HC Deb 31 January 1963 vol 670 cc1119-20
14. Mr. A. Roberts

asked the Minister of Power if, in view of the number of lives lost through coal gas poisoning caused by leakage from fractured gas mains, he will give a general direction to the Gas Council to consider the use of pipes made from material less likely to fracture.

Mr. Peyton

No, Sir. The Gas Council is paying great attention to the prevention of fractures in gas mains and is studying all materials which show promise of being suitable for use in distribution systems.

Mr. Roberts

Will the hon. Gentleman bear in mind that the fracture of gas pipes is caused not only by arctic weather but by mining subsidence? Does he appreciate that research is not going along quickly enough? Will he ask the Gas Council to consider making pipes with a material of greater resilience, possibly plastic?

Mr. Peyton

Let me assure the hon. Gentleman, as I have already done, that the Gas Council takes this matter very seriously and, of course, is studying it constantly. But the industry is not yet satisfied that materials such as plastic, which the hon. Gentleman specially mentioned, are the answer for gas mains. However, experiments are now going on into the use of plastics for smaller pipes —in other words, for consumer services.