HC Deb 19 March 1958 vol 584 cc1240-1
9. Mr. B. Harrison

asked the Postmaster-General what steps are being taken to improve television reception in Essex and, in particular, in the area of Braintree.

Mr. K. Thompson

In parts of Essex sunspot activity has caused interference during the past few months: this is becoming less serious and the British Broadcasting Corporation tells me that as it disappears reception of its programmes should generally be good. Reception of I.T.A. programmes is difficult in Braintree because of the distance from the London transmitter. The I.T.A.'s proposed East Anglian station may help here, but the site of this station has yet to be decided, and it is unsafe to make a firm forecast.

Mr. Harrison

I am grateful for the information that what is causing interference is something which is out of the control of my hon. Friend. Will he have his Department investigate the amateur transmissions in the area, or the Service transmission, particularly from the R.A.F. base at Wethersfield, which seems to be causing some of the trouble?

Mr. Thompson

Yes, I will be very pleased to have both matters investigated as soon as possible.

Mr. Ridsdale

Is my hon. Friend aware that, in spite of his activities, television in the Harwich area is not very good? Is he aware that I am not particularly impressed by the scientific replies he gives annually about sunspots and that I should be very glad if his Department would again look into this matter?

Mr. Thompson

I assure my hon. Friend that we are not responsible for sunspots, but in so far as they are a factor in the matter it is my duty to report about them to he House.

Sir L. Plummer

Can the hon. Gentleman explain why it is that sunspots do not seem to affect reception of commercial programmes in the Halstead area? Why is it that commercial programmes are received much more clearly than B.B.C. programmes?

Mr. Thompson

I have not looked into that particular matter, but I have no doubt that the answer is related in some way to the strength of the signal received from the B.B.C. broadcasting mast, or the I.T.A. mast, and its relationship with sunspot activity.