I beg to ask the First Lord of the Treasury, whether, in view of the importance to this country of there being a supply of smokeless coal always available for the use of the Navy, the Government can see their way to causing an inquiry to be instituted by a committee of experts into the present extent and probable duration at the present rate of consumption of the Welsh anthracite coal measures, with a view to prevent undue depletion of the same before it is too late to avert such a national misfortune.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
I understand that a fresh survey of the Welsh coal measures is now being carried on by the Geological Survey of Great Britain. If the hon. Member asks for my own private opinion, it is that long before the coalfield approaches exhaustion we shall have learnt enough about the combustion of coal to prevent our fleets from being necessarily dependent upon it.