§ MR. J. BIGWOOD (Middlesex, Brentford)
I beg to ask the Secretary to the Treasury, as representing the Postmaster General, what right, statutory or otherwise, has he to place, and what is the usual practice of the Post Office authorities in placing, wires for telegraphic purposes across the lands of private individuals without their consent; and within what period the authorities, when called upon to have such wires removed, do so?
§ MR. HANBURY
Under the 21st section of the Telegraph Act, 1863, the Postmaster General, as successor to the Telegraph Companies, has the right in urban districts to place wires for telegraphic purposes across the lands (with certain specified exceptions) of private individuals, after the consent of the local authority has been obtained to the placing of poles or wires in the adjoining street. He is under no obligation to remove the wires, though he is under an obligation on the receipt of 14 days' notice to so alter them that they may not interfere with the raising or extension of buildings on such lands. Outside urban districts the Postmaster General has no right to place telegraph wires across the lands of private individuals without their consent, except along highways; and the consent, in all cases, specifies the period within which the wires shall be removed in case the consent should be withdrawn.