HC Deb 10 July 1903 vol 125 cc1147-9
MR. MARKHAM (Nottinghamshire, Mansfield)

I beg to ask the President of the Board of Trade whether, seeing that the Governments of America, France Germany, Switzerland, Italy, and other countries have, during the last ten years, passed laws regulating the methods of distributing high-tension current by overhead wires, which has resulted in a widely employed vise of electricity for industrial purposes, he will say whether there is a single case in Great Britain or Ireland where high-tension current overhead wires have been installed.

The HON. MEMRER also had the following Questions on the Paper:—

To ask the President of the Board of Trade whether, in view of the continued refusals of the Board of Trade to grant facilities to manufacturers in this country to use high-tension wires, for the alleged reason that these wires might be dangerous to the public, he has taken any steps to ask the Foreign Office to obtain Reports from His Majesty's Consuls abroad as to whether any accidents have been caused by this system of power transmission; and if he has not done so will he communicate with the Foreign Office on the subject with a view of obtaining these Reports.

To ask the President of the Board of Trade whether, on 19th June, 1901, the chief electrical adviser of his Department received from the secretary of the London Chamber of Commerce a memorandum drawn up by a committee of electrical experts in this country stating that the Board of Trade regulations had hitherto practically entirely prohibited overhead wires in the United Kingdom except under such conditions as to make it impracticable; and will he say if this memorandum was brought to his notice, and, if so, when; whether new regulations have been issued in substitution of the old regulations; and whether Regulation No. 33, relating to aerial conductors, has been cancelled.


I will reply to the hon. Member's three Questions together. There is no case in Great Britain or Ireland where bare overhead wires have been installed for the transmission of electricity at high voltage for industrial purposes. The Department has not been asked to sanction this method of supply until quite recently, and, as I have already intimated, is ready to give favourable consideration to each application. I have no objection to asking the Foreign Office for copies of the laws of the countries named in the hon. Member's first Question, and for some Reports as suggested in the second Question. In regard to the last Question, the memorandum referred to by the hon. Member was sent in a covering letter addressed to the electrical adviser to the Board of Trade with a request that that officer would receive a deputation. The electrical adviser answered the memorandum himself, and the matter was properly within his cognisance. I have given my personal attention to this question of distributing high-tension current by overhead wires. As I have already informed the hon. Member, the Board of Trade have been, and still are, prepared to consider each case on its merits without reference to any model regulations. In the cases now under consideration, the electrical adviser will prepare special regulations applicable to the circumstances of each case. Model Regulation 33 does not appear to relate to aerial conductors. If the hon. Member refers to Regulation 23, that is not a model regulation which would now be insisted upon in dealing with a high-tension system.


was understood to ask if sanction had not been given in one case on the understanding that if the district affected became an urban district the wire must be taken down.


No, Sir; I intimated the question would be reconsidered in five years.