The organisation in charge of England’s motorways and major A-roads has confirmed it is installing LED lights across the network to reduce its carbon footprint. National Highways says it has begun replacing older lamps with more energy-efficient LED lights that use less energy, and 70 percent of the network will have transitioned by March 2027.

In total, National Highways says there are around 105,000 lights across the strategic road network, which includes motorways and key A-roads. Of these, around a quarter have already been converted to LEDs, but a £132 million, five-year scheme is now underway to convert even more of the lights.

By the middle of 2027, National Highways expects to have converted seven in every 10 lights, which it says could reduce energy consumption enormously. The organisation says lighting currently accounts for almost two thirds (64 percent) of its annual energy consumption, but moving to the new LED lights could see the government-run company use up to 65 percent less energy for carriageway illumination.

M25 motorway UK

What’s more, National Highways reckons lighting accounts for around half its corporate carbon emissions, and the new lights should require less maintenance, meaning fewer road and lane closures will be required.

The move is part of a long-term plan to hit net-zero corporate emissions by 2030, which also includes other energy-saving initiatives. By 2030, the company aims to generate 10 percent of its energy from renewable sources on, or near to, its own sites, and it plans to plant at least three million trees on or near its land. The company is also targeting a 75-percent drop in corporate emissions by 2025, and for three quarters of its cars and vans to be electric or hybrid by the same year.

Highways England Land Rover Discovery

“We are delighted to be modernising the lighting across our network by investing over £100m into clearer more efficient technology,” said Steve Elderkin, the director of environmental sustainability for National Highways. “These new LED lights will not only reduce our emissions and ensure that journeys are safer, but also reduce the amount of maintenance needed across the network.

“As a company, we manage 4,500 miles of road so it is vital we look to cleaner alternatives. Our net zero plan has laid out how we want to hit net zero for our own emissions by 2030 we will continue to invest as technology becomes available, meeting the government’s Road to Zero strategy.”