§ 3.34 p.m.
§ THE LORD PRIVY SEAL AND MINISTER FOR SCIENCE (VISCOUNT HAILSHAM)
My Lords, it may be convenient if I now reply to the Private Notice Question which was to have been asked by the noble Lord, Lord Greenhill, relating to the explosion which took place yesterday at Cardowan Colliery. An underground part of Cardowan Colliery had been sealed off because of a fire in January, and the accident took place yesterday when it was being reopened. Three men were killed and seven suffered burns as the result of an explosion. Her Majesty's inspectors are investigating the circumstances of the accident, and Mr. H. R. Houston, Her Majesty's Deputy Chief Inspector of Mines, has been directed to make a Special Report on the accident, under Section 121 of the Miner and Quarries Act, 1954. My Lords, I feel certain that your Lordships would wish to join me in sending deep sympathy to the families and friends of the men who were killed; and to express our hope for the quick recovery of those who were injured.
§ LORD MACDONALD OF GWAENYSGOR
My Lords, I should like to associate all my colleagues on this side of the House with the sentiments of sympathy expressed by the noble Viscount. But we are disturbed by the accident, that has been caused on the reopening of this mine. There is a danger in reopening, and I am wondering whether all the precautions necessary were taken in this particular case. Explosions have played a very big part in the lives of the mining community, and they dread them. Earlier this month we lost 31 lives at Six Bells, Abertillery, because of an explosion; here again, we have a further explosion this month. I do hope that this investigation will be such as to give us the cause of this explosion and to help us avoid explosions in the future.
§ VISCOUNT HAILSHAM
My Lords, I think it was for this reason that my right honourable friend decided to ask the Deputy Chief Inspector of Mines to investigate in this case.