HC Deb 17 May 1950 vol 475 cc1193-5
24. Mr. John Grimston

asked the Postmaster-General if he will consider allocating wavelengths, now allocated to broadcasting stations far enough away to avoid interference, on which to restart the Airmet service.

Mr. Ness Edwards

The number of long and medium wavelengths allocated to this country for broadcasting is insufficient to meet demands, and there is no prospect of the use of one of them for this service. I have, of course, no power to appropriate wavelengths allotted by the Copenhagen Plan to other countries.

Mr. Grimston

While not agreeing with the argument the right hon. Gentleman has just used, may I ask whether he will now examine the possibility of using the Third Programme wavelength up to six o'clock when the Third Programme I starts, as the wavelength is free till then a and could be used for this service?

Mr. Ness Edwards

I have some sympathy with the point of view expressed in the Question, and I have asked my hon. Friend, in conjunction with other Departments and the B.B.C., to go over the whole ground to see what can be done to accommodate that point of view.

Professor Savory

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that at night it is now impossible to hear the French and Italian broadcasts of the B.B.C. because of the interference from other stations?

Mr. Ness Edwards

No, but I will take that matter up with the B.B.C.

33. Mr. J. Grimston

asked the Secretary of State for Air if he will arrange for the broadcast of upper air temperatures; and humidities which used to be available daily at 0820 hours on Airmet.

The Secretary of State for Air (Mr. Arthur Henderson)

I regret that within the present time allocated by the B.B.C. to weather broadcasts it would not be possible to include this information.

Mr. Grimston

Will the right hon. and learned Gentleman get in touch with the Postmaster-General, and see that he is made aware of the need for this kind of information, particularly for gliding?

Mr. Henderson

Yes, Sir. Discussions are already taking place on this point.

37. Surgeon Lieut.-Commander Bennett

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Civil Aviation on what date negotiations were started for a new wavelength to be allocated to Airmet broadcasts.

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Civil Aviation (Mr. Beswick)

Immediately after the Copenhagen International Telecommunications Union Broadcasting Conference in the Autumn of 1948, when it became clear that the Airmet broadcast would have to be discontinued unless another wavelength could be allocated.

Surgeon Lieut.-Commander Bennett

Can the Parliamentary Secretary assure us that the conference was called immediately and negotiations begun then for securing a new wavelength; or has it been left until a certain amount of publicity has been thrown upon the subject?

Mr. Beswick

The conference was an international conference called, of course, in the course of international undertakings, but it was found impossible to squeeze this particular service into the limited amount of frequency available for aeronautical purposes. However, I must say that I have great sympathy with this; we are discussing it, and if it is possible to find some alternative frequency that will be done.

39. Mr. J. Grimston

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Civil Aviation what plain language weather broadcast information is available to civil aircraft which does not cause congestion on flying control frequencies now that the Airmet service has been suspended.

Mr. Beswick

There are no regular broadcasts, but limited weather information is available on radio telephone on request to air traffic control.

Mr. Grimston

Is the Minister aware that this added congestion on the frequency is most undesirable, and will he press the Postmaster-General to allow the use of the Third Programme frequency, as I have previously suggested?

Mr. Beswick

Yes, I have pressed the Postmaster-General. There has been a lot of pressure from all sorts of people, but it would still be necessary for an airline pilot to call for a weather forecast in certain cases.