HC Deb 01 December 1942 vol 385 cc1010-2
77. Mr. A. Edwards

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Works and Planning what saving of coal is expected from the new slag cement plant at present being erected in South Wales; and whether it is his intention to convert other cement plants to the production of slag cement?

The Joint Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Works and Planning (Mr. Hicks)

A saving of approximately 7,500 tions of coal per annum may be expected when the slag cement manufacturing plant now being installed in South Wales is in full operation. This will involve a net additional transport of about half a million ton miles (at least) a year. The extension to other works is not at present practicable particularly owing to the transport problem which would be very much heavier than in South Wales.

Mr. Edwards

Is the Minister prepared to say that, in view of the immense saving at this one factory, he will see that the cement combine do not continue to put obstacles in the way of other people who wish to develop this particular method?

Mr. Hicks

The hon. Gentleman asked a Question about output and the saving of coal. I have given him not only the approximate output and the saving of coal which is expected when the factory is in operation about February of next year, but the additional transport which will have to be employed for the purpose of conveying the slag to the works.

Mr. Edwards

Is not the Minister aware that the cement combine have put, and continue to put, obstacles in the way of other people who wish to develop this system in other parts of the country, and if it will save 7,500 tons of coal at a single factory, ought it not to be developed?

Mr. Hicks

This point is not lost sight of in considering this matter, and I am unaware that any representations which the industry has made have been responsible for retarding development in this connection. I can only assure the hon. Member that transport from other slag works to cement works would involve much longer distances than the one I have mentioned.

Mr. Thorne

Will this interfere with the slag industry in Kent?

Mr. Hicks

No, Sir.

Mr. A. Bevan

Will the Minister consider certain evidence I will put before him about the opposition of the cement combine to the development of this process?

Mr. Hicks

I am quite willing to consider any evidence.