HC Deb 12 February 1946 vol 419 cc66-7W
Mr. Popplewell

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power if he is aware of the death of two boys, James Quinn and George Derrick, both of Sutton's Dwellings, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, who were over come by black damp in a drift from a disused clay mine; that this drift was open and anyone could crawl in and that there are several similar open drifts around Newcastle-upon-Tyne where similar danger exists; and will he see that a survey takes place and all such places are adequately sealed up.

Mr. Shinwell

I have seen the Press reports of this unfortunate accident, from which I gather that the boys lost their lives through entering abandoned mine workings. An abandoned mine shaft or entrance which is unfenced and dangerous is a "nuisance" within the meaning of the Public Health Acts, and local authorities have power under those Acts to enforce adequate fencing to prevent accidents. Thus the responsibility for dealing with such shafts and entrances rests solely on the local authorities, and I have no powers in the matter.

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