§ 3. Sir J. Langford-Holt
asked the Secretary of State for Energy what are the stocks of smokeless fuel held in the United Kingdom.
§ 34. Mr. Patrick McNair-Wilson
asked the Secretary of State for Energy if he will give details of the stocks of smokeless fuel currently held in the United Kingdom.
§ Sir J. Langford-Holt
In the Government's view, are these figures adequate? If they are adequate, can the hon. Gentleman explain why my constituents cannot get any?
§ Mr. Eadie
No, we do not regard them as adequate. There has been difficulty in respect of supplies. The National Coal Board hopes to have the new Betws Drift mine in production by April 1978, and when fully operational it will produce about half a million tons of anthracite per annum. In addition, the Board is seeking permission to open new opencast sites, one of which is estimated to contain 1011 about 700,000 tons of excellent quality anthracite that could be extracted over five years from the date of authorisation.
§ Mr. McNair-Wilson
On 8th February the Under-Secretary told me in a Written Answer that there had been 26 explosions since last September involving imported anthracite. From which country, or countries, is the dangerous fuel coming? Will he confirm that the reason for the explosions is the presence in the cargoes of unexploded detonators made of aluminium or some other non-ferrous material that cannot be detected by normal means?
§ Mr. Ioan Evans
Is my hon. Friend aware that in addition to the supply of anthracite there are manufactured smokeless fuels such as Phurnacite for which there is increasing demand? Will my hon. Friend have regular contact with the National Coal Board and ensure that regard is had to the people living in the areas where smokeless fuel is produced, as quite a deal of smoke is produced in producing smokeless fuel?