HC Deb 09 July 1979 vol 970 c20
13. Mr. Sainsbury

asked the Secretary of State for Energy what representations he has received about the level of sulphur emission from coal-fired power stations.

Mr. Norman Lamont

I have received no specific representation about this. However, the question of sulphur pollution is to form a substantive element of the coal study being undertaken by the Commission for Energy and the Environment.

Mr. Sainsbury

Does my hon. Friend agree that it is important when we are comparing the economics of alternative sources of power generation that we take into account the need to ensure that whatever source is used is made as pollution-free as is technically possible, and that the cost of doing so is taken fully into account?

Mr. Lamont

Of course, that is absolutely right. That is one reason why the Commission for Energy and the Environment is making its study. Of course, costs must be borne in mind.

Mr. Roy Hughes

Does not the Minister agree that the minor irritation referred to by the hon. Member for Hove (Mr. Sainsbury) does not compare with the hazard of a nuclear energy programme? Bearing in mind our vast coal resources, will not the Minister urge the Government to make a massive investment in this vital industry?

Mr. Lamont

I do not think that that issue arises on this question.