HC Deb 22 November 1938 vol 341 cc1503-4
2. Mr. T. Smith

asked the Secretary for Mines whether he intends to take any action with regard to the recommendations made by the Departmental Committee on the compulsory use of automatic gas detectors underground?

Captain Crookshank

Yes, Sir. I had decided in May last to give effect to the recommendations regarding automatic firedamp detectors made by the majority of the Committee on the Firedamp Detector Regulations. Before action had been taken the explosion occurred at Markham Colliery, where automatic detectors were extensively used, and I decided to defer action until the report on the explosion had become available. From the Commissioner's report, which has now been published, it is apparent that the fact that automatic detectors were in use at this colliery had no bearing upon the occurrence of the explosion. Draft regulations requiring, among other things, the compulsory use of automatic detectors in certain circumstances will be formally issued to the industry in the course of the next two weeks.

Mr. Smith

Can the Minister say when the regulations are likely to come into operation?

Captain Crookshank

No, Sir. The draft regulations have to be published, and then, of course, there is an opportunity for people to make objections. One has to await them; there is a period laid down.

Mr. George Griffiths

What are the "certain circumstances" of which the Minister speaks?

Captain Crookshank

I think the hon. Member had better wait till the draft regulations are published.