Finally, England says yes to LEDs on motorways

DECADES after the first widespread commercialisation of LEDs, England has finally installed the solid-state light source on a motorway.

Contractors working for Highways England carried out a series of upgrades to the M62, including the replacement of 1,618 street lights with LED luminaires – which could save more than 700 tonnes of carbon a year, enough to power 20,000 homes. It's the first large-scale deployment of LEDs on a public motorway in the country.

The improvement work took place on the M62 near Huddersfield and Halifax between junction 22 and 25, and the M621 near Leeds. The new lighting is 53 per cent more efficient saving the equivalent energy of powering the homes of 20,000 people and 389,000 loads of washing.

The project also included upgrading street lighting power supply equipment on both roads and the installation of a remote monitoring system which allows contractors to remotely control the lights.

The newly-installed LED lights require no routine maintenance, which means less disruption for drivers.

Highways England service delivery team leader for Yorkshire and Humber, Mark Ramsden, told Lux: ‘This is a true example of taking innovation from another industry, modifying it for the highways sector, and improving value by locking in safety, customer, cost efficiencies and environment benefits.

‘We’ve replaced the conventional lighting with the newly developed lighting to provide bright, effective illumination to highways and road signs – reducing maintenance and road closures for drivers'.

Previously, LEDs had only been used for the illumination of signage on the nation's motorways.


  • Highway and street lighting is one of the sessions at the new Smart Spaces Conference  feature at the  LuxLive 2017 exhibition and conference. It runs on Wednesday 15 November and Thursday 16 November at ExCeL London. Entry is free if you pre-register HERE

Comments 6

In California, freeways are not continuously lighted - lighting only at conflict zones (entrance and exit ramps). There are no more accidents in California that freeways in other parts of the country that are continuously lighted. Why not save the capital cost of the new lights entirely, save energy and reduce light pollution?

The Highways Agency first installed LED lighting on trunk roads in 2010 on the A5 at Tamworth. In 2011, the first installation was done on a motorway at the M6 J22 slip roads. The first installation on a motorway main carriageway was done in 2013 at the southern end of the M3. The part of Highways England covering central southern England is now largely lit by LED following progressive installation of LED over the last few years, and little discharge lighting remains. Products used include Philips Speedster, Philips Luma and Holophane VMax. Larger installations also appear to be fitted with a central management system, which appears to be Philips Starsense. LED lighting is also present on the Dartford Crossing, the M1 at Northampton, and the M6 through Birmingham to name a few more notable locations.

In addition to Alan and John's comments, the stretch from Jnc. 10 to 12 on M4 near Reading is fully illuminated with LED, not sure for how long but certainly for last 2 years. A good 10 miles worth...

Why not go further and install solar panels by the side of the motorways as in other countries

Alan is correct - both the M3 and M27 around Eastleigh/Southampton had LED lanterns at least five years ago, and I have seen many other motorway/trunk road installations since then. [NB. Hants CC does not maintain lighting for Highways England]

It depends what you call "Large scale installation". The M27 near Southampton was lit with LEDs years ago. Someone at Hants CC will have the quantities and dates.

Leave your comment