HL Deb 07 May 1968 vol 291 cc1326-8

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 intend to paint telephone boxes yellow, and if so, why.]


My Lords, no decision has yet been taken. A proposal that telecommunications vehicles and telephone kiosks should be painted yellow is being considered by my right honourable friend the Postmaster General.


My Lords, may I thank the Minister for that Answer? Can she tell us the origin of this proposal? Is it an æsthetic jeu d'esprit, or are the Government moved by an irresistible impulse to waste our money?


My Lords, the origin of the proposal was the fact that the telecommunications vehicles are at present painted a dull green, which is not very conspicuous when these vehicles are parked on the road, and the suggestion was that a brighter colour would assist safety. Less importantly, but in order to be consistent, the telephone kiosks would also be painted the same colour. But that is a proposal.


My Lords, may I ask my noble friend whether she would agree that telephone boxes would look far less attractive if they were painted blue?


My Lords, is it suggested that telephone kiosks will be safer if they are painted yellow?


My Lords, may I ask the noble Baroness whether she will bear in mind that a great many people hate yellow?


My Lords, on the question of safety, I made reference to the vehicles and I said "in order to be consistent"; in other words, that there would be some connection. There has been a suggestion from various users, particularly those who look for a telephone box when driving, that yellow is a colour which they would see more easily. That is merely one of the points which have been raised.


My Lords, is the noble Baroness aware that in the Cotswolds the telephone kiosks are stone-coloured, with red bars across the windows, and no one suffers any inconvenience through not being able to see them? Could not something of the sort be done everywhere?


My Lords, my right honourable friend has made the special arrangement to which the noble Earl has just referred. In cases of National Parks and areas of exceptional beauty that is a special arrangement with the authorities concerned, and I understand that it would not be affected by any change if these proposals were put into effect. How far that could be extended would be a matter for my right honourable friend to consider.


My Lords, in order that I may follow the reasoning of the Government, may I ask the noble Baroness whether I am right in understanding that the red pillar boxes will remain red because nobody associates the pillar boxes with communications of any kind?