HC Deb 10 November 1971 vol 825 cc1015-6
26. Mr. Leadbitter

asked the Minister of Posts and Telecommunications if he will issue a general direction to the Post Office to prevent it seeking planning permission from local authorities to erect telegraph poles in close proximity to houses of occupants who are not telephone users without consultation with the people affected.

The Minister of Posts and Telecommunications (Mr. Christopher Chataway)

No, Sir. A general direction would not be appropriate.

Mr. Leadbitter

The Minister should be aware, in view of the years he has spent in local government service, as I have, that often posts are erected without any consultation with the people concerned. People who do not themselves want a telephone service often find that the telegraph poles are erected next to their windows or doors. Surely it is right that such people should be consulted? What is the purpose of the Post Office and the local authority, either separately or together, denying people the right to make observations on where it is proposed that posts be erected?

Mr. Chataway

I know of the hon. Gentleman's long-standing interest in the subject. It is a matter for the Post Office, and therefore I must advise him that individual cases should be taken up with the Post Office.

Mr. Gregor Mackenzie

Is the Minister aware that in the view of many of my colleagues, particularly from local authorities, there is one law for one set of people with regard to telegraph poles and another law for another set? We would welcome a direction or some indication from him to the Post Office that the underground cable system should be used in all schemes, whether or not they are local authority housing schemes.

Mr. Chataway

It would not be possible to put all cables underground. But I have no doubt that the Post Office will take note of the hon. Gentleman's views