HC Deb 28 June 1994 vol 245 cc459-60W
Mr. Amess

To ask the President of the Board of Trade what assessment he has made of whether United Artists is fulfilling the terms of its licence to install fibre optic cables in the Basildon area and that the criteria for siting of junction boxes is in accordance with the terms of the licence.

Mr. McLoughlin

Regulatory responsibility for ensuring that United Artists fulfills the terms of its build programme rests with Oftel and it is content that the company is meeting its build obligations. The standard of the company's street works and the siting of junction boxes are Highway Authority matters. United Artists' licence includes conditions designed to ensure that the company operates in a responsible manner and adheres to all relevant street works legislation. Street works in the maintainable highway are subject to the New Roads and Street Works Act 1991, and its associated regulations, which are enforced by local highway authorities. The company's licence permits it to install junction boxes subject to certain conditions. The company is required to agree guidelines with the planning and highway authorities on the positioning of its above-ground apparatus. It is also required to inform the local authority of its intention to install apparatus and identify where they propose to place the apparatus so that the local authority have an opportunity to make conditions on the siting of the junction box. I have not received any evidence to suggest that junction boxes are not being sited in accordance with licence terms.