HC Deb 25 July 1979 vol 971 cc239-40W
Mr. Knox

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he is yet able to make a statement about proposals for additional local radio stations.

Mr. Whitelaw

Yes. I have now received the Second Report of the Home Office Local Radio Working Party. The report contains the working party's proposals for a second stage of local radio development.

The working party has put forward proposals for 15 IBA, stations at Ayr, Barnsley, Bristol, Bury St. Edmunds, Canter bury/Dover, Guildford, Leeds, Leicester, Londonderry, Luton/Bedford, Newport, Preston/Blackpool, Swindon, Worcester/ Hereford and Wrexham /Deeside. Its proposals for the BBC, pending the out come of the forthcoming financial discussions with the Government, consist more of a rationalisation than an expansion and are for a local radio station at Ply mouth and for medium frequency (MF) assignments at Londonderry and Aberdeen. The working party also notes the proposed BBC opt-out service, in Gaelic with some English material, on an existing very high frequency (VHF) assignment in Stornoway.

The BBC may wish to put forward proposals for additional stations at a later date and the working party has not ruled out the possibility of a supplementary report in such circumstances.

I have decided to make the report available for public comment before reaching a decision on locations for further local radio stations. Accordingly, comments are being invited by 14 September from those organisations having an interest in local radio, which were consulted by the working party last year and which are listed in the appendix to the report. My Department will send copies of the report on request to other organisations or individuals wishing to comment.

I will reach a decision on the proposals in the light of these comments and after further consultations with the BBC and the IBA.

Copies of the report are being placed in the Library of the House.