HC Deb 11 March 1957 vol 566 cc771-2
1. Mr. Ellis Smith

asked the Paymaster-General if he will give a general direction to area gas boards to make available adequate supplies of Phimax to be available at the same price as coal, giving priority for supplies to the industrial areas which suffer from air pollution.

The Paymaster-General (Mr. Reginald Maudling)

No, Sir. Smokeless fuels such as Phimax cost more to produce than ordinary house coal and supplies of them are at present severely restricted by the shortage of suitable coal and manufacturing plant.

Mr. Ellis Smith

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that people who consume this new smokeless fuel are most satisfied with it, except for the price, which is giving concern? Will he take steps to do something about it?

Mr. Maudling

I think that the North-Western Gas Board has shown great enterprise in producing the fuel, and I am sure that it will try to bring down the cost as soon as it can.

2. Mr. Ellis Smith

asked the Paymaster-General if he will make a statement on the prospects of adequate supplies of smokeless fuel, including Phimax, for the whole country; what are the prospects of adequate supplies of smokeless fuel equivalent to slack or small coal at a similar price; and when adequate supplies will be available.

28. Mr. Moyle

asked the Paymaster-General if he is aware that adequate supplies of solid smokeless fuel are not available in sufficient quantities to enable local authorities to implement the provisions of the Clean Air Act, 1956; and what action he is taking to ensure supplies with the minimum of delay.

Mr. Maudling

Supplies of smokeless fuels are sufficient in total to meet demand at the present time and are likely to remain so in the immediate future. If the hon. Member for Oldbury and Halesowen (Mr. Moyle) has in mind any particular difficulties, perhaps he will let me know. A number of experiments with the production of new types of smokeless fuel are going on, but it is too early yet to say whether any will be developed that compares with slack or small coal in price and burning quality.

Mr. Ellis Smith

Is the right hon. Gentleman satisfied that satisfactory arrangements have been made so that when the new legislation is implemented there will be sufficient smokeless fuel available to those who require it?

Mr. Maudling

So far as we can see, there is no reason to suppose that any proposal put forward by local authorities for smokeless zones should be turned down on fuel supply grounds.

Sir J. Crowder

Is my right hon. Friend aware that Phurnacite, which is a smokeless fuel used in Aga cookers, is now over £12 a ton in London? May we hope that there will be a reduction some day?

Mr. Maudling

I think that any reduction in price of these fuels will depend on improved manufacturing methods, and a good deal of work is being put into the possibility of doing that.

Mr. McGovern

Does the Minister realise that, while there is a great appreciation of smokeless fuel, very little can be had in the Glasgow area?

Mr. Maudling

The supply of these latest fuels is restricted in most areas, but considerable efforts are being made to try to expand production and, if possible, to reduce prices.

Back to