asked the Postmaster-General why he has not permitted amateur television in the 420–460 megacycles band as used by United States of America and Dutch amateurs, and why he has not permitted operations in the 1215–1300 megacycles band which is reserved exclusively for amateur operation by international agreement.
The band 420–460 megacycles is recognised internationally as primarily for the use of aeronautical radio navigational services, and the band 1215–1300 megacycles is needed to meet certain national defence requirements.
Is the Postmaster-General aware that this body of amateurs forms a most enthusiastic band of technicians who may be badly needed in a future emergency, as they were in the last; ought we not, therefore, to move heaven and earth to try to provide them with facilities to enable them to carry on their work? In order to avoid wasting the time of the House in discussing technical matters, would the Postmaster-General now agree to meet a deputation on this matter, which has been under consideration for a year and a half?
I am very anxious to meet the opinion of what may be a very important section of the community, and I should welcome an opportunity of discussing it with the hon. Member.
asked the Postmaster-General when building of the new Scottish television station is to commence; and when the station is likely to begin operating.
Building has already commenced, and the B.B.C. hopes that the station will be brought into service by about the end of 1951.
In view of the expectations of the Scottish people, is it not possible for the commencement of that station to be advanced substantially from that far off date?
This is really a matter for the B.B.C. I have gone into the matter with them, and I cannot see that it is physically possible to make greater speed than that provided in the time schedule quoted.
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that in the United States of America they can build and bring into operation a new television station in three months, and have done so; and is this not, therefore, an unnecessary delay in bringing in the Scottish and other regional television stations?
There is no obligation upon me to defend the day-to-day policy of the B.B.C. in this matter. I understand, however, that in America the area covered by their stations is very much smaller than the one proposed for Scotland.
Will this station have its own studios to make its own Scottish television, or will it merely be relaying English programmes?
I should like to see that question on the Order Paper.
In view of the many functions which will have to be televised in connection with the Festival of Britain, does the right hon. Gentleman not think that some steps should be taken to try to advance the date to include that period when the Festival of Britain is operating all over Scotland as well as in London?
I will certainly convey the sentiments of the House to the B.B.C., but it is primarily their responsibility.
asked the Postmaster-General if he will make a statement regarding the provision of a television service for West Wales.
Until we have had experience of the high-power station near Cardiff it is not certain what areas of West Wales will be unable to receive the service. The question will be carefully considered in the light of that experience.
Will my right hon. Friend bear in mind that in rural areas, where we do not always have the advantages of modern entertainment, this matter is of considerable importance, and will he press on with it?
I shall look at it with sympathy.
Will the right hon. Gentleman inform the House when the transmitter near Cardiff will be brought into being?
That is another question.
asked the Postmaster-General what has been delaying the final decision concerning the actual site of the television station near Cardiff.
There have been local objections to the use of the site originally selected at St. Nicholas, Glamorgan, and the B.B.C. is at present negotiating for the use of an alternative site about a mile away.
Would the right hon. Gentleman say by whom these local objections have been made?
Yes, Sir. The objection has been made by the Cardiff Rural District Council on the grounds of amenities and of misuse of agricultural land.