HC Deb 03 December 1962 vol 668 cc929-30
43. Mr. Hocking

asked the Minister of Power whether he is aware of the dissatisfaction amongst those who have to burn gas coke as a result of the shortage of other approved fuels in smokeless zones and what action he proposes to take to increase the supply of smokeless fuels, excluding gas coke, in the Coventry area.

Mr. Wood

My hon. Friend has discussed this problem with my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Secretary. I am not aware of any general dissatisfaction with the Gloco open fire coke which is sold in the Coventry area, but I know that the West Midlands Gas Board is ready to examine complaints and help consumers over any initial difficulties in burning it. A substantial increase in the production of Coalite and Rexco is planned and the National Coal Board hopes to be producing smokeless briquettes near Coventry on a commercial scale by early in 1964.

Mr. Hocking

Does my right hon. Friend realise that many people in Coventry are out at work all day and that gas coke is not a satisfactory fuel to leave to burn on an open fire without constant attention? Does he know that constituents have written to me—I have passed their letters on to his Ministry—saying that it costs them as much as 1s. each time they have to relight their fires? Before any agreement for further extention of smokeless zones is reached, will he ensure that there is a proper supply of smokeless fuel for people to use in their grates?

Mr. Wood

I know of the interest which my hon. Friend has taken in this subject, and I assure him that I shall have any complaints which he sends to me or to my hon. Friend investigated. I assure him also that the Gas Board is anxious to investigate and try to help in any complaints there may be, but the Board is quite clear that in suitable grates Gloco open fire coke can give perfectly satisfactory results.

Mr. John Hall

Is my right hon. Friend aware that Coventry is not the only place where there is a shortage of smokeless fuels? I have drawn to his attention on previous occasion the fact that there is an acute shortage in High Wycombe. If he has any doubt about this, will he look at the correspondence columns in the Bucks Free Press during the past week to see the number of complaints made there?

Mr. Wood

All my hon. Friend says may be true, but there is no shortage of smokeless fuel in Coventry. The Question is not about shortage but about difficulties which consumers have. However, I will look again at any complaints which my hon. Friend has about shortages in his area.

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