§ Mr. David Howell
To ask the President of the Board of Trade what procedures have been laid down to enable members of the public to raise complaints against the operation of cable companies installing their equipment on highways and also on private property; and whether he will make a statement.
§ Mr. McLoughlin
Cable television operators are granted powers under section 10 of the Telecommunications Act 1984 to install cable systems in the maintainable highway and, with appropriate consent, on private land. Their licences include conditions designed to ensure that they operate in a responsible manner and adhere 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. Where work is undertaken on private land, it should be with the consent of the landowner, and any complaint arising from that work is a matter for the landowner and the cable operator concerned. Many cable operators provide freephone numbers to deal with inquiries.