 70 m.p.h. in the dark, then maybe the county should buy new signs for the motorway!”

The Labour Party backed the Liberals and the decision to fight for a chance by the county was agreed.