§ Mr. Spence
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department to what extent the allocation of space on VHF band 2 is inhibiting the development of local radio services in the United Kingdom; if he will bring forward proposals for overcoming the limitation; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Hurd
There have been no significant delays in allocating VHF frequencies to BBC and IBA local radio services as new stations have been commissioned. As regards the future development of local radio, the amount of spectrum which can be made available in the long term depends on the outcome of the VHF band 2 planning conference to be held in Geneva in 1984. The United Kingdom's proposals will include the provision of additional frequencies for both BBC and independent local radio; but a good deal of planning and international consultation still remains to be done.
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what proposals he has received from the British Broadcasting Corporation for the utilisation of VHF band 2; what steps he is taking with respect to the allocation of space on this band to reduce the dangers of interference and poor reception; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Hurd
The BBC's objectives are to secure a new VHF network for Radio 1, the expansion of the frequencies available for local radio and national regional radio, the extension of coverage of its existing networks,190W and an easy tuning plan for listeners. The IBA seeks a first VHF network for independent national radio and the expansion of frequencies for independent local radio. It is impossible to give either broadcasting authority all that it wants in the time scale it seeks without severe penalties to the other, but the United Kingdom plan for the VHF band 2 planning conference in Geneva in the autumn of 1984 will be designed to meet both sets of objectives as closely and as fairly as possible. The prevention of interference and improvements to reception will depend essentially on the precise assignments made at that conference.