HC Deb 27 March 1934 vol 287 cc1792-3

asked the Secretary for Mines whether he is aware that the owners have given notice to terminate the engagement of about 700 men employed in the Pretoria Pit, Westhoughton; that owing to water trouble hundreds of men employed at Stotts Pit, Westhoughton, have also received notice; and what steps his Department is taking, not only in connection with safety, but also with a view to the establishment of a co-operative pumping scheme in the mining area in and around Westhoughton?


I am aware that men employed at the Pretoria Pit, Westhoughton, have received notice, but I am informed that this is due to economic causes and not to any difficulties in regard to water. I am also aware that the workings in the two lower seams at Stotts Pit have been abandoned owing to threatened danger from water, but it is hoped that it may prove possible to re-employ some of the men affected by developing a seam at a higher level. His Majesty's inspectors have given, and will continue to give, unremitting attention to the safety aspect of the question, and I am satisfied that there is now no immediate danger. With regard to the establishment of a co-operative pumping scheme, I am afraid that I cannot add anything to the reply which I gave to the hon. Member on 19th December last.


Could the hon. Gentleman not have a survey made of this district, because of the possible danger of flooding of the mines in the neighbourhood? Is he aware that in my constituency of Leigh the mines are at a lower depth than these mines and that there is a danger of them being flooded unless there is some control?


There is no trouble about ascertaining the facts. The facts are well known, and the details, but the trouble is as to the powers to deal with them.


Will the hon. Gentleman be good enough to look into this question again, in view of the fact that the whole of this area is liable to be flooded; is he aware that merely because there is a conflict between several colliery companies there is a danger of the district becoming derelict; and will he seek powers to do something in the matter?


I have discussed this question with the hon. Member and with other hon. Members at length, and I shall be very glad, in view of the new circumstances, to re-discuss it with them at any time.


Will it not be possible for the Secretary for Mines to call on the owners of the district to get together with a view to co-operation?

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