Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon has launched a public consultation seeking views on providing lighting on the Comber Greenway.
The Comber Greenway is a seven mile long traffic free route between Belfast and Comber. Although it is a popular walking and cycling path for both commuting and leisure purposes, the number of people using it drop off during the evenings and in the winter months.
Launching the consultation today Minister Mallon said:
“Active travel and the development of greenways is key to my green recovery action plan and this consultation is an opportunity to hear directly from the public on how we can make progress.
“While the Covid crisis has brought unprecedented challenges and has fundamentally changed the way we live, there is no doubt that it has also created an opportunity for us all to take a closer look at how we travel or spend our leisure time as we improve our health and well-being.
“Our research has shown that over the twelve month period April 2020 – March 2021 usage of the Comber Greenway has increased by around 80%. However, it is clear that the numbers drop off in the evenings or during the darker winter months with journeys in December almost half of those made in June.
“The introduction of a new red spectrum lighting scheme, the first of its kind on these islands, would potentially make travel throughout the whole year more feasible while also minimising light pollution and protecting the local environment and bat population along this corridor.
“Enhancing our active travel facilities allows us to better connect communities, improve our health and wellbeing and also tackle the climate crisis. This consultation sets out a number of options and I want to give careful consideration to all opinions on the best way forward. That includes those who regularly use the greenway to walk, wheel, or cycle and those residents and businesses who live or work along it and may have views about a lighting scheme.
“I would encourage everyone with an interest or view on this subject to respond to the consultation. I want to hear from you.”
Further details on the consultation are available at: https://www.infrastructure-ni.gov.uk/consultations/public-consultation-lighting-comber-greenway
Responses to the consultation may also be provided via email to: email@example.com
The consultation will close on 30 September 2021.
Notes to editors:
- There are three options which form the basis of the public consultation;
- Option 1 – do nothing , no lighting on the greenway
- Option 2 – Light the urban part of the greenway: Beersbridge Road – Billy Neill Halt
- Option 3 – Light all of the greenway: Beersbridge Road – Comber (including the rural part from Billy Neill Halt to Comber).
- The preliminary design recommends the use of a red light spectrum to minimise disturbance to bat colonies. It also recommends the use of back louvres on the light heads and shorter columns. This will minimise not only light spill into the hedgerows to protect the bats, but also diminish light pollution into adjoining properties.
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