HC Deb 01 February 1960 vol 616 cc619-20
24. Mr. Iremonger

asked the Minister of Power if he will make a statement on the availability of the various types of smokeless fuels; and if he will give particular and up-to-date figures concerning the North Thames Gas Board, on the basis of figures supplied to him for the Ministry of Power Statistical Digest, Table 90.

Mr. George

Coke supplies are abundant. Supplies of other manufactured fuels are generally better than last year, though there are still unsatisfied demands for some. Anthracite supplies to the inland market should be increased this year, though not enough to meet all demands for the top qualities. The North Thames Gas Board made 1,329,000 tons of coke for sale in 1959; stocks at the end of the year were 630,000 tons.

Mr. Iremonger

I thank my hon. Friend for that very detailed reply. Would it be fair to say that borough councils in this area need not feel inhibited in any way in declaring fresh smokeless zones because of their anxiety about the availability of fuel?

Mr. George

Up to the moment, it has not been necessary to turn down any request for the declaration of a smokeless zone.

Mr. Lee

Will the hon. Gentleman give as much publicity as possible to the fact that the creation of a smokeless zone does not mean that coal cannot be burned in that area? Will he point out that the amount of smokeless fuel now available is quite extensive and that, if the public demand it, the Coal Board can produce far and away more than is now produced?

Mr. George

I think that that is the position. There are some shortages at the moment, but plans are in hand to increase the supply.

Mr. Stonehouse

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that the reply he has given is not entirely satisfactory, since coke is not entirely suitable for use for certain types of fires in smokeless zones? Will he investigate other types of smokeless fuels, and when will he make a statement about them?

Mr. George

The hon. Member is quite correct when he refers to coke generally, but not correct when speaking of all cokes. We have premium fuels such as "Cleanglow." Under the British Standard specification for coke, "Clean-glow" is being produced and a new fuel called "Gloco", which is an improved coke, is being produced and purchased on an ever widening scale. Some cokes not suitable for open fires are being produced for closed appliances to the British Standard specification, which should lead to a better supply in the required areas.

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