asked the Minister of Fuel and Power why he maintains so strict a specification for poles for overhead transmission lines for electricity when, by using a specification more in line with that in force in continental countries, more home grown poles could be used, foreign exchange saved, and electricity schemes in rural areas speeded up; and if he will reconsider this question.
§ Mr. Gaitskell
The British Standards Institute specifications for wooden poles for overhead lines are more stringent than continental specifications but the electricity boards are working to a relaxed specification, which does not compare unfavourably with continental practice. Electricity boards use home grown poles but any extension of their use would involve a more widespread employment of spruce. Spruce has a tendency to break, split and twist and while it can be used within specified dimensions according to the type of line, engineers only employ204W it to a limited extent, because of possible risk to the public and employees working on the poles and because of the high cost of maintenance.