HC Deb 20 February 1945 vol 408 cc619-20
69 and 70. Mr. J. J. Lawson

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power (1) the amount of coal produced from the opencast working on Newcastle Town Moor; and the cost of production per ton of such coal;

(2) the total amount of coal won from the various opencast seams in the whole country; and the cost per ton of such coal produced.

Major Lloyd George

I am informed by the Ministry of Works that the total amount of coal won from the various opencast sites in the country from the commencement of operations in November, 1941, to 31st December, 1944, was 14,375,000 tons. The average cost of production at site was approximately 27s. 6d. per ton, to which should be added an extra 12s. 6d. per ton in respect of prospecting, royalties and compensation, operation of screening and loading plants and stocking grounds, transport and other charges, making a total cost of approximately 40s. per ton. The amount of coal produced at the Newcastle Town Moor site up to 31st January, 1945, was 17,116 tons, and the cost of production at site was 41s 3d.

Mr. J. Griffiths

; Is the right hon. and gallant Gentleman satisfied that that figure of 12s. 6d. is correct? Does he not think that it is very high?

Major Lloyd George

If my hon. Friend will look through my answer he will see the number of items that are covered.

Mr. J. J. Lawson

Considering the amount of land that is being destroyed—despite the promises that it will be restored for agricultural purposes—is it really worth while going on with this method?

Major Lloyd George

I cannot agree that land is destroyed for agricultural purposes. I have inspected many sites myself and have spoken to the farmers who are farming that land, and without exception they have all expressed satisfaction at the way the land is being rehabilitated. In fact one went so far as to say that the land had never been in such good heart.

Mr. Tom Brown

Does the cost of £2 per ton include the restoration of the land?

Major Lloyd George

I would like notice of that question, but I think it does. The cost of restoration is not very high, in any case.