§ 7. Dr. Stross
asked the Minister of Fuel and Power how many fires in coalmines have been traced to the use of conveyor belts in the separate years 1940 to 1948.
§ Mr. P. Noel-Baker
During the years 1940 to 1948, 70 underground fires occurred in coal mines as a result of the use of conveyor belts; 56 of them were detected and extinguished before they became serious; 11 occurred during a weekend or holiday period when no one was at work nearby; in only three of them was the safety of men endangered. With my hon. Friend's permission, I will circulate the separate figures for each year in the OFFICIAL REPORT.
§ Dr. Stross
Can my right hon. Friend say what progress is being made both on research and in the provision of conveyor belts which are not subject to friction of this kind and are not, therefore, likely to cause fires? Will alternative escape routes be provided in the new pits?
§ Mr. Speaker
The Question asked about the number of fires.
Following are the figures:1940, 4; 1941, 1; 1942, 4; 1943, 6; 1944, 14; 1945, 10; 1946, 8; 1947, 8; 1948, 15; total, 70.