HC Deb 29 November 1972 vol 847 cc406-7
15. Mr. Eadie

asked the Minister of Posts and Telecommunications if he will list the areas in Scotland that are known to be bad television reception areas; and what proposals have been made to remedy the position.

Sir J. Eden

This information is already provided in the publications of the two broadcasting authorities, both of which will send coverage maps to the hon. Gentleman. The 625-line services are still being developed.

Mr. Eadie

But the right hon. Gentleman must be aware of the great disquiet, and, indeed, sometimes anger, in areas which suffer from bad television reception. Does he not appreciate that television reception at Penicuik, which is in my constituency and which borders on Edinburgh is absolutely deplorable? What assurance can he give to my constituents in this technological age that an improvement will be brought about with the utmost expedition?

Sir J. Eden

I am aware that there is not universal coverage at present and that those who do not get the sort of reception they want are naturally disturbed. But this programme will take time to develop. The uhf coverage in Scotland will require a further 16 main stations compared with 38 in England. This means one station for every 340,000 people in Scotland and one for every 1.7 million people in England, or proportionately five times as many.

Mr. Brewis

Will my right hon. Friend see that in deciding which areas should have improved reception the powers that be will take account not only of population but the number of people who come into Scotland, such as tourists, and who often multiply the population? Will he agree that bad television reception can have a very bad influence on the tourist trade?

Sir J. Eden

Yes; I take note of my hon. Friend's point about visitors for holiday and other purposes. The fact remains, however, that it will always be extremely difficult to get effective coverage in areas with widely dispersed populations.