VIDEO: How do the new street lights compare to the old?

The darkness in Banbridge after the installation of the new LED street lights.
The darkness in Banbridge after the installation of the new LED street lights.

A petition started in Banbridge calling for the new LED street lighting project to be scrapped has already been signed 396 times.

Paul Scappatici started the petition after hearing many people complain about the lack of light the new LED lights are providing.

He said: “I understand these new lights save money and are good for the environment but is it worth putting residents at risk for the sake of a few thousand pounds?

“A lot of people were speaking to me about the lights. The first step is to see what support there is for it and I think with over 300 people signing it in one day it shows that they aren’t happy.

“People are getting hurt. Luckily the guy last week was reasonably young and fit but it is only a matter of time before some old or vunerable people are seriously hurt.”

The petition calls for a stop to the installation of the LED lights and either a return to the old ‘orange’ street lights or as a bare minimum correct the spacing of the poles and emissions of the LED lights so that they work correctly.

“I’ve taken on board that these new lights are probably a good idea but there seems to have been no consultation to determine the distance there should be between the lights,” Paul said.

“No thought has been given to the light distribution, the spacing between poles or the emission of light.

“If you look directly up into the light it would

nearly blind you but two yards either side and you can’t see anything. It is like a spotlight. They are not the same as the old lights and the town is in 
total darkness.”

The petition also asks for something to be done immediately, while the nights still get dark early and the lights are needed.

Paul said: “Something needs to be done about these new lights now. It will drag on and nothing will be done. The evenings wil get lighter in April.

“It will be next year before it gets looked at and by that time the fuss will have died down and whoever is responsible for the lights will get away with it.”

The petition is addressed to the ABC Council but it has pointedout that street lighting does not fall under its remit.

A spokesperson said: “Street lighting falls under the remit of Transport NI, the council have no responsibility for their installation or maintenance. Anyone with an issue regarding street lighting should contact Transport NI (part of Department of Regional Development) directly or may wish to contact their local councillor who may be willing to lobby Transport NI on their behalf.”

The DRD backed the LED lights and pointed out 
their benefits.

A DRD spokeswoman said: “The Department has significant street lighting energy and maintenance costs amounting to over £13 million every year. “Over the last number of years, small pockets of LED street lighting have been introduced across 
Northern Ireland.

“There are considerable savings to be made in energy and maintenance costs from LED lighting as the LED units last longer and they consume less energy than conventional lanterns.

“LEDs provide very good control of light distribution onto the road surface and have noticeably less light spilling into the surrounding environment.

“This helps to reduce light pollution, however, initially the public will notice that the new lights do light up gardens, pathways, front doors etc in the same way as the older sodium lights.

“The pilot project in the Banbridge and Craigavon areas aims to light roads and footways to appropriate lighting levels. Providing brighter, more generalised lighting would reduce energy cost savings.