22. Miss Ward
asked the Minister of Fuel and Power how many applications to date he has received for compensation resulting from damage caused by opencast coal operations; and how many have been met in full.
§ The Minister of Fuel and Power (Mr. Geoffrey Lloyd)
These claims are settled by the Ministry of Works, and I understand that 12,993 were received up to 31st May, 1952. They are generally settled by agreement and it is not possible to say how many have been met in full.
As I do not find that answer entirely satisfactory, may I ask my right hon. Friend, for the protection of the people concerned, whether he would make inquiries to see how many people's claims have been met in full, because it would not be very difficult to find the figure? I am suspicious of what is going on about this matter.
26. Miss Ward
asked the Minister of Fuel and Power why the rehabilitation of the opencast coal sites in Monk Seaton have been held up contrary to the assurances given that this land would be restored without delay.
§ Mr. Geoffrey Lloyd
I am informed by the National Coal Board that the work of restoration is now proceeding normally.
Will my right hon. Friend bear in mind that when I raised this question before there was great activity on this coal site, and that when the public interest had been satisfied the work ceased? Will he give me an assurance that it will not cease again until that site is rehabilitated?
§ Mr. Lloyd
I am aware that the people living near this site have had a good deal to complain of, but my information is that the time when they had most to complain of was last summer, and that efforts were made in the autumn to restore the land. I will make inquiries, because I would not like people who have suffered so much in the past to be suffering again.
§ Mr. T. Brown
Is the Minister aware that most of us are delighted that now that his Department have taken over full control of opencast mining operations we shall get a fairer deal than we have had hitherto, but is he not aware that there is a lack of co-ordination and co-operation between the county agricultural executive committee and the Ministry of Fuel and Power? Will he see that there is better co-ordination and co-operation so that the grievances of these people, which have existed for many months, will be rectified?
§ Colonel Gomme-Duncan
Will the Minister not go into the question of the disastrous wrecking of agricultural land by opencast coal mining?
Is my right hon. Friend aware that the local authority had reason to complain recently to the National Coal Board about the hold-up, and that the local authority as well as myself, and other people concerned, will be very glad indeed to have this fresh assurance on the matter?