HC Deb 10 November 1969 vol 791 cc6-7
7. Sir J. Eden

asked the Minister of Technology what representations he has received from consumers about possible shortages of coal or other solid fuels; and what reply he has sent.

Mr. Alan Williams

Apart from correspondence arising out of the recent strike the Department has received about 30 letters in the last three months; they dealt with solid smokeless fuels and the replies have been on the lines of the answers given to my right hon. Friend the Member for Belper (Mr. George Brown) on 22nd October and to the hon. Member for Colne Valley (Mr. Richard Wainwright) on 31st October.—[Vol. 788, c. 280–1; Vol. 790, c. 18–19.]

Sir J. Eden

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that the stocks in some cases have been run right down? What efforts are being made now to replenish over and above the usual standing, so as to take account of non-delivery of coal over the Christmas period?

Mr. Williams

There is not much danger of shortage of coal in the circumstances, but there is undeniably a certain amount of difficulty in relation to some solid fuels. There is a later Question on the Order Paper on that subject.

Mr. Leslie Huckfield

What consideration has the Ministry given to issuing a directive to local authorities to withhold the prescription of smoke control orders until they are assured of guaranteed smokeless fuel supplies?

Mr. Williams

I am not sure that that is the responsibility of my Department. I would require notice of a question of that detail.