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LED Street Lighting

Oral Answers to Questions — Infrastructure – in the Northern Ireland Assembly at 3:15 pm on 18th October 2016.

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Photo of Mark Durkan Mark Durkan Social Democratic and Labour Party 3:15 pm, 18th October 2016

T7. Mr Durkan asked the Minister for Infrastructure to outline his view of LED street lighting. (AQT 372/16-21)

Photo of Christopher Hazzard Christopher Hazzard Sinn Féin

There are not enough bicycles in Beijing, I think it is fair to say. All joking aside, you touch upon that, and we were shown images of the bicycles in Beijing in the 1980s, and they absolutely outnumbered all the cars. As the growth in the economy happened in Beijing, the bicycle disappeared and the car took over. That is the exact same problem that we face here when it comes to congestion, and it is something that they are also tackling. Again, there is much to learn from that.

On LED street lighting, the retrofit scheme, to a large extent, has been successful. There were a number of issues that caught people by surprise in that the amount of white light was not as much as that from the old system. Once people get used to that, it will allay a lot of fears. Again, it is something that I want to look at. I mentioned earlier the savings that are involved and the expense of having the old system. It is something that I am looking at because I do believe that it is a project worth pursuing.

Photo of Caitriona Ruane Caitriona Ruane Deputy Speaker

I call Mark Durkan for a supplementary, and we will not put him to counting the bicycles in Beijing.

Photo of Mark Durkan Mark Durkan Social Democratic and Labour Party

I thank the Minister for his answer so far. I recognise the problems that have existed in some places where schemes have been carried out. However, does the Minister recognise the environmental as well as the economic benefits that such lighting brings and perhaps the possibility of replacing more street lights? We do know the pressure that the Minister's maintenance budget is under, but there might be more access to capital for such an environmentally friendly scheme.

Photo of Christopher Hazzard Christopher Hazzard Sinn Féin

Certainly, and we know, for example, that there may be opportunities through the invest-to-save initiative. I am continuing to look at that in the Department, and we have discussed this. If it is feasible and affordable to roll out in the future, I am more than willing to look at it.

Photo of Caitriona Ruane Caitriona Ruane Deputy Speaker

That completes Question Time to the Minister for Infrastructure. Members may take their ease while we change the top Table.

(Mr Speaker in the Chair)

Photo of Mike Nesbitt Mike Nesbitt UUP 3:30 pm, 18th October 2016

On a point of order, Mr Speaker. I am sure you will agree that the House should be first to know when the Executive have something important to say. Nothing could be more important than the Programme for Government, and yet, even if the draft were published today, the eight-week consultation would take us to 13 December, beyond the point at which this House goes into recess. If the Executive honour their commitment to publish the final draft by the end of the calendar year, this House will be the last to know. Surely that is not right.

Photo of Robin Newton Robin Newton Speaker

I take notice of your point of order. I will reflect on it and come back to you.

Photo of Naomi Long Naomi Long Alliance

On a point of order, Mr Speaker. I apologise for not being in the Chamber earlier when the Minister for Communities responded to the debate on housing, which I had participated in. Unfortunately, I was detained in another meeting. I meant no discourtesy, and I would like to pass that on.

Photo of Robin Newton Robin Newton Speaker

I thank the Member for her apology.