HC Deb 21 April 1958 vol 586 cc604-5
27. Mr. A. Roberts

asked the Paymaster-General if he will give a general direction to the National Coal Board substantially to increase its production of briquettes.

Mr. Maudling

No, Sir. The Board informs me that it is already making as many briquettes of the traditional kind as can be sold, and it is pressing forward with the development of superior types.

Mr. Roberts

Would it not be possible for the railway industry to consume more traditional briquettes? I understand that a very large number of the traditional type of briquettes are consumed in Canada. Could not this policy be followed in the United Kingdom?

Mr. Maudling

The railways are being very helpful about this. Their consumption has been rising; it went up from 670,000 tons in 1956 to 836,000 tons last year, and it is at present running at the rate of 1¼ million tons a year. I think that is a most helpful contribution. As to possible demand in Canada, I will convey that question to the Board.

Mr. J. Griffiths

Is the Board taking steps, in view of the clean air campaign and smokeless zones, to produce smokeless briquettes, particularly from anthracite?

Mr. Maudling

Yes, it is doing a very extensive amount of research and development work on various types of briquettes.