HC Deb 16 February 1953 vol 511 cc862-3
18. Mr. P. Roberts

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power to use his powers under Section 3 of the Coal industry Nationalisation Act, 1946, to direct the National Coal Board to step up opencast coal working on suitable sites in order to increase the amount of coal available for export in 1953.

Mr. Geoffrey Lloyd

Opencast production has been good recently and the National Coal Board are doing their best to keep it so.

Mr. Roberts

Is my right hon. Friend aware that any extra coal which we can get for export this year will be vitally necessary in our financial difficulties?

Mr. Lloyd

Yes, Sir. I entirely agree.

Mr. J. T. Price

Is the Minister aware that, because of the costly nature of the machinery required for opencast mining, there appears to be a strong tendency on the part of the operators to work this machinery seven days a week, and that in certain districts in my constituency opencast mining is being carried out to the utter disregard of the peace and comfort of the people living there?

Mr. Lloyd

If the hon. Gentleman will send me particulars I should like to make inquiries.

Colonel Gomme-Duncan

Would my right hon. Friend say what is the equivalent loss in food production as a result of this opencast coal mining?

Mr. Lloyd

No, Sir, but there can be no doubt that in this case the value of the coal produced is much the greater of the two.

Mr. D. Griffiths

I appreciate the Minister's difficulties, and all power to his elbow in getting sufficient opencast coal—and more, if he can; but may I appeal to him that, if it is at all possible, although the seam in Wentworth Woodhouse is a very important seam, he will provide safeguards for the preservation of the Lady Mabel Training College in that area?

Mr. Lloyd

I will examine that.

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