Political row over new LED lights

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A political row has broken out between over who is responsible for the installation of LED lights across the borough.

UUP Alderman, Arnold Hatch, met with one of the Transport NI top officials, Mr Joe Cochrane, recently along with his colleague Cllr Doug Beattie MC.

Mr Hatch said it was confirmed to him that when a complaint is registered, the area is surveyed and the light measured midway between the lamp standards.

He said that in most cases it met the LUX levels as regulated by Government and where it doesn’t meet the standards, adjustments are made to the head of the lamp standards in question.

Commenting on the recent coverage on this issue and regarding the sustained DUP attacks on Danny Kennedy MLA, Alderman Hatch said: “I would like to point out that it was, in fact, Mr Gregory Campbell, DUP MLA for Londonderry who called for the installation of LED lights in November 2012 quoting 40% savings on running costs and citing Sheffield as an example of savings achieved.

“Throughout last year Danny Kennedy came under relentless pressure from Stormont MLAs to keep street lights on. As recently as April 2015 DUP MLA for South Antrim Paul Girvan also urged our Minister at the time Danny Kennedy to invest in these light emitting diodes (LED) street lights.”

Ald Arnold Hatch concluded: “So lay off the Ulster Unionists and take some responsibility for the situation. Remember, the funding was provided through the Executive and the DUP Finance Minister and I am aware that the current DUP DRD Minister Michelle McIlveen has said she plans to roll out this LED scheme across Northern Ireland in the foreseeable future.”

The new lights were hailed as a ‘major step forward’ in energy saving in August 2015 when it was announced that around 20,000 LED street lights would be installed in the Banbridge and Craigavon areas over the following eight months.

Regional Development Minister Danny Kennedy made the announcement, saying: “In these financially challenging times, it is important that every effort is made to make savings.”