§ [The question was as follows:
§ To ask His Majesty's Government whether their attention has been drawn to reports appearing in the Press indicating the considerable extent to which the German authorities are developing the use of producer gas for military vehicles on the Russian Front and elsewhere; whether these reports can be substantiated; and whether they have consulted the War Office and other appropriate Departments with the object of ensuring the fullest possible use of this system of propulsion in our military services.]
§ THE JOINT PARLIAMENTARY UNDER-SECRETARY OF STATE FOR WAR (LORD CROFT)
My Lords, the reports that the German authorities are developing the use of producer gas for military vehicles on the Russian Front cannot be substantiated. The use of a proportion of producer-gas vehicles has been reported in other parts of Europe, probably for vehicles for supply and administrative services. His Majesty's Government have approved a scheme for the conversion of 10,000 new or existing civil vehicles to run on producer gas, using anthracite and low-temperature coke as fuel. The use of producer gas for military and other vehicles, as a means of saving petrol, is being investigated by a Committee responsible to the Ministry of Mines. So far as the Ministry of Supply is concerned, the possible use of producer gas in Army transport vehicles was considered some time ago; but, in view of the several serious disadvantages as compared with petrol—for example, its power output is about 60 per cent. that of petrol, its engine wear about twice as great, and more servicing is required—it was decided not to adopt producer gas, but that developments by the Mines Department would be reported, so that the matter could be considered from time to time. The Air Ministry are also carrying out experiments. The War Office will keep in close touch with these Departments with a view to ascertaining whether, and if so to what extent, conversion of Service vehicles is practicable.
§ LORD DAVIES
Can my noble friend say whether this matter, which was formerly largely in the hands of the Ministry of Mines, is not now in the hands of the Ministry of War Transport?
§ LORD CROFT
Your Lordships will remember the statement which the Minister of War Transport recently made in this House, but at the same time other inquiries are going on and we are keeping in the very closest touch with all Departments, but if we can see the possibility of any help from suggestions of that kind, we shall be very glad to consider them.
§ BOROUGH OF ALTRINCHAM ORDER.
§ URBAN DISTRICT OF REDDITCH ORDER.
§ URBAN DISTRICT OF WANTAGE ORDER.
§ LORD TEMPLEMORE
My Lords, on behalf of my noble friend the Duke of Devonshire, I beg to move that these Orders be approved.
§ On Question, Motion agreed to.