HC Deb 28 November 1955 vol 546 cc1909-10
6. Mr. Shinwell

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power if he will give a general direction to the National Coal Board that it should take steps to prevent the dumping of waste on the surface.

Mr. Joynson-Hicks

No, Sir.

Mr. Shinwell

Why? Is it not important, in the interests of safety, to stow the waste in the pit in what is called the "gob"? Is not that done in many other coal-producing countries, especially Germany? That is quite apart from the unsightly appearance caused by these dumps all over the place. Are we to understand that the Minister is not going to do anything about it?

Mr. Joynson-Hicks

Circumstances in Germany are very different from those in this country. Provision with regard to the control of these heaps has, by Parliament, been laid upon local planning authorities who can make an order subject to the Minister of Housing and Local Government.

Dame Irene Ward

Will my hon. Friend ask the National Coal Board to prevent the dumping of waste on the consumer? May I have an answer?

Mr. T. Brown

Is the Parliamentary Secretary not aware that it has always been considered by miners that, from a practical point of view, it would be much better if the stuff now being raised to the surface were packed or gobbed underground? Is he not aware that if that were done it would minimise the amount of damage caused by mining subsidence in mining areas? Is he further aware that in many places the National Coal Board is creating these unsightly pit heaps when the stuff could be put into what we call washes, near the pits?

Mr. Joynson-Hicks

I quite agree with the first part of that supplementary question, but that can be achieved only by power stowing. That is on the increase in mines, and is being encouraged wherever possible. With regard to the second part of the supplementary question, it is very often a matter of practical and geological impossibility.

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