HC Deb 06 February 1968 vol 758 cc219-20
14 and 18. Mr. Alison

asked the Minister of Power (1) if he will give a general direction to the National Coal Board, in the national interest, to divert further capital resources to the promotion of exports;

(2) what representations he has received from the National Coal Board about the development of South Killingholme, near Immingham, as a modern coal port.

Mr. Freeson

The National Coal Board is fully conscious of its export opportunities and the action necessary to exploit them. My right hon. Friend has recently informed the Chairman that the Board's proposed development at Immingham, which will serve both home and export markets, is acceptable on financial and fuel policy grounds.

Mr. Alison

Does the hon. Gentleman mean that the original Treasury veto on the expenditure of £7 million has been lifted? As the National Plan for Coal abolished a firm figure for coal exports, can he say what the new revised firm figure is in the light of devaluation?

Mr. Freeson

I am not sure why there is this emphasis on the word "firm" in the context of coal exports. One achieves what exports one can. If they are higher than originally estimated, one offers congratulations to the industry. The industry has reviewed its figures upwards, and it is expected that there will be a somewhat higher export figure than originally visualised.

Sir C. Osborne

As Immingham is in my constituency, may I ask whether this proposed development for coal exports has been cleared with the local authorities, in view of the fact that there are enormous developments in the district for petro-chemicals? Will one development clash with the other?

Mr. Freeson

I shall certainly pursue the query which the hon. Gentleman has raised in so far as it concerns my Department, but I have no reason to believe that the plans for this development at Immingham have not been worked out in full consultation with the local planning authority.