Local TV channels ahead - but just for 12 areas

A PANEL set up to examine government plans for local television channels has indicated that the new channels might only be broadcast in a dozen areas to start with.

The review chaired by investment banker Nicholas Shott said it would take "significant effort" to make the plan, backed by Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt, a success.

The report which was published yesterday said the channels "may initially be focused in and around ten to 12 conurbations" and provide "at least two hours of reasonably low cost but high quality content a day".

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Mr Hunt said: "I am incredibly grateful for the energy and rigour that Nicholas Shott and his steering group have put into the local TV review.

"I am considering his report carefully, which gives us a solid foundation to take forward the necessary steps to bring about local TV in the UK. I will publish a plan early in the new year setting out those steps."

Earlier this year the concept was discussed at the Edinburgh International Television Festival, when Mr Hunt claimed that the UK media was "chronically over-centralised".

He said: "It is crazy that a city like Sheffield, for example, does not have its own television station, like it would have in most other developed countries."

Shadow culture secretary Ivan Lewis said the report showed the plans to be "unrealistic and unachievable".