HL Deb 13 August 1883 vol 283 cc213-4

asked Her Majesty's Government, Whether, in the extension of the telegraph system which was now contemplated, they intended to consider the feasibility of carrying the wires underground, as was done in some other countries, instead of upon poles according to the present universal practice of Great Britain to the detriment of the landscape? It had been stated that the expense of carrying wires underground was considerably more than carrying them overground, and that it was as much as 100 to 30; but he had lately received information from America to the effect that, in consequence of recent inventions, the expense, so far from being greater, was less than the overhead method. If it were impossible to adopt a general system of underground wires throughout the country, he hoped the beauty of some of the valleys and mountains in Scotland and elsewhere would be spared by having unsightly telegraph poles erected on them.


said, he concurred in the view taken by the noble Viscount, though more on account of practical than of picturesque considerations. Apart from the disfiguration of scenery, there was great public danger from the present system of suspending telegraph wires from poles along the public roads. In the North, when there was a heavy snowstorm the wires and poles occasionally gave way, interrupting and causing great danger to traffic. This risk would be wholly removed by a system of underground wires.


said, he had been in communication with the Postmaster General upon this subject; and, while he had every desire to carry out the system of underground wires as far as possible, the additional expense, as compared with carrying wires on poles, was very large, so that it would be impossible to adopt the system generally; but, as regarded large towns, care would be taken to adopt the underground system in as many cases as possible. That was all the Postmaster General could undertake at present. He would, however, take care that the remarks of the noble Viscount were brought before the Postmaster General, who would consider them with attention.