§ MR. MARKHAM
I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he has any information that all His Majesty's inspectors of mines have o practical knowledge of the application of electricity, and whether electricity was a subject of examination when they obtained their certificates; and whether, seeing that the application of highly technical rules recommended by the Electricity in Mines Departmental Committee is proposed to be left with the inspectors of mines, most of whom have had no experience in electrical work, will he say if any evidence whatever was taken by this Departmental Committee on this point, and how the Committee arrived at this decision; further, that some of the chief inspectors of districts, owing to their many onerous duties, are unable to inspect the underground workings of some of the collieries in their respective districts more than once in ten years.
* THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR THE HOME DEPARTMENT (Mr. AKERSDOUGLAS,) Kent, St. Augustine's
Candidates for the post of inspector of mines are required to have a theoretical and practical acquaintance with coal mines and mining—but electricity has not hitherto been specially mentioned as a subject of examination. I am prepared to consider whether this subject should not be added to the syllabus of examination for any future vacancy. As regards the recommendation of the Committee, I am not aware that they took, or that it was necessary for them to take, any special evidence on the point; as representing all the interests involved, owners, men, inspectors and the electrical profession, they were fully competent to come to a decision themselves. I can only add, as I have already said, that I shall be prepared, if necessary, to consider the question of giving the inspectors the assistance of expert advice. As regards the last part of the Question, I know no case of a mine remaining unvisited by 36 the inspector in charge of the district for a period of ten years.
§ MR. MARKHAM
The right hon. Gentleman will see my Question referred to the chief inspectors. I will forward him some cases.
§ MR. FENWICK (Northumberland, Wansbeck)
May I ask whether the Special Rules recommended by the Departmental Committee have been approved by the right hon. Gentleman, or what progress has been made with a view to their adoption?
§ * MR. AKERS-DOUGLAS
This is an important point, and I should like the hon. Member to put the Question down.