HC Deb 14 December 1939 vol 355 cc1242-5
31. Lieut.-Colonel Sir Thomas Moore

asked the Home Secretary whether street lighting in Glasgow during the black-out is to be in operation by the middle of January; whether he will state the plans upon which this street lighting is to be carried out; and whether they will be applicable to and adopted by other cities and towns in the country?

Sir J. Anderson

I am not aware that the Corporation of Glasgow has in mind any system of street lighting other than that on which my Department has been experimenting for some time past. I propose, in reply to a later question today, to state the results of the Department's experiments.

Sir T. Moore

Will my right hon. Friend consider extending some such methods to London?

Sir J. Anderson

That is dealt with in reply to the later question.

40. Sir Harold Webbe

asked the Home Secretary whether he is in a position to make any further statement on the subject of street lighting.

Sir J. Anderson

Yes, Sir. I am glad to be able to announce that it has been found possible to devise a type of low intensity street lighting which satisfies the requirements of the Air Staff, and the Lighting (Restrictions) Order is being modified so as to permit the installation of this type of lighting in all areas except those on the East and South-east Coasts. I am arranging for a full statement on this subject to be circulated in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Sir H. Webbe

In thanking my right hon. Friend for his answer may I inquire whether the method which it is proposed to permit is one that can be easily and quickly installed?

Sir J. Anderson

I have every hope that rapid progress will be made in the course of the next few weeks. It is purely a question of securing a sufficient supply of the necessary lamps and shades.

Mr. Riley

Will lighting authorities be notified of the existence of this system?

Sir J. Anderson


Mr. Benjamin Smith

Will the right hon. Gentleman give the House information regarding the lighting, both internal and external, of passenger service?

Sir J. Anderson

The lighting of vehicles is a different matter. As the hon. Member knows, it has received a great deal of attention recently, and considerable improvements have been made, and I shall be glad to give the House all the information I have on the matter.

Mr. R. C. Morrison

Will the new Order apply to the streets of London?

Following is the statement:

In the statement which I made on 26th October in reply to a question by my hon. Friend the Member for Cheltenham (Mr. Lipson), I examined the suggestion that ordinary street lighting, or something approaching it, might be restored if arrangements were made by which the lights could be turned off as soon as an air-raid warning was received. I explained the difficulties attaching to any system of switching off street lights on receipt of a warning; and I said at the end of my statement that, in view of these difficulties, my Department was exploring the possibility of devising a type of modified street lighting of so low an intensity that it could be left alight even while an air raid was in progress. The evolution of a type of lighting which would satisfy the conditions imposed by strategical requirements has presented technical problems of a novel and difficult character; but I am glad to be able to announce that, after weeks of unremitting experiment, a form of street lighting has now been devised which has passed the practical test of observation from the air. After a series of observation flights carried out by the Royal Air Force, the Air Staff are satisfied that this new type of lighting does not give assistance to aircraft flying at the altitudes at which hostile planes would be likely to fly in raids carried out at night over inland towns in this country.

The Government have, therefore, decided that the provisions of the Lighting (Restriction) Order shall be modified at once so as to permit the installation of this type of street lighting in all areas except those on the East and South-East coasts. The Government must for the moment reserve their decision about the use of this lighting in these coastal areas, where special defence considerations apply. I had hoped that a final test flight by the Royal Air Force would have been possible last night, but the weather conditions in the test area prevented observation. The test will be made at the first opportunity, and the final decision as regards these coastal areas will then be announced immediately.

This lighting is necessarily of a very low intensity. It is not in any way comparable to ordinary street lighting, and gives much less light than the modified street lighting which was permitted during the last war. It has, however, been established by practical tests that it is of considerable value in facilitating movement in the streets, and it will certainly add materially to the comfort—and, I hope, also to the safety—of pedestrians moving about the streets after dark. At the same time, the light will be so diffused that it will not reduce the effectiveness of the permitted driving lights on vehicles, and will not affect the visibility of traffic lights and other illuminated aids to movement.

In order to ensure that street lighting shall not exceed the intensity approved by the Air Staff, it will be necessary to require that the authorities installing it shall use fittings complying with a prescribed specification. Arrangements have been made for the British Standards Institution to issue such a specification at once; and manufacturers will thus be enabled to produce in rapidly increasing numbers fittings which will give lighting of the approved standard both by gas and by electricity. The new lighting cannot be made generally available throughout the country at once; it must necessarily take some little time to manufacture the large number of fittings required; and the process of installing this lighting in all the towns where it is to be permitted may not be completed until February. Lighting authorities will, however, be able instal the new lights as fittings of the approved type become available; and it may be found possible for some of the streets in central London to be lighted in this way before Christmas.