Deadline looms for M65 lights rethink

The deadline is today (Friday)
The deadline is today (Friday)

The Highways Agency has until today (Friday, October 31st) to respond to a coroner’s call to reconsider its decision to switch off the lights on the M65.

Michael Singleton, the Coroner for Blackburn, Hyndburn and the Ribble Valley, voiced his concerns at an inquest into the death of Burnley-born Mark Burgess.

Mr Burgess (39) died after he was thrown from his Citroen Saxo after hitting the central reservation near Junction 8 last November 23rd. Four other vehicles, including the ambulance called to the scene, hit his car and debris strewn on the unlit carriageway.

Emergency service workers and paramedics had only the light from the air ambulance as they tended the injured.

The accident happened within weeks of the “Lights Not Lives” campaign being launched by motorist Chris Johnson. The Highways Agency turn off the lights between junctions seven and 10 to reduce carbon emissions.

The inquest was told the accident would not have been prevented had there been lights but Mr Singleton still raised the issue and confirmed he would write a report to the Highways Agency asking it to reconsider its decision.

At the time, a spokesman for the agency said: “Safety is our top priority and we will therefore carefully consider any issues raised by the coroner as a result of the inquest.”

On Wednesday, the Agency said: “We said we would write to the coroner by the end of this month and we are doing.”