HC Deb 11 June 1951 vol 488 cc1646-7
17. Miss Ward

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power on what date the new power stations to serve the North-East coast are scheduled to come into operation.

Mr. P. Noel-Baker

The present maximum output capacity of the power stations in the North-Eastern Division is 600 megawatts. The British Electricity Authority plan to increase this by 195 megawatts before the end of 1952, mainly by additions to the North Tees station, In 1953 a further addition of 60 megawatts is planned, and by the end of 1954 the two new stations at Stella on Tyne should have 180 megawatts in operation. Thus the capacity of the Division should be increased by 62 per cent. during the next three and a half years. The two Stella stations will have a further 360 megawatts installed, but it is not yet possible to say how soon.

Miss Ward

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that last week the power cuts put the North Shields fish quay into chaos with a resulting loss of good food and finance? Is he also aware that one of his officials said last week that the difficulties had been overcome, and can he say why we have to wait so long for these new power stations to come into operation?

Mr. Noel-Baker

Because it takes considerable time to complete a power station. I think this expansion of 62 per cent., which I have described, over the next three-and-a-half years is remarkably rapid—I think the most rapid of any region in the country.

Sir H. Williams

The right hon. Gentleman is always referring to megawatts. Can he tell us the difference between megawatts and kilowatts?

Mr. Noel-Baker

A megawatt is a thousand kilowatts.

Mr. S. Silverman

Is my right hon. Friend aware that whatever the difficulties caused to the North-East by the delays in the building of these power stations, most people, I suppose, living in the North-East would prefer to have more work to do than there is power supplied than the position of the old days when nobody needed the power at all?

Mr. Noel-Baker

I think that is one of the major causes of the difficulty in the North-East. Before the war there was such a large amount of unemployment that the demand was very much less.

Miss Ward

But there was no chaos on the fish quay.