§ 24. Mr. HARDIE
asked the President of the Board of Education whether any process of coal treatment developed to the point of commercial application at the experimental station is offered with full details of the process to anyone who cares to adopt such a process; and whether any charge is made for the details if so supplied?
Duchess of ATHOLL
No entirely new process of coal treatment has been developed at the Fuel Research Station to the point of commercial application. The general policy (subject to considerations of public interest) is to place the results of Government research at the disposal of all responsible persons or firms in this country engaged in the industry or industries concerned. The method of attaining this end including the question of charge may vary in different cases but in the case of many improvements to processes of coal treatment now worked on the large scale by gas undertakings in this country which have been suggested as the result of work at the Fuel Research Station, the results have been made generally available without charge. The hon. Member is, no doubt, aware that the general object of most fuel research as well as other research undertaken by the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research, is not so much to develop commercial processes as to provide fundamental data on which commercial processes can be developed by private enterprise.
§ Mr. HARDIE
Does the Noble Lady deny that data obtained by investigation in that Department is not of commercial value. This is rather an important question in view of the statement made by the Noble Lady when the subject of fuel research was discussed recently. [HON. MEMBERS: "Speech!"] I want to ask how the statement of the Noble Lady can be made to coincide with the statement she made the other day Will she answer the question whether data obtained by investigation in the Department for which she is answering to-day becomes of commercial value outside?
§ Mr. SPEAKER
In a highly technical matter like this, I think it is only fair that notice should be given of the question.