‘No point having street lights if they are not working’ says Dungannon councillor

Street light
Street light

A Dungannon councillor has expressed concern over the lack of funding that has left broken street lights across the district unrepaired.

Cllr Kim Ashton told the Times that one Dungannon resident contacted her after reporting three broken lights on the same Moygashel street to the Department of Regional Development (DRD).

She said that two weeks later they had not been fixed which “has left the area very poorly lit”.

“I was advised that they [DRD] now have limited response to the repair of street lighting and only have a team working one day a week in each council area,” Cllr Ashton said.

“Having spoken with my colleagues throughout the Mid Ulster area this seems to be an issue right across the district. There is no point having street lights if they are not working.

“It is vital that DRD provide adequate resources to deal with these issues especially as we are now in the middle of the winter season.”

A DRD spokesperson said: “It is with regret that we cannot provide the service the public would expect in normal circumstances with regard to fixing street light repairs.

“We continue to endeavour to deal with as many defects as possible as quickly as we can. However a significant budget shortfall has resulted in essential cost saving measures which have made is necessary to suspend the use of external contractors for the repair of street lights that fail, unless they pose an electrical hazard to the public.

“It is not the case that no street lighting repairs will be carried out, the Department will continue to prioritise all reported faults.

“Priority will be given to electrical and structural safety defects, followed by large groups of lights out. Smaller groups or individual street lights that fail will be lower priority and, unfortunately, many tens of thousands of street lighting defects across Northern Ireland may not be repaired over the winter months.”