Northern Ireland

More than 20,000 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

More than 20,000 street lights in Northern Ireland are broken, the BBC has learned.

The number of lights that are out-of-action has risen by more than 3,000 in the space of a month.

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

The Department for Regional Development warned last summer that budget cuts would mean tens of thousands of broken street lights may not be repaired over the winter months.

It said it was suspending the use of external contractors to fix broken lights, unless they posed an "electrical hazard" to the public.

A spokesperson for the department said its in-house contractor would deal with as many defects as possible.

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

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