Residents ‘in the dark’ after street lights removed in Islandmagee and Whitehead

Editorial image.
Editorial image.

Residents in Whitehead and Islandmagee are being “left in the dark” over the removal of street lights.

Alliance MLA Stewart Dickson said that although these areas are rural, they are “well-populated” and he has written to the Department for Infrastructure demanding a full explanation and to ask for the lights to be reinstated.

Mr. Dickson said: “I have been contacted by numerous residents of both Whitehead and Islandmagee who are upset by the unexplained removal of street lights.

“These areas are rural, but well-populated, and street lights help keep pedestrians safe, particularly schoolchildren – so the removal of lighting therefore presents a danger to safety.

“I have written to DFI asking for a full explanation of this development, which I understand was done without consultation. I am seeking the reinstatement of the lighting.

“Attempting to save money is not an excuse to make our rural roads more dangerous for pedestrians and drivers, particularly as the dark winter months approach.”

A Department for Infrastructure spokesperson stated: “Some of the older lighting systems in Whitehead and Islandmagee have reached the end of their useful life and are due for replacement. As part of the design process, the Department carries out a check to determine if the criteria for the continued provision of street lighting has been satisfied.

“The Department is aware of the concerns raised by residents and following a review of the replacement programme a small number of the old street lights that had been removed will be replaced with new lighting. Due to the need to be compliant with our street lighting criteria and given the ongoing pressure on public expenditure it will not possible to replace all of the existing lighting.”