Council casts shadow over pilot LED light scheme in Craigavon

New LED streetlights, Waringstown. INLM2015-401
New LED streetlights, Waringstown. INLM2015-401

A pilot LED street lighting scheme has been given the thumbs down by Craigavon councillors who called for it to be reviewed.

Politicians united at last night’s meeting of Armagh Banbridge and Craigavon council as members voiced concern about the scheme.

A motion, brought to the council by SDLP Cllr Joe Nelson, spoke of the ‘poor quality’ of the new lighting.

And it called on the Department of Regional Development’s Road Service to review the scheme given the negative feedback from residents and elected representatives.

Cllr Nelson said the project had ‘not been well received’ and that older residents particularly felt more vulnerable as their areas were less well lit and they felt at great risk of injury or being burgled because of the loss of light. “These are genuine concerns, passionately expressed to me.”

Cllr Nelson said he had been contacted by a light consultant from Edinburgh who described a similar situation there and other areas of Scotland. The consultant urged sufficient design is undertaken on a street by street basis and warned not to rush the programme.

Cllr Nelson said some drivers are being blinded by lights on poles which were not straight.

The Motion was backed by Cllr Declan McAlinden who has had substantial negative feedback in the Derrymacash/Derrytrasna areas. “One elderly lady, on dialysis and a walking frame and living alone, contacted me concerned for her safety. Numerous others have complained about their safety walking to and from church in the evening and parents concerned for the safety of their kids walking to and from the local GAA club.”

The motion was backed unanimously with an amendment to invite a representative from Roads Service to Council.

However while councillors united to criticise the new LED lighting, the DUP were slammed for playing ‘political football’ with the issue.

UKIP’s David Jones backed the SDLP motion describing the lighting as ‘alarming and dangerous’ adding he received complaints in Portadown from people concerned about burglaries.

Mayor Darryn Causby also backed the motion adding he had received complaints from Brownstown residents.

DUP Cllr Carla Lockhart backed the motion but criticised the minister responsible. She also suggested amending the motion to include a visit from Roads Service.

Ulster Unionist Cllr Nicholson, also supporting the motion, slammed ‘minister bashing’ as ‘tiresome’ adding that the decision was but through by the Executive.

Cllr Joe Nelson who had proposed the motion and agreed the amendment said: “I don’t like this issue being turned into a political football.”

DUP Cllr Gareth Wilson asked when ‘minister bashing’ had been removed from the Chamber.