HC Deb 24 May 1927 vol 206 cc1813-5
23. Mr. RITSON

asked the Secretary for Mines what steps are usually taken by his Department to ensure that the borings prescribed by Section 68 of The Coal Mines Act, 1911, in the case of mines working in the neighbourhood of old and disused workings are duly carried out?

Colonel LANE FOX

The responsibility for taking these and other necessary steps to avoid danger from old workings rests on the management of each mine, which alone has full knowledge of the conditions and locality. The Mines Inspectors do not necessarily know, in every case, that any question of such danger arises, but, whenever they do know or have reason to suspect it, they invariably intervene if they find, on investigation, that there is danger and that it is not being effectively guarded against.


Are we to take it that the mine managers are entirely responsible for the lives of the workers in the pits?

Colonel LANE FOX

Yes, subject to direction by the inspectors.


If the inspectors are not aware of the dangers in their given districts, is the Mines Department made aware that there are dangers?

Colonel LANE FOX

Yes, when there are dangers, and the inspectors are aware of them, we are told about them, but we cannot possibly be told about them till the inspectors are aware of them.

24. Mr. SUTTON

asked the Secretary for Mines whether a complete set of plans dealing with old and disused workings throughout the country is deposited at the Department of Mines in accordance with Section 68 of The Coal Mines Act, 1911; and, if not, what steps he proposes to take to obtain such complete set?

Colonel LANE FOX

The Mines Department holds a collection of over 12,000 plans of disused mine workings but this is by no means complete since it was only in 1872, when mining had already a long history, that the deposit of plans became compulsory. In July, 1925, I made a very wide appeal to all connected with the mining industry to assist me in collecting exhaustive information about old workings of whatever date and, as a result of this and of inquiries made in every mining district by my representatives, a great many more plans are now available for inspection at the Mines Department and elsewhere in the interests of safety and more, I hope, are yet to come. A catalogue of the information is being prepared and will be published as soon as possible, but an enormous amount of work is involved. Meantime all the information which has been obtained is available for reference at the Mines Department.


Will the right hon. Gentleman consult the mine managers of the country and ask them to hurry up with these plans, so that they can be deposited in the Mines Department?

Colonel LANE FOX

Yes, I am still doing it. We are getting on with the work, and there is an enormous amount of work involved, but I can assure the hon. Member that there is no possible avoidable delay.


Has the right hon. Gentleman received any refusals to comply with his request from any of the managers?

Colonel LANE FOX

Not that I am aware of.

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