HC Deb 22 June 1959 vol 607 cc861-2
55. Mr. D. Griffiths

asked the Paymaster-General what consultations he has had with local authorities regarding early declaration of clean air zones to the National Coal Board, and the need for them to estimate the amount of smokeless fuel required.

Mr. Maudling

At an early stage in each smoke control area proposal, the local authority's estimates of additional requirements of smokeless fuels are referred to regional advisory committees, which meet under the chairmanship of the senior regional officers of the Ministry of Power, to advise on the supply possibilities. The National Coal Board is represented on these committees.

Mr. Griffiths

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that there are various domestic complications arising from this problem? I think he will agree that the minutest inquiries and consultations should take place as there are many difficulties here. I feel convinced that many local authorities think of making smokeless zones regardless of the domestic difficulties. Is it not an accepted fact that, from whatever channel it may be decided to extract smokeless fuel, we cannot get sufficient supplies to comply with the Regulations?

Mr. Maudling

If the hon. Member has any occasion in mind where the supply has been deficient, I shall be glad to have the details.

Mr. Mason

How many clean air zones have been established? Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that when a local authority declares a clean air zone many people in the zone think that coal is a banned fuel and publicity is lacking in this matter? First, there should be earlier consultation; secondly, the local authority ought to give the Coal Board plenty of notice of intention to declare a zone; and, thirdlly, people in the zone should be conversant with the fact that coal can be used as a smokeless fuel.

Mr. Maudling

There is a great deal in that as a statement of objective. We are doing what we can with local authorities to increase publicity on the matter.

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