HC Deb 21 March 1960 vol 620 cc16-7
28. Mr. Wingfield Digby

asked the Minister of Power whether he will give a general direction to the Central Electricity Authority to ensure that a reasonable proportion of new electricity poles are of home-grown timber.

Mr. Wood

I understand that the electricity boards buy home-grown poles when these are available in qualities and at prices comparable with imported poles, but it would not be desirable to direct them to purchase any specific proportion from home sources.

Mr. Digby

Is my right hon. Friend aware that at least one board is not buying any British poles at all? Is it not generally desirable that a nationalised industry like this should buy British whenever it can?

Mr. Wood

It would be wrong for me, would it not, to encourage electricity boards to give preference to British goods when the poles they import from abroad are better and cheaper? I am advised that in many cases the boards have found that only a very small proportion of home-grown timber really meets their needs. I am, however, perfectly prepared, if he would like me to, to pursue this matter further with the boards, and particularly the case that he has in mind, if he will supply me with details.

Sir G. Nicholson

Is my right hon. Friend aware that there is a time-lag of at least six weeks between the time when any electricity scheme extension is approved and the time it can be initiated, due to the delay in the provision of the poles? Will he try to see that that delay is reduced?

Mr. Wood

I shall certainly look into that with the Central Electricity Authority, but it is a matter for it and not for me.