SDLP Mid Ulster Councillor, Tony Quinn, has called on the Roads Minister to rethink his decision to stop funding the repair of street lights by external contractors.
The warning came after the Minister confirmed that he had stopped issuing new work instructions to external contractors due to budget constraints.
Cllr Quinn said, “In a recent response to my party colleague, SDLP MLA for Mid Ulster, Patsy McGlone, the Roads Minister confirmed his decision to stop issuing new work instructions to external contractors due to budget constraints.
“Of particular concern is the effect this decision will have on the maintenance of street lighting across the north.
“According to the Minister the decision to suspend new work orders to external contractors for the repair of street lights is likely to result in many tens of thousands of street lighting defects not being repaired over the winter months.
“We all understand that budgets are tight – all departments are being asked to make savings.
“In the autumn and winter months working street lighting is necessary to ensure the safety of local residents and motorists. Dark streets are an invitation to the antisocial elements in our society to increase their activity.
“The Minister’s decision to cut this most visible service is a high-risk political gamble with the safety of our citizens. He must rethink his approach urgently, and find the savings elsewhere.”