The energy saved through our ‘Part Night Lighting’ and ‘Full Switch Off’ initiatives is enough to power approximately 8,227 homes, which is the equivalent to a town the size of Sevenoaks.

Executive Summary

In order to reduce our CO2 footprint and to support the UK Government’s plan to reduce energy use, we have implemented Part Night Lighting and Full Switch Offs at various sites around the M25 network.

The Need

Research shows that only about a fifth of England now has ‘pristine night skies’, which are skies completely free from light pollution. By minimising the carbon footprint of the strategic road network (SRN), and the light pollution emitted, we can support Highways England in reducing the environmental impact of the M25 project.

Aims & Objectives

The roll out of this strategy relates to the UK Government’s commitment to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Control.

Working together with Highways England, we can support this commitment by helping to reduce carbon emissions and light pollution through the introduction of full lighting switch offs in various locations around the M25 network.

By implementing full and part night lighting switch offs, we can also improve local habitats. For example, for bats, artificial lighting is thought to increase the chances of predation and therefore bats may modify their behaviour to respond to this threat.


Careful safety assessments were carried out across the M25 network to identify sites that would see the part night lighting and full switch off scheme rolled out.Highways England’s Traffic Officer Service and Regional Control Centres were consulted on the proposed strategy. We also engaged with the ‘Blue light’ Emergency Services.

The Part Night Lighting scheme will see the lights operating as per evening standard each night, with the lighting switched off at 00:00hrs and switched back on at 5am (dependent on the ambient lighting levels).

The lighting is controlled by a Central Management System, which allows our Network Operations Centre (NOC) to turn the lights back on should it be required for an incident or for maintenance.

The Full Switch Off scheme has now seen the lighting switched off.

Plan and Progress

Full Switch Offs have been undertaken across Highways England’s network since 2008. Locations where this has already been implemented on the M25 DBFO network include the M25 between junctions 23 – 27, M3 junction 2, M3 junction 1 and the A2.

Part Night Lighting was originally called Mid Night Switch Off and has been implemented around Highways England’s network since 2009.

70% of Highways England’s network is now unlit.

Progressing this strategy will support the achievement of future carbon budgets and the UK’s 2050 target to reduce emissions by at least 80% of 1990 levels.


Feedback was received from a local resident in relation to the lighting switch off as follows:

“Dear Highways, The motorway lights being switched of at night is very nice with no light pollution on the surrounding area. All the residents have commented on how much nicer it is. A huge thank you. Great job.”

Next Steps

We will continue to support Highways England in its drive to achieve its environmental strategic outcomes.