HL Deb 14 July 1942 vol 123 cc807-8

My Lords, I beg to ask the question which stands in my name:

[The question was as follows:

To ask His Majesty's Government' whether in view of the increasing needs to save shipping space, and the possibilities of so doing through substitution of producer gas driven road vehicles, to which attention has been drawn by debates in Parliament, information can now be given as to long-range plans for location and distribution of necessary substitute fuels.]


My Lords, His Majesty's Government are fully aware of the necessity for relating the supply and distribution of fuel to the conversion of vehicles, and as part of the plans for this purpose the total present output of suitable anthracite, surplus to present producer gas demands, is being taken into stock by operating companies. Further development beyond the 10,000 of which I informed your Lordships on April 28, must largely depend on widening the range of suitable fuels, research experiments and tests to secure this are being energetically pursued.


My Lords, arising out of that reply, may I with the indulgence of the House, ask the noble Lord in regard to the location of these fuels. In his reply he stated that suitable types of one kind of fuel were being taken into stock by operating companies. I put my question with the object of obtaining an indication of the policy of the Government in regard to a longer range distribution of fuel that would be needed throughout the country. The answer which the noble Lord has been good enough to give me suggests that those plans are not yet developed.


So far as fuel is concerned for the 10,000 vehicles that are being converted, the supplies will be made available at those points in the country where the vehicles will be run for the selected business that has been taken for those concerned. It is not easy to describe it in any other words because these points are about to be determined. As your Lordships know, we have had to be very selective in the vehicles and the trades, and when they have been finally determined we will finally determine the precise points and road's where this service of fuel will be maintained. As regards further developments, my immediate difficulty is that I cannot see any additional anthracite being made available beyond that needed for the 10,000 vehicles that are now being catered for. We know there will be a need to consider the increased development of producer-gas vehicles, and it will require very close intensive study to find out how we are going to secure anthracite or other fuel which will be necessary properly and effectively to carry out this work. Intensive study and experiment will be needed to get increased output and I will do my best to ensure that it shall be available.