HC Deb 17 June 1969 vol 785 cc246-7
19. Mr. Probert

asked the Minister of Power what was the total demand for smokeless fuels last winter; and how this compares with demand in the previous winter.

Mr. Freeson

Domestic demand was up a little at 4¾ million tons.

Mr. Probert

In view of the continuing decline of gas coke production, are there any plans for increased production of other smokeless fuels?

Mr. Freeson

Yes. Last winter the N.C.B. and private producers stepped up sales by 0.6 million tons and both sectors have major expansion programmes ahead.

Mr. Patrick McNair-Wilson

The Minister will be aware that there is grave concern about shortages both for the domestic market and for the steel industry. Can he give an assurance that there will be no crisis as a result of the shortages of coke in the coming twelve months?

Mr. Freeson

The Question relates to something more than just coke. There is a wide range of smokeless fuels available. I am confident that the gap left by the phasing out of gas coke will be filled adequately, although there are bound to be from time to time local shortages which will have to be made up by alternative fuels.

Sir J. Eden

The Parliamentary Secretary should not be too complacent about the coke situation. Are there not indications that there might well be later this year grave shortages of metallurgical coke?

Mr. Freeson

The Question relates to smokeless fuels. I have answered that Question and have not concerned myself with a question which did not arise on industrial fuels.