HC Deb 17 December 1973 vol 866 cc937-8
19. Mr. Beith

asked the Minister of Posts and Telecommunications what he estimates to be the number of people in North Northumberland who are unable to receive local news and weather forecasts on BBC North-East Radio 4 VHF; and whether he has considered any proposals for extending the range of this service.

Sir J. Eden

Approximately 23,000, according to the BBC's latest estimates. I shall consider any proposals put to me by Sir Stewart Crawford's Committee, which is considering this and other problems of broadcasting coverage.

Mr. Beith

Will the Minister, who did not await the report of the Crawford Committee before taking away the medium wave frequency, initiate discussions with the IBA and BBC to see whether urgent facilities can be provided at the Chatton television transmitter? Is he aware that the news was broadcast on medium wave by mistake on 4th December? Will he tolerate that mistake being continued temporarily until a permanent arrangement can be made?

Sir J. Eden

Decisions affecting the medium wave were taken some time ago and were not affected by the appointment of the Crawford Committee. I think the hon. Gentleman will agree that, having appointed the committee, I would be well advised to await its findings.