Turning off street lights across several regions in the UK may increase accidents and crime rates, according to a motoring organisation official.

County councils throughout the UK have been switching off the lights and the Highways Agency has switched off some motorway lights in a bid to save money and reduce CO2 emissions.

Automobile Association president Edmund King said low illumination is a major contributory factor to the night-time fatality rate, and cyclists and pedestrians are more at risk on unlit streets.

On urban main roads, 30% of accidents involving injuries can be reduced at night following an improvement in the lighting from very bad to good.

The organisation says local authorities should consider more environmentally friendly lighting or by switching off lights late at night where they are not required.

It says the public are also in favour of street lighting as a way of improving road safety.