THE Highways Agency has written to a coroner who questioned the organisation’s decision to turn off the lights on the M65 motorway.

Michael Singleton had asked bosses at the agency to reconsider the switch-off as he believed if something was not done, there could be further fatalities.

He said he intended to write following the death of Burnley-born Mark Burgess, 39, who was thrown from his car when he crashed near junction eight in darkness hours.

The Blackburn, Hyndburn and Ribble Valley coroner has since received a letter from the government body telling him they are not prepared to change their minds until a review, which is due to be carried out later this year, is completed.

Mr Singleton said: “They have responded to me. The letter simply says they do not intend to do anything now, but they will review it in September three years from the date they switched the lights out.

“The law does not give me any powers beyond that.

“All I can do is bring it to the attention of the appropriate people.”

An inquest into Mr Burgess’ death found that the HGV driver, from Abbey Village, was two-and-a-half times over the legal drink drive limit and his accident last November would not have been prevented had there been lights.

But Mr Singleton, senior coroner for Blackburn, Hyndburn and the Ribble Valley, said those caught up in the ‘carnage’ after the incident – when three cars and ambulance drove into the wreckage – would have had a chance of avoiding the debris if the lights were on. No one else was badly hurt in the incident.

It was also revealed at the inquest that the reflection of the cats’ eyes on the stretch was not adequate and that the part of the central barrier Mr Burgess crashed into did not meet current specifications, although it would have when the motorway was built.

The Highways Agency had planned to rectify these two issues.

The Lancashire Telegraph launched its Turn The Lights On campaign following Mr Burgess’ death after hearing from other motorists who said they crashed into objects in the carriageway as they had not been able to see them as they approached.

To sign the petition calling for the lights to be switched back on, CLICK HERE.