HC Deb 08 May 1950 vol 475 cc14-5
23. Mr. Nabarro

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power the number and the extent of the sites to be prospected for opencast coal mining in the rural districts of Kidderminster, Martley and Tenbury Wells in the county of Worcester.

Mr. P. Noel-Baker

Ten sites are to be prospected; their total area is about 970 acres. This does not mean that the whole area will, in fact, be worked for opencast coal; experience has shown that the area worked is invariably much less than the area on which preliminary prospecting is required.

Mr. Nabarro

In view of the special amenities of this district and the large amount of agricultural production from it, details of which are already well-known to the Minister, could the right hon. Gentleman initiate some urgent conversations with the other Departments concerned to determine whether or not it is desirable to continue with this prospecting?

Mr. Noel-Baker

All the Departments concerned are consulted, and the local authorities are also consulted, before any rights of entry for prospecting are taken.

Mr. George Ward

Is it not a fact that prospecting for coal in this area was undertaken several years ago, when it was decided that the coal that would be available simply was not worth taking up?

Mr. Noel-Baker

It may be that there is new evidence.

Miss Irene Ward

Are the local authorities' views accepted when they are given?

Mr. Noel-Baker

That depends on the circumstances.

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