Other News In Brief

LED Upgrade For Twaddell Avenue Street Lighting

The Department for Infrastructure has announced a £50,000 LED lighting upgrade scheme for Twaddell Avenue, Belfast.

The scheme will involve the replacement of 18 existing columns and associated cabling. To minimise disruption to local schools and residents, the works will be carried out during the school half term break, starting today, Monday 25 October.

Making the announcement Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon said: "This significant investment will benefit everyone who travels and works in the area. I am committed to addressing the issues which matter most to people and street lighting services are crucial in ensuring those driving, cycling, wheeling and walking can do so safely within their communities.

"This investment provides new LED lighting technology in Twaddell Avenue. It is important that adequate street lighting not only improves the quality of lighting but is also more energy efficient, given my commitment to climate action.

"I would like to thank the public and local residents in advance for their cooperation and ask that they comply with all temporary traffic restrictions while these much needed works are completed."

Completion of the work by 30 October is subject to favourable weather conditions, however, the Department will keep the public informed of any change. All work will be carried out in line with current public health and health and safety advice, with safe systems of working in place for staff and contractors.

Action Needed To Address Pressure On NIFRS

The Health Minister must get to grips with pressures facing the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service, DUP North Antrim MLA Mervyn Storey has said.

He made the call after it was reported that fire cover in towns and villages across Northern Ireland could be reduced because of budget cuts.
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Commenting, Mr Storey said: "Across Northern Ireland firefighters regularly put themselves in harm's way to protect others. We owe it to them to ensure that the Fire and Rescue Service has the right tools and resources to do the job.

"Any cost-cutting measures - but particularly the loss of crew cover or appliances - would have a direct and indiscriminate impact on levels of service right across the community. Every available avenue must be explored to ensure NIFRS can retain the capacity and flexibility it needs to respond to both routine and critical incidents.

"We have to recognise that many of the challenges facing the Service are the result of a decade of under-investment and the absence of a long-term plan for recruitment. These are failings that the current Health Minister cannot wash his hands of. There is a real and pressing need for practical solutions to current pressures which prevent wholesale changes to current services and places NIFRS on stable operational footing going forward.

"I have written to the Minister to raise these concerns and will continue to campaign for local firefighters and control staff to get the recognition and support that they deserve."

New Glider Route Decision Not An 'Orange And Green' Issue

The debate over a proposed new Glider bus route in north Belfast is not an "orange and green" issue, Translink chief executive Chris Conway has said.

Mr Conway appeared on BBC Radio Ulster's Talkback programme to address the issue of if the new route should follow the Shore Road or the Antrim Road.

It is understood that unionist parties "favour" the Shore Road, while other parties are supporting the Antrim Road.

Mr Conway told Talk Back that this "shouldn't be an orange-green issue and it is disappointing that it sort of has come across that way". He said that the decision would be based on transport-related issued "rather than political considerations".

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