Northern Ireland

Almost 17,000 broken street lights in Northern Ireland

Lights may not be repaired during the winter, according to the minister
Image caption There are about 280,000 street lights in Northern Ireland

The Department for Regional Development has confirmed that almost 17,000 street lights in Northern Ireland do not work.

Tens of thousands of broken street lights may not be repaired over the winter months due to budget cuts.

The department said it will be unable to provide the service the public would expect in normal circumstances.

Last month, the department published its draft budget for next year, containing savings of £65m.

There are about 280,000 street lights in Northern Ireland.

Over the summer, the Department for Regional Development (DRD) warned it was suspending the use of external contractors to fix broken lights, unless they pose an "electrical hazard" to the public.

There have been 24,000 outages reported to the DRD and almost 7,500 of them have been cleared.

"It is not the case that no street lighting repairs will be carried out, the department will continue to prioritise all reported faults," a spokesperson said.

"Until further notice, our in-house contractor will endeavour to deal with as many street lighting defects as possible.

"However, they will not be able to provide the service the public would expect in normal circumstances. Priority will be given to electrical and structural safety defects, followed by large groups of lights out.

"Smaller groups or individual street lights that fail will be lower priority and, unfortunately, many tens of thousands of street lighting defects may not be repaired over the winter months."

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