MOTORISTS are campaigning to have lights switched on at night along two of the region’s busiest motorways.

Two petitions have been launched to restore nighttime lighting on the M66 and M65.

Campaigners say the lack of lighting has led to the motorways becoming dangerous blackspots for accidents.

They add that the carriageways have surface damage and potholes leading to them become increasingly waterlogged during stormy weather.

Emma Rawlinson, who created one of the petitions, said: “I’m campaigning for Lancashire County Council to turn the streetlights back on to help people see more efficiently and save people’s lives.

“I’m also pretty sure that our ever suffering emergency services don’t need the added pressure of having to spend most of their time on these roads when something as simple as turning a light on could help fix the problem.”

Management of the M65 between junctions 10 and 14 is overseen by Lancashire County Council.

Lights along this stretch are illuminated in darkness, except between midnight and 5am when the motorway traffic is quietest. However the rest of both the M65 and M66 is managed by Highways England.

The agency has had a blanket policy for all motorway lighting to be switched off since March 2011 ­— intended as a cost saving and environmental measure.

In 2013 the Lancashire Telegraph launched its Turn The Lights On campaign after the death of Burnley-born Mark Burgess, 39, who was thrown from his car when it crashed into a barrier near junction eight. Former coroner Michael Singleton wrote to the Highways Agency about its M65 lighting policy.

There were renewed calls for a review into motorway lighting in July 2014 after best friends Mohammed Iqbal, 48, and Mazafer Iqbal, 47, were fatally injured in a crash while travelling along the eastbound carriageway of the M65 between junctions nine and 10.

A spokesman for Lancashire County Council said: “The street lights on the section of the M65 which we are responsible for from J10 to J14 were removed in 2014 when the central barrier where they were located was upgraded. The council’s cabinet considered a traffic safety analysis relating to the street lights as part of the decision making process.

“We continue to monitor safety on this road, and maintain the street lights around the motorway junctions, however we have no plans to replace the street lights on the main carriageway.”

A spokesman for Highways England said: “Safety is our top priority and we are committed to reducing deaths and injuries on England’s motorways and major A roads.

“We are currently carrying out a scheme on the M66 which includes replacing the safety barrier in the central reservation, resurfacing, drainage improvements and repainting road markings.

“We have kept lights in place on the exit slip roads from the M65 and M66 onto the local road network as well as at the busy interchanges with the M6, M60, M61 and M62.

“We target safety improvements where they are most needed and will continue to monitor where collisions occur, and the impact lighting or other schemes would have on road safety.”

Calls have previously been made to turn the motorway lights back on in 2013 which were backed by Pendle MP, Andrew Stephenson.

The new campaigns have also received the backing of Bury North MP James Daly.