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Councils object to A63 lights switch-off

The leaders of East Riding of Yorkshire Council and Hull City Council have written to the chief executive of Highways England to strongly object to the organisation’s proposals to switch off street lighting along the A63.

The proposals from Highways England would see the street lights from the Western Interchange (A15 Humber Bridge Junction) to Daltry Street switched off on a trial basis, with a view to making it a permanent arrangement – subject to monitoring.

In the letter to Mr Jim O’Sullivan, the councils expressed concern around the safety of motorists if the lights were switched off, with the route frequently subject to incidents, including collisions and vehicle breakdowns.

Both authorities also supported the position of Humberside Police, who raised a number of operational issues around incident management, which would become more difficult and dangerous if the lights were switched off and could result in longer or even complete closures.

Another concern raised was around flooding. During the devastating floods of 2007 and the tidal surge of 2013, parts of the A63 flooded with surface water. The surge event, in particular, happened rapidly with limited opportunity to warn drivers on the A63. Under street lights, the presence of water across the carriageway was visible and drivers were able to react. In darkness, such an outcome would be unlikely.

Councillor Stephen Parnaby, leader of East Riding of Yorkshire Council, said: “The proposals currently on the table from Highways England are not satisfactory to either council or other partners, such as Humberside Police.

“Our data indicates that the number of collisions after dark on the section of the A63 that would be affected by the proposals in the East Riding is already higher than the regional and national average.

“The safety of motorists and the travelling public is paramount to both this council, Hull City Council and Humberside Police, which is why we cannot support these proposals.”

Councillor Daren Hale, deputy leader of Hull City Council, said: “It is disappointing that these short-sighted proposals are still being considered by Highways England, and seems at odds with their commitment to improving the A63’s transport infrastructure with the recent announcement of the A63 footbridge works that are due to begin next month. A huge part of this multi-million pound scheme is to improve safety for pedestrians and motorists, so to remove street lighting for this stretch of the dual carriageway is extremely concerning.

“We have always maintained a close working relationship with Highways England, and I believe that if the strategic bigger picture is actually considered we can reach a positive outcome for all parties involved.”

Both councils look forward to further constructive consultation with Highways England to agree an outcome that will benefit residents in both Hull and the East Riding whilst improving safety and the economic contribution of the A63.