HC Deb 20 April 1953 vol 514 cc621-2
10. Mr. H. White

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power if he is aware of the resentment caused by the proposed requisition of land for opencast operations in the Amber Valley, Derbyshire, which is well known for its beauty; how many protests he has received from local authorities and organisations; and if he will give an assurance that he will not requisition this land, in view of the fact that other available sites are producing the stocks he requires.

22. Mr. Oliver

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power whether, having regard to the widespread opposition to the intended prospecting for opencast coal in the Derbyshire beauty spot, the Amber Valley, and of the existing large stocks of opencast coal for which there is little demand, he will now consider discontinuing further activities in this regard, particularly in places of historic interest or of great natural beauty.

Mr. Geoffrey Lloyd

A proposal from the National Coal Board for the working of about 60,000 tons of coal in the Amber Valley has recently been received and forwarded to the other Government Departments and authorities concerned. Until I have their views I shall not be in a position to consider whether working would be justified.

The coal supply position is such that it is imperative to maintain opencast production at as high a level as possible, and production is now being threatened by lack of sufficient sites to replace those worked out.

Mr. White

Is the Minister aware that the class of coal he will get from this particular area will be of such low value as to be hardly worth working?

Mr. Lloyd

It is a class of coal which can be used in industry and also in electric power stations. It has been most valuable to us during the past winter.

Mr. Oliver

Is the Minister aware that not only the quality but the quantity of coal which he is likely to get from this site is infinitesimal in the sum total of opencast coal produced? Does he not agree that he has a very large stock of opencast coal at the moment, for which there is no great demand?

Mr. Lloyd

I am very glad that we have had that stock. We have drawn on it considerably during the winter and we may do so again during the coming 12 months.

Mr. Oliver

Are we not now holding the largest stock of opencast coal ever held in this country?

Mr. Lloyd

It has been reduced by three quarters of a million tons during the winter.

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