HC Deb 23 November 1965 vol 721 cc230-1
18 and 19. Mr. Kelley

asked the Minister of Power (1) if he is satisfied that a 5-inch wall of concrete, with the present system of reinforcement, is adequate to meet the stresses of air movement, having regard to the height to which cooling towers are now being erected at conventional power stations; and if he will make a statement;

(2) if he will conduct investigations into the temperature in which concrete was laid in the erection of three cooling towers which blew down in the recent gale in Yorkshire; and if anti-freezing processes were used to ensure fusion of concrete aggregates in low temperatures.

Mr. John Morris

My right hon. Friend is not responsible for the design and methods of construction used by the Central Electricity Generating Board and its contractors in constructing power stations. However, the points raised by my hon. Friend will doubtless be engaging the attention of the Committee of Inquiry which has been set up by the Board to inquire into the collapse of cooling towers at Ferrybridge Power Station.

Mr. Kelley

I am obliged to my hon. Friend for that reply, but I should like to draw his attention to the fact that a great number of conversations are taking place—

Mr. Speaker

The hon. Member must put this in the form of a question.

Mr. Kelley

Is my hon. Friend aware that a great number of conversations are taking place in my constituency where many people are employed on this power station, that these towers were erected by private enterprise, avoiding certain safeguards which could have been taken, and as a consequence this calamity occurred? It did not lead to any fatalities, but these things can happen and we are asking the Minister to ensure that proper precautions should be taken against the placing of—

Mr. Speaker

Order. The Minister has had enough to answer.

Mr. Morris

I agree with my hon. Friend that there is great concern about this issue. The terms of reference of the Committee of Inquiry which has been set up by the Board are "to examine the collapse of the cooling towers at Ferry-bridge and to make recommendations" This is a very important matter. In addition to the Committee of Inquiry, two joint working parties are investigating the matter. It is a matter of great concern to the nation and to the Board.