HC Deb 16 December 1948 vol 459 cc203-4W
Mr. Vane

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 employ 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.