HC Deb 20 April 1866 vol 182 cc1768-9

said, he would beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, Whether the attention of the Government has been directed to the rapid exhaustion of our Coal-fields; whether they are in possession of accurate information upon the subject which they are prepared to lay upon the table of the House; and, if not, whether they are prepared to direct that further scientific research be made into this vitally important question?


Sir, the attention of the Government, in common with most other persons, has been directed to the alleged rapid exhaustion of our coalfields, and the statements made with regard to the probable time of their duration. But the Government is not in possession of any accurate information on the subject. I am not aware that any person is in possession of information which may be called certain and accurate, but the Geological Survey Department has furnished a good deal of information on the subject, and upon this information I believe some of the statements which have been made are founded. The Government are not at present aware that any advantage would be derived from instituting an inquiry independent of the Geological Survey Department.