Transport Minister Danny Kennedy said the roads unit faces £15 million in budget cuts, which would prevent it from hiring private contractors to replace broken and failed lights, the Press Association reported.
‘I have…had to take the difficult decision to stop funding external contractors for the repair of street lamps that fail, unless they pose an electrical hazard to members of the public,’ he said. ‘This has the potential to result in tens of thousands of street lights being out across Northern Ireland over the winter period.’
The new budget will also reduce Transport’s ability to repair potholes, maintain signs and footpaths, clear gullies and cut grass, Kennedy said.
The silver lining? Not all lights will fail. And an in-house unit in the Department for Regional Development, which includes Transport, ‘will endeavour to keep the road network as safe as possible,’ the story states.
The £15 million is part of a broader £78 million cut across various government departments, agreed recently by the Northern Ireland Executive and scheduled to begin in October.
Photo: Blink and their gone? If these streetlghts on the Stranmillis Road in Belfast burn out, they might stay that way. Image is from Albert Bridge via Wikimedia.