MPs speak out against traffic light numbers on UK roads

Red traffic light
MPs have spoken out about the amount of traffic lights on Britain's roads, and have recommended that many of them should be turned off.

The UK now has one set of lights for every 5.7 miles of road, representing a rise of more than a third on the figure recorded in 2000, according to a study by the British Infrastructure Group of MPs.

Councils have been quick to install a greater amount of traffic lights with the idea of helping traffic flow, but the reality has been quite the opposite in many areas.

Traffic jams cost the economy £16 billion each year says the group, and many MPs want to change this.

Grant Shapps, Conservative MP and former cabinet minister behind the study, told The Times: "The current attitude seems to be in favour of ever-increasing numbers of traffic lights and making it as difficult as possible to be a motorist."

Shapps is hoping that councils change their attitude towards traffic lights, even switching them off at night. He thinks that "these simple changes could have huge benefits for individual motorists and the economy."

Edmund King, president of the AA, also said: "This report graphically highlights the pressure roads, business and drivers in the UK face. There is undoubtedly scope to be bolder in terms of easing back on some regulations and control, some of which seems to bypass democratic scrutiny, public understanding and logic at every level.

"Regulation will be necessary and unavoidable, but there are a growing number of examples which show controls and conventions can sometimes be relaxed."