HC Deb 19 June 1941 vol 372 cc840-1W
Sir G. Jeffreys

asked the Secretary for Mines what steps are being taken in the more populous districts of Hampshire to arrange for the storage against the coming winter of emergency supplies of coal?

Mr. Grenfell

My Department is cooperating in the accumulation of reserve stocks, as supplies become available, by public utility undertakings, industrial establishments and merchants. In addition, 22 sites have been acquired in Hampshire for stocking domestic coal, including anthracite, on Government account, and some coal has been delivered to 18 of them: one large site is available for a Government reserve of gas coal which is also partly filled.

Captain Plugge

asked the Secretary for Mines whether, in view of the anxiety in the Medway towns lest there be another coal shortage this winter, he will state the nature of the suggestions which have been made by the Chatham Town Council for sites for storage; what action has been taken on each suggestion by him; and what is the maximum storage space in the case of each of the three towns which, it is hoped, can be filled with emergency supplies.

Mr. Grenfell

The Chatham Borough Council informed my Department in August, 1940, that there appeared to be no suitable sites in the borough for Government coal stocks. In December the Council suggested two sites, but both were found to be unsuitable. The first was only 150 square yards, and the costs of preparation and fencing were not justified for such a small area. The second site was a coal merchant's wharf, and was not pursued in view of my Department's policy of not taking sites which could be used by the coal trade for their own stocks. Sites have, however, been obtained in Rochester, Gillingham and Rainham, Kent; and there are also four other sites, within 10 miles of Chatham. The total capacity of these seven sites is some 15,000 tons and they are partially filled; further coal will be consigned as soon as supplies become available. In addition, a number of new sites in Kent are under investigation.