There have been several occasions over the past 18 months when some sections of lighting have failed on the stretch of the M1 motorway between Watford Gap and the M45 intersection—junction 17. This has been due partly to water seeping into cable joints and partly to accidental damage by contractors carrying out maintenance works. Whenever the lighting has failed it has been restored as quickly as possible.
Is my hon. Friend aware that it is extremely dangerous suddenly to have to drive from a pool of light into a dark area and vice versa? That has happened far too often recently in the area that I mentioned. Will she please do more about it than her reply suggests? Is it not time that the busiest section of our busiest road—the stretch of the MI from London to the Coventry turnoff—should be lit all the way along?
There are three major questions there. The Department does not have any evidence of problems arising from cars travelling out of lighted areas into unlit areas. We light major intersections, such as that to which my hon. Friend referred. It would be uneconomic and wrong for the countryside to light every part of every motorway, even the important section to which my hon. Friend referred. There have been only nine failures in the past 18 months. That is nine too many, but it is not a major problem.