STREET lights could be removed along a notorious stretch of dual carriageway.

Durham County Council is considering taking out roadside lights along the A167 between Pity Me, on the outskirts of Durham City, and Chester Moor – a road known to attract boy racers and the scene of numerous serious crashes stretching back over several years.

Council chiefs say they are looking at all of the lights on the A167 in County Durham but will assess the risk and road safety implications before making any changes.

The authority is currently carrying out a major six-year programme to upgrade more than 41,000 street lamps across the county, replacing ageing fittings with new technology light emitting diode (LED) lights which experts say cut energy use by up to two thirds – down from 90 watts to 30 watts for the same light output.

Leaders say the Street Lighting Energy Reduction Project will save almost £24m over 25 years and the council says there are 7,000 street lights across the county that are suitable for removal.

However, earlier this week critics claimed removing lights between Chilton and Ferryhill would put children’s lives at risk.

Framwellgate Moor and Newton Hall councillor Mark Wilkes said some lights between Pity Me and Chester Moor could be removed without any safety issues but others would have to remain.

“We need to get views from residents in Framwellgate Moor and Pity Me about this.

“A lot of people use the footpath along this stretch of road, including cyclists," he added.

Brian Buckley, the council’s strategic highways manager, said: “We are consulting on identified street lighting removals as part of the countywide Street Lighting Energy Reduction Project and we consider all feedback.

“When determining street lights that may be suitable for removal we undertake a full risk assessment and road safety review. This includes all of the lighting on the A167 in County Durham.”

In 2010, amateur DJ David Richardson, of Chester-le-Street, was jailed for dangerous driving after ploughing his car into a tree on the northbound A167 near Plawsworth, killing his friend Paul Hornsby. Estimates of his speed ranged from 70mph to 100mph.

Later the same year, Garry Hunter, also of Chester-le-Street, was spared jail after losing control and overturning his car on the same stretch.

Twenty-two-year-old IT technician Lewis Mileham, of Chester-le-Street, died when his car left the road and hit a tree on the southbound carriageway on June 22, 2008. An inquest into his death heard evidence he had been driving at between 80mph and 100mph.