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Citizens Band Radio

Volume 987: debated on Thursday 3 July 1980

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the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many letters or signatures on petition he has received advocating the legislation of citizens band or open channel radio and how many in opposition.

We have received over 7,800 pieces of correspondence and 40 petitions containing some thousands of signatures. The great majority of these have been in support of the introduction of some form of new facility.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what is the estimated cost of operating a legal open channel radio service;(2) how many civil servants he now estimates will be required to administer the operation of open channel radio.

The resources required to regulate open channel would largely depend upon the size of the demand. A few additional civil servants would be necessary, and large numbers of applications could be dealt with only with the aid of data processing. Our intention would be to ensure that the costs were met by those who use the facility.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what is the present cost of enforcing the Wireless Telegraphy Acts and other legislation against the illegal possession, installation, importation or operation of 27mHz citizens band radio equipment.

The annual cost of the Post Office's investigations into complaints of interference to non-broadcasting services and into all forms of illicit installation or use of radio equipment is approximately £1 million. The costs in- curred in dealing with illicit use of 27mHz equipment are not recorded separately. No figures are available for the cost of controlling the importation of specific categories of prohibited goods.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many prosecutions have been brought and how many are pending against the use of illegal citizens band radio equipment so far in the current year; and what were the figures for the comparable period in 1979 and 1978, respectively.

From 1 January to 30 April this year (the latest period for which figures are readily available) 94 persons were prosecuted in connection with the unlicensed installation or use of citizens band radios in the 27mHz band, while a further 135 cases were pendingFigures for comparable periods in preceding years are not available, but the numbers of persons convicted of these offences during 1978 and 1979 were 3 and 91 respectively.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make an estimate of the amount of fuel that can be saved, based on experience in the United States of America, by the legalisation of citizens band or open channel radio.