‘We’ll repair lights if safety at risk’

Street light
Street light

The Roads Minister Danny Kennedy has written to Derry City Council to advise that his Department will, in the vast majority of cases, only repair faulty street lights in the city if they present a structural or electrical hazard to members of the public.

The Minister blamed significant cuts, which have been imposed to the Department of Regional Development’s resource budget for the cessation of new works generally.

In a letter to the Council’s Head of Environmental Services, Conor Canning, Mr Kennedy’s Private Secretary Ruth Galwey said that beyond lighting presenting a risk to life and limb, the Department’s Operations and Maintenance staff would only be able “to provide around 25 per cent of the usual resource required to fix street lighting faults, and they will endeavour to repair as many lights as possible, with large groups of lights, which are out being dealt with first followed by individual lights that have failed.”

She wrote: “The Department simply cannot continue to spend money it doesn’t have.”

She explained that it will consequently take longer to fix individual outages.

Gully emptying has also been scaled back throughout the city.

“In relation to gully emptying, again the cuts in resource funding have forced the Department to reduce the level of gully emptying previously carried out.

“However, the Minister has instructed Divisions to prioritise and provide additional gully cleaning/emptying at known hotspots to reduce the risk of flooding at those locations,” she explained.