Residents in several areas of Banbridge say they have been left in a gloomy darkness under a pilot scheme to introduce new LED street lighting.
Local MP David Simpson has called for an urgent meeting with Divisional Transport NI Manager to discuss the issue after residents of Maryville contacted him to say certain alleyways in their area were in complete darkness and they were forced to carry torches after dark.
He has since received reports that the street lighting scheme is impacting Hillhead, Thornhill and Burnbrae Mews and feels other areas may also be effected.
The scheme began locally in September with plans to install 20,000 LED street lights in the Banbridge and Craigavon area, over eight months.
David Simpson MP said: “I have visited the people of Maryville to discuss their very real concerns about the lack of street lighting. The residents are now forced to carry torches if they have to leave their homes after dark falls.
“Nothing prepared me for how dark and gloomy the pathways behind people homes and alleyways actually are - one particular stretch is in complete darkness with minimal lighting at the end of the terrace row. Parents and elderly residents alike have reported how fearful they are of increased crime descending on the area.”
In March former Regional Development Minister Danny Kennedy said: ‘small pockets’ of LED lighting has already been introduced in parts of Northern Ireland over the past number of years.
The LED street lights use light emitting diodes as a light source and are more energy efficient compared to conventional street lighting such as high and low pressure sodium lamps.
They have a much longer life-span than conventional lighting and so could potentially reduce maintenance costs.
Mr Kennedy continued: “The units are designed to last longer and could lead to savings in energy and maintenance.
“In these financially challenging times, it is important that every effort is made to make savings and reduce costs without impacting on the public.”
In response Mr Simpson said: “I recognise the departments attempt to save money but this cannot be at the cost of people’s safety. I have a meeting scheduled with Transport NI on the issue and will be demanding these areas of darkness are adequately lit without delay.”
A meeting is scheduled for the end of the month.