HL Deb 14 July 1964 vol 260 cc110-1

2.45 p.m.


My Lords, I beg leave to ask the Question which stands in my name on the Order Paper.

[The Question was as follows:

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they have any evidence—

  1. (a) of popular demand for the broadcasting of music for twenty or more hours a day; or
  2. (b) that broadcasting of music at unsuitable hours has, or is likely to have, a bad effect on mental or physical health, or, by increasing the stress under which people live, is likely to make accidents more frequent.]


My Lords, I should like to remind the noble Lord that the White Paper on Broadcasting (Cmnd. 1770), published in July, 1962, recorded the B.B.C.'s proposals for extending the hours of sound broadcasting and the Government's decision to authorise the extension. The B.B.C. have now announced that they can go ahead and have told my right honourable friend that this has been generally welcomed. They are satisfied that there is a substantial demand. As to the second part of the noble Lord's Question, there will always be some inconsiderate people who will turn on their sets too loudly. But I do not think that this would justify withholding the extra service from those who would like it and who will, in the great majority of cases, be considerate of other people. In those individual cases where they are needed there are remedies under the Noise Abatement Act, the Common Law and by-laws.


My Lords, while thanking my noble friend for his very full reply, would he not agree that that statement is at variance with the Wilson Report on Noise, which was approved by Her Majesty's Government?


My Lords, clearly if sets are turned on too loudly they can be a great nuisance and a cause of great noise. But on the whole they are not used too loudly, and where they are, as I have said, the citizen has a right under the Common Law or local by-laws.


My Lords, would my noble friend not agree that the increased broadcasting at night might in fact save accidents, by preventing sleepiness in night drivers?


That is certainly one idea, but I do not have any statistical information to show that that is so.


My Lords, may I remind my noble friend that one of the most irritating things—he referred to the set being played too loudly—is for a set to be played very softly so that one can hear only about one note or so?


My Lords, of course the noble Lord then has the option of switching his set on a little louder so that he can hear a few more notes.