HC Deb 08 December 1893 vol 19 cc825-6
MR. MANFIELD (Northampton)

On behalf of the hon. Member for Caithness, I beg to ask the Postmaster General whether it is the case that the Duke of Portland charges the Post Office for permission to erect and maintain the telegraph posts on his estate in Caithness: and, if so, what amount he receives annually for this purpose; whether he is aware that a great part of the telegraph referred to passes through a deer forest, the annual value of which is about 3d. per acre; whether any other proprietor in Caithness or the North of Scotland makes a similar charge for postal telegraph way leave; and whether he will introduce a measure to give the Postal Authorities rights of way without charge.


The hon. Gentleman has called attention to a very important subject. The work of the Post Office, I am sorry to say, is being rendered more and more difficult in certain districts by the obstacles interposed by private persons and Represen- tative Bodies to the construction of telegraph lines for the use of the public; and I fear that it may become necessary to ask Parliament to confer on the Department some further reasonable powers to enable it to meet the requirements of the Service. At the same time, I must bear testimony to the public spirit of a great number of proprietors who not merely place no obstacles in the way of the Departments, but render every assistance in their power to facilitate its. operations. As to the North of Scotland, a nominal rent of 1s. a year is payable to the Duke of Portland for way leave for a main line of telegraphs through the Langwell Estate, and a similar payment is claimed by one other proprietor. In respect to telegraph poles on other private property in that part of the country, no payment whatever is claimed; and, if the same state of affairs existed throughout the United Kingdom, the Department would have little reason for complaint.

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