§ Mr. WASON
asked the Minister of Reconstruction if he is aware that there are no coal deposits in Orkney and Shetland 397W and that all supplies have to be taken by sea from the South; that the present price of coal combined with the rate of freights makes that commodity dearer there than anywhere else; that there is an abundance of peat moss in some parts of Orkney and Shetland which, if better opened up by roads and improved means of transport, would develop a local industry and greatly benefit all, more especially localities where no peat moss exists; if he will say if this comes under the scheme for the improvement of rural transport facilities at present under consideration; and, if not, if steps will be taken to inquire as to the possibility of action on the lines indicated
§ Mr. MUNRO
I have been asked to answer this question. It is the case that there are no deposits of coal in Orkney and Shetland and prices accordingly run very high. A sub-committee of the Scottish Rural Transport Committee recently visited the islands and inquired into proposals put forward for improved means of transport. I understand that no reference was made to development of the peat industry in connection with these proposals. If my hon. Friend desires to put any suggestions before the committee, they will be considered in connection with their recommendations dealing with transport in the Orkneys and Shetlands.