§ 2.35 p.m.
§ LORD CONESFORD
My Lords, I beg leave to ask the first Question which stands in my name on the Order Paper.
§ [The Question was as follows:
§ To ask Her Majesty's Government how many high concrete towers with metal superstructure the Postmaster General is constructing or proposing to construct; for what purpose he requires them; under what powers he is acting; where the towers are to be located; what persons or authorities have been consulted; and what opportunity Parliament will have of exercising any control.]
§ THE PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY, MINISTRY OF TRANSPORT (LORD CHESHAM)
My Lords, my right honourable friend has five concrete radio towers under construction at present and is planning to build a further three. One large tower is being built in London and another is planned for Birmingham; four smaller ones are being built at Stokenchurch, Charwelton, Sutton Common and Pye Green and two smaller ones are planned for Heaton. Park, near Manchester, and a site near Wotton-under-Edge. These towers are needed to provide telecommunications services by radio. They may also carry television signals between stations of the broadcasting authorities.
My right honourable friend is advised that he has not, and does not need, express statutory powers to build radio stations and individual proposals are not brought before Parliament. But he refers every proposal to the local planning authority and arrangements are made for the National Parks Commission, the Council for the Preservation of Rural England, the National Trust and other 1014 bodies to be consulted when their interests seem to be affected. The Royal Fine Art Commission has accepted the designs for the towers.
§ LORD CONESFORD
My Lords, I thank my noble friend for his informative Answer. Could the Government take the public into their confidence, so far as possible, by disclosing the whole of the network? And will they remove these towers if they find that they are obsolete?
§ LORD CHESHAM
My Lords, we would certainly consider that, because, so far as I am aware, there is nothing to hide in the matter. I will convey my noble friend's words to my right honourable friend, both as to that and in regard to the removal of the towers. I cannot, of course, commit my right honourable friend to removing them, but it would seem, on the face of it, that if they became obsolete their removal would be a sensible thing to do.