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Action promised over LED street lights that left areas in darkness

By Noel McAdam

Published 23/03/2016

Regional Development Minister Michelle McIlveen
Regional Development Minister Michelle McIlveen

A Stormont minister has pledged "corrective action" for areas plunged into darkness because of LED street lighting.

Regional Development Minister Michelle McIlveen insisted that the lights, which are replacing older versions, were working well in most locations.

But she admitted that there were concerns in Craigavon and Banbridge, where some residents have complained of being left with insufficient lighting.

In a pilot scheme launched last summer, around 15,000 energy-saving street lights were installed in Craigavon and Banbridge at a cost of around £6m.

The project is currently about two-thirds complete, with almost 10,000 street lights already changed to LEDs.

The lights have a considerable savings potential because they last longer and consume less energy than conventional lighting.

Minister McIlveen said: "When complaints are received, each issue is individually recorded and assessed, with lighting levels checked against the required standards.

"For the majority of locations which have been assessed to date, the new LED lighting has been found to meet the appropriate lighting levels as recommended in the British standard for road lighting.

"However, where any of the new lighting has been found to be sub-standard, then corrective action has been taken, or will be taken very soon, to bring the lighting to the appropriate standard."

In a written answer to her DUP colleague Jim Wells, the minister insisted the LED lights have "very significant environmental and financial benefits".

South Down MLA Mr Wells said he was reassured the Department for Regional Development (DRD) would keep an eye on the situation. "As the new lighting schemes are installed, I have no doubt that DRD will keep the situation under review to ensure that residents are happy with the new arrangements," he said.

"There are varying views on these new lights. Local residents believed that they don't provide as much light as the old orange ones. The DRD believe that they are much more efficient and save electricity costs."

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