HC Deb 29 January 1951 vol 483 cc65-6W
112. Mr. Bartley

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power to state the total output of coal from each of the opencast sites, respectively, on Hedley Hall Farm, Marley Hill, Newcastle-on-Tyne; the cost of production per ton in respect of each site; the relations of this cost to the average cost per ton for opencast mining throughout the country; and the period of working in respect of each site.

Mr. P. Noel-Baker

Three areas of Hedley Hall Farm have been requisitioned for the opencast working of coal. One site yielded 50,000 tons in 1948; another yielded 40,000 tons in 1950; the third has so far yielded 2,000 tons this year. These areas form part of the Burden Moor zone, from which nearly a million tons of coal has been obtained. It is not easy to calculate the cost of coal from a particular area which is included in a contract for a wider zone. But I can safely say that the cost of coal obtained from Burden Moor is substantially below the national average.

113. Mr. Bartley

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power whether he is aware that, contrary to the promise given by his Department, a further 84 acres of agricultural land have been requisitioned from Hedley Hall Farm, Marley Hill, Newcastle-on-Tyne, and, in fact, are now being worked for opencast coalmining before a substantial proportion of the 360 acres already taken from this farm has been restored; and what action he proposes to take to remedy this matter.

Mr. P. Noel-Baker

I think that there has been some misunderstanding about the requisitioning of land at Hedley Hall Farm. I agree that 84 acres were requisitioned in October, 1950, but I do not accept the suggestion that this action was contrary to a promise given by my Department. The undertaking given related to the total holding of Mr. W. A. Thompson, whose land in all comprised about 670 acres. In September, 1949, he held 472 acres of this total, including an area of 396 acres on Hedley Hall Farm; the requisitioning of 117 acres at Hedley Hall had been deferred, as the result of negotiations early in 1949. He still has 388 acres and a further 100 acres of restored land would have been returned to Mr. Thompson in the autumn, if the weather had not made the work of restoration impossible. It is now expected that this land will be returned to Mr. Thompson in the spring.

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