HC Deb 09 November 1939 vol 353 cc395-6
36. Captain Sir William Brass

asked the Home Secretary whether, in view of the number of prosecutions of householders, some successful and others dismissed, in different parts of the country, both in vulnerable and non-vulnerable areas for showing small cracks of light from the sides of windows, he will give some indication to the country generally what amount of light in candle-power, and exposed for what period of time and viewed from what angle, is considered to be an infringement of the regulations; and whether these restrictions apply equally all over the country, including railway goods yards?

Sir J. Anderson

The same considerations cannot apply to both internal and external lighting. The Lighting (Restrictions) Order requires complete obscuration of internal lighting. External lighting, on the other hand, cannot be completely obscured; and where outdoor activities must in the national interests be carried on through the hours of darkness—for example, in docks and railway marshalling yards—specific exemptions are made under the Lighting Order allowing lights to be used subject to their being suitably shaded and of a reduced intensity. As regards internal domestic lighting, the Order requires complete obscuration; but the police are exercising a reasonable discretion in enforcing this requirement by proceedings in the courts, and I understand that as a general rule proceedings are taken only in cases where there has been a flagrant breach of the Order or where the offence has been repeated after a warning has been given.

Sir W. Brass

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that this is interpreted differently in different parts of the country? In Oxford there were 40 cases in a week as against only 58 cases in the Metropolitan area for the whole month. Will he make representations to the chief constable of Oxford on this question?

Sir J. Anderson

I will see that the effect of my reply is communicated to the Oxford authorities.

Mr. Charles Williams

Does this regulation apply to Government Departments?

Sir J. Anderson

Yes, Sir. On a former occasion I said that appropriate action had been taken to secure compliance with the order by Government Departments?

Mr. Sorensen

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that a woman was prosecuted last week because she inadvertently left the blind up?

Sir J. Anderson

I was not aware of that.