§ 17. Mr. Warbey
asked the Minister of Fuel and Power whether he is yet in a position to state the policy of the Government in relation to the recommendations of the Turner Committee on Mining Subsidence.
§ Mr. Geoffrey Lloyd
I have nothing to add to the reply which my hon. Friend gave the hon. Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme (Mr. Swingler) on 13th June.
§ Mr. Warbey
If the Government cannot find time for legislation during the present Session, can they at least find time to make up their minds on this subject? They have had five years in which to do so. When shall we have a statement of Government policy on this matter?
§ Mr. Bartley
Is the Minister aware that the recommendations referring to agricultural land do not appear to require legislation? Will he take action as Minister by direction to the National Coal Board to implement those recommendations?
§ Mr. Geoffrey Lloyd
Damage is caused through subsidence in most coal-mining areas. According to statistics for 1954, which are the latest available, the number of houses damaged was just over 12,000.
§ Mr. Holt
People living in these houses would greatly appreciate it if they could get better recompense for damage done, but does the Minister realise that they would far prefer not to have any damage done at all? Would he say what is the policy of the Coal Board in new developments in pits—whether the fact that damage may take place extensively to property is taken into consideration before development?
§ Colonel Gomme-Duncan
Will my right hon. Friend bear in mind that the disastrous policy of opencast coalmining will add to this subsidence on a colossal scale in years to come?
Mr. J. T. Price
Is the Minister also aware that, in addition to the damage to houses and other forms of property, the local authorities responsible in the mining areas have to meet an ever-increasing bill for damaged public services, sewers, mains and all kinds of things underground, which is a burden on the local rates that they ought not to be carrying at all?
§ Mr. P. Noel-Baker
Will the Minister again take into consideration what my hon. Friend has said and at least make an inquiry into how much it would cost the Exchequer to bear the cost, on national funds, of putting right damage caused by subsidence?