HC Deb 06 March 1951 vol 485 cc233-5
47. Mr. Ellis Smith

asked the Lord President of the Council to what extent aeromagnetic surveying has been carried out; and with what results.

Mr. H. Morrison

No aeromagnetic survey has been carried out by Government Departments.

Mr. Ellis Smith

In view of the fact that to scientists and engineers this is now considered to be the best way of detecting new mineral resources, will my right hon. Friend consider the advisability of having aeromagnetic detection in Cornwall for tin and copper and in other counties for other metals in view of the world shortage?

Mr. Morrison

I will take notice of the Question of my hon. Friend.

48. Mr. Ellis Smith

asked the Lord President of the Council if he can give a report on the new mineral deposits and fuel recently found; the prospects of supplies of potash, salt and coal; and what action it is intended to take.

Mr. H. Morrison

The known mineral resources in this country other than coal, oil and iron were fully considered by the Mineral Development Committee which reported in July, 1945 (Cmd. 7732).

The potash deposits in north-east Yorkshire referred to in that Report are being explored and the most appropriate methods of extraction are under consideration. Salt is fully dealt with in the Report referred to which states that ample workable reserves exist for all reasonable and foreseeable needs. Recent work confirms the preliminary indications in the Report that large reserves of salt exist in north-east Yorkshire. Coal is a matter for the National Coal Board, who have announced proposals for a big development programme, described in Plan for Coal—October, 1950, and have completed a number of borings. Further borings are in progress and contemplated.

Colonel Gomme-Duncan

In view of the importance of the answer which the right hon. Gentleman has given to the House, will he assure us that the Government, or whichever body is concerned with producing these metals, will keep in mind the everlasting destruction of farm land, the area of which is getting smaller and smaller and will never get any bigger.

Mr. Snow

Will my right hon. Friend satisfy himself that there is proper coordination between the scientific advisers to, and the scientists working for, the National Coal Board?

Mr. Morrison

We do everything we can in that way.

Mr. Drayson

The Lord President mentioned deposits of potash in north-east Yorkshire which were reported on in 1945. Does he not think that six years is rather a long time to consider the best methods of developing this potash?

Mr. Morrison

It may be some comfort to the hon. Member for Skipton (Mr. Drayson) to know that this is not a matter of State enterprise, but of private enterprise. Perhaps the hon. Member will communicate with the company concerned.