HC Deb 17 June 1974 vol 875 cc24-5
34. Mr. Grimond

asked the Secretary of State for energy if he will publish a report on coal production and reserves comparable to the report on production and reserves of oil and gas in the United Kingdom, and if he will give comparative estimates of the cost of resources necessary to exploit various types of energy including nuclear energy.

Mr. Varley

The future level of coal production is a major concern of the coal industry examination, and an interim report is to be published tomorrow with a final report by the end of the summer. Reserves are not a limiting factor.

It is not possible to indicate what resources will be involved in future exploitation of the various forms of energy. Any estimates at the present time could be misleading.

Mr. Grimond

Does the Secretary of State agree that there are very great reserves of energy in the world but that it is getting more expensive, in terms of money and resources, to get them? Will tomorrow's document give some indication of the size of the new Yorkshire coalfield, which I believe to be enormous?

Mr. Varley

The report will certainly mention the reserves in the new Yorkshire coalfield. They are about 2,000 million tons, with further possibilities as exploration takes place.

Mr. Hooley

What calculations have been made about the future production of coal, in the light of the possible availability of manpower, on the assumption that we have full employment over the next 10 years?

Mr. Varley

Manpower in the coal-mining industry will continue to be a problem, particularly in the low-cost coalfields of Yorkshire and Nottinghamshire. One problem in particular will be attracting men who will go into the pits and dig the coal at the coal face.