HC Deb 26 November 1979 vol 974 cc855-6
3. Mr. Eadie

asked the Secretary of State for Energy what financial contribution the Government are making towards the funding of pilot projects to process oil from coal.

Mr. John Moore

The terms of the Government's agreement with the NCB are to provide up to £800,000 to assist in design and feasibility studies on two 25 ton per day pilot plants.

Mr. Eadie

Since the House generally welcomes the Government's attitude in implementing part of the report of the working party that I chaired, and since the Government must have some say about the site shown, why is the hon. Gentleman so shy about revealing the sums of money that can be allocated? The previous Government undertook to allocate £20 million for these two projects.

Mr. Moore

The present Government, within less than a week of taking office, confirmed and awarded the design for the particular project in question. It would be premature, having set up such a design study, whose views we hope to see in the early part of 1980, to make judgments at this stage about money. We should await the study.

Sir Anthony Meyer

The decision to put these pilot plants at Point of Ayr colliery in my constituency has been generally welcomed. It is taken as a tribute to the excellent record in output and labour relations at that pit.

Mr. Moore

I thank my hon. Friend for that comment. However, I would not wish to deny that other coal mining areas have displayed equal ability to that shown by Point of Ayr.

Mr. Roy Hughes

Our road transport system which carries the vast bulk of our essential supplies will never be fired by nuclear energy. Is not the suggestion of my hon. Friend the Member for Midlothian (Mr. Eadie) a good one, bearing in mind the abundance of coal in this country? Does not the Minister agree that this is where the money should be invested?

Mr. Moore

I am sure that all those interested in energy matters would not deny, through their support of advanced and developing work in coal, the value of resources that exist elsewhere, including nuclear energy.

Mr. Dalyell

Have the Government considered the advantages of Boness, Kinneil and Grangemouth site which has both the Kinneil colliery and the Grangemouth refinery?

Mr. Moore

All these matters were taken into consideration by the NCB. I must stress that this time the Government are talking only about the recommendation for the location and siting of the pilot plants as opposed to the commercial and demonstration plants.

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