HC Deb 16 July 1963 vol 681 cc329-30
43. Dr. Stross

asked the Minister of Public Building and Works whether he is aware of the general approval given to his floodlighting of buildings of merit in Central London; what is the annual cost to his department in terms of electricity used; and whether he will extend the provisions so that the buildings under his care will be floodlit throughout the whole year.

Mr. Rippon

Floodlighting of buildings in my Ministry's care in London at present lasts from May to October. From May to September electricity is provided free by the London Electricity Board. The cost to my Ministry of electricity used during October is about£600.

The extra expense involved in floodlighting these buildings throughout the whole year would be substantial and although I welcome the general appreciation of floodlighting, I regret that funds cannot be made available for extending it throughout the year.

Dr. Stross

Would not the right hon. Gentleman agree that the word "substantial" is a little out of context in this matter when so much pleasure and some inspiration are given for what I regard as little cost? Would he not reconsider the matter so that after the peak hour in the winter, say from seven o'clock, some of these buildings could be kept floodlit?

Mr. Rippon

It would cost an additional£8,000 a year and I am not satisfied that there is a demand for expenditure of that order.

Mr. Gibson-Watt

Will my right hon. Friend keep to his present answer to the last part of the hon. Gentleman's supplementary question? Will he bear in mind that this floodlighting of public buildings, beautiful as it may be, is looked upon with some distaste by those villages in isolated areas which still require electricity?

Mr. Rippon

I will try, as always, to balance conflicting views.

Mr. Strauss

Does not the right hon. Gentleman appreciate that the pleasing and warming sight of these illuminated buildings would, in a way, be more welcome to Londoners in the winter than in the summer? In view of the trivial amount of the additional expense which would be involved, would he consider this matter again before it is too late?

Mr. Rippon

I am glad to have the right hon. Gentleman's definition of "trivial", but we must bear in mind the need to balance the demand for this facility in the winter against the cost.