Mid Ulster MLA Patsy McGlone
Mid Ulster MLA Patsy McGlone has called for an urgent response to the escalating number of street lights out and the ongoing lack of maintenance across the north.
He said: “Over recent months, we have been reporting street lighting faults on an almost daily basis in every part of my constituency. The response has sadly been that due to budgetary constraints, the Department are only providing a limited street lighting repair service with priority repairs focused on emergency repairs, group outages and all day burners, followed by single light defects.”
“This is alarming. Adequate street lighting is imperative to provide safe streets, deter crime and anti-social behaviour and crucially provides elderly residents with security and safety and the assurance that they are not isolated and alone. In some areas a single light can be 50% of the lighting in a cul-de-sac, so the fact that one light is out makes a real difference.”
“Having raised the issue with the Divisional Office, I was advised this was due to budgetary constraints and until additional funds became available, only a limited repair service would be possible. I subsequently sought an intervention from the Permanent Secretary and sought details as to the extent of the problem.”
“To my astonishment, the Department have now confirmed that almost 10,000 lights are out at present across the North. This is unacceptable and is a direct result of budget cuts. Last year the Street lighting budget was £2.6m and it has been slashed by over a third to £0.9m. Do people really think that when you strip out vital financial and human resources from a basic service that it will have no impact?”
The SDLP Assemblyman added: "This needs to be urgently addressed. I will continue to liaise with Departmental officials to press for action.”
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