§ 23. Mr. Loughlin
asked the Minister of Power what steps are being taken to ensure that there is no danger to gas consumers in the Forest of Dean whose supply was affected by a fractured gas main consequent upon a recent accident on the River Severn; how many people are still affected by this fracture; and if he will make a statement.
§ The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Power (Mr. J. C. George)
Over 6,000 consumers were suddenly deprived of gas by the accident on 25th October. The South Western Gas Board arranged for emergency supplies of bottled gas, and the loan of appliances to burn it, in schools and hospitals within 48 hours and in over 3,000 other premises within nine days. Special bridging arrangements and the purging of affected mains enabled town gas supplies to be restored on 8th November and extended without accident by 12th November to all consumers affected.
I think that the South Western Gas Board is to be congratulated on the speed with which it has acted to alleviate hardship, restore supplies and avert potential danger, following a quite unforeseeable emergency.
§ Mr. Loughlin
Is the hon. Gentleman aware that we in the Forest of Dean are very conscious of the debt which we owe to the South West Gas Board for the way it dealt with this situation? Is he aware that the board dealt with it almost as a war-time emergency and did a wonderful job of work and all that possibly could be done in the circumstances? Will he convey to the officials of the board the appreciation of my constituents for the way they handled this situation?
§ Mr. George
I appreciate the hon. Member's remarks and I will see that they are conveyed to the board.