HC Deb 14 December 1939 vol 355 cc1240-1
25. Miss Rathbone

asked the Home Secretary whether he is satisfied that local authorities have, in fact, generally carried out the instructions given them in the Air-Raid Precautions Circular No. 220, issued on 1st September, 1939, in respect of the illumination during black-out hours of direction signs, especially those directing the public to air-raid shelters, first-aid stations, and fire stations; and whether he will consider issuing supplementary and more precise instructions as to the best method of securing the visibility of such direction signs without impairing the efficacy of black-out precautions?

Sir J. Anderson

Methods of illuminating location and direction signs for Civil Defence purposes have been the subject of close study and experiment, and there is now available a British standard specification for these signs, to which my Department drew the attention of local authorities in a circular dated 4th December. In the same circular local authorities were asked to reconsider, on the basis of the experience already gained of black-out conditions, the adequacy of their arrangements for indicating premises used in connection with Civil Defence, particularly air-raid shelters and first-aid posts. I am sending the hon. Lady a copy of this circular.

Miss Rathbone

In view of the fact that most of these signs are invisible during the whole of the black-out period, could the right hon. Gentleman do something more to speed up the work of these authorities in making signs visible; otherwise the benefit may become too late to be of use?

Sir J. Anderson

The purpose of the circular to which I have referred is to bring about improvement where improvement is considered necessary.

Mr. R. C. Morrison

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that a good deal of confusion still exists because of the difficulty of local authorities discovering whether certain signs submitted to them meet with the approval of the Home Office? Could he not arrange for firms which are producing these signs to submit them to the Home Office so that they would be able to take them to their customers with the assurance that they were satisfactory?

Sir J. Anderson

We do everything we can to help in the matter, and the standard specification which has been communicated to the local authorities ought to help very materially.