HC Deb 01 May 1950 vol 474 cc1397-8
30. Dr. Barnett Stross

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power in how many coal mines in North Staffordshire is dust suppression by water spray and seam infusion in use; and what is the number of coal mines in which it is proposed to use this method of dust suppression ultimately

Mr. P. Noel-Baker

There are 20 large coal mines in North Staffordshire operated by the National Coal Board. In 15 of them, dust suppression by water sprays is in use. In the other five large mines, and in the smaller licensed mines, the evidence so far obtained seems to show that dust suppression measures are not required. Water infusion of the coal seams has not been used in North Staffordshire at all.

31. Dr. Stross

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power what use has been made of chemical detergents in the suppression of dust in coal mines; and how far they have been proved to be of value.

Mr. P. Noel-Baker

The use of chemical detergents as wetting agents in the suppression of dust is under experimental trial at many coal mines. They are giving promising results, particularly in the consolidation of deposits of dry dust on mine roadways and in mines where the underground conditions make it desirable to use as little water as possible. The National Coal Board and His Majesty's Inspectors of Mines continue to give close attention to the matter.

Dr. Stross

Is my right hon. Friend aware that a reduction in the over-all humidity in coal mines for the men at work would be very welcome and very beneficial; and, on the general question, is he satisfied that the process of using water infusion is beneficial to the men's health?

Mr. Noel-Baker

In some places it has helped very much indeed, particularly in the Cumberland coalfield.