The Acting Chief Executive of Roads Service (Mr Geoff Allister) has been asked to write to the hon. Lady in response to this question.
Letter from Mr Geoff Allister, dated 19 July 2006:
You recently asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland a Parliamentary Question regarding whether the Department of Regional Development has plans to remove restrictions on the number of street lights in rural areas.
As this issue falls within my responsibility as Acting Chief Executive of Roads Service, I have been asked to reply.
The main criterion for providing street lighting in rural areas is based on the density of housing although we also take cognisance of night time injury accident statistics which indicate that the provision of lighting would contribute to a reduction in such accidents.
In June 2006, Roads Service Board agreed an extension to the rural lighting criteria to ensure a consistent approach to the lighting of important junctions on the strategic network. This additional criterion will apply when new junctions are provided, and existing junctions that meet the criterion shall be lit retrospectively over a number of years subject to the availability of funds.
However, in the course of its considerations, Roads Service has to seek a balance on the demand for additional lighting against the effects of increased urbanisation of the countryside and the environmental impact on wildlife, flora and the night sky.