HC Deb 04 December 1922 vol 159 cc1174-6
32. Mr. CAPE

asked the Secretary for Mines if he is aware that there have been several colliery explosions in the Cumberland coalfields during recent years, and that the loss of life has been considerable through those explosions; and will he take steps to appoint a Committee to investigate and report on the causes of such explosions, with a view? of legislation being brought forward to prevent repetition of similar occurrences?

Lieut.-Colonel LANE-FOX

The facts, are, unfortunately, as stated in the question. As the hon. Member is aware, the study of the causes and methods of prevention of explosions in coal mines is among the most important of the duties of my Department, and has long engaged its constant attention. A stringent code of precautionary Regulations is in force, and is periodically revised in the light of experience and research. Every explosion is the subject of careful investigation; and, while I will certainly consider the hon. Member's suggestion, I doubt whether a further general inquiry into recent explosions in the Cumberland coalfield would add anything to our knowledge.


What action is taken by the Department when the Mining Regulations are broken, and men are allowed to work among gas?

Lieut.-Colonel LANE-FOX

That is constantly a matter of investigation and inquiry, and where any allegation of that kind is proved, there are ample powers.


Are people who are found to be responsible punished?

Lieut.-Colonel LANE-FOX

Yes, Sir, constantly.

33. Mr. CAPE

asked the Secretary for Mines if he is aware that His Majesty's Chief Inspector of Mines has not yet given his Report on the Whitehaven Haig Pit explosion inquiry; and will he take steps to see that the Report is circulated at an early date?

Lieut.-Colonel LANE-FOX

Yes, Sir. I will do everything in my power to expedite publication. The Report is now with the printers, and I hope it will be issued this month. The reproduction of the plans, which are an essential part of the Report, is a lengthy process, and it is on this account only that publication is delayed.

Lieut.-Colonel WATTS-MORGAN

Will the right hon. Gentleman say whether there are to be any proceedings taken in Whitehaven as a result of the disaster?

Lieut.-Colonel LANE-FOX

I think I must have notice of that question.