§ Miss Quennell
asked the Minister of Power (1) what the average distance between coal depots will be, especially in rural areas;
(2) how far the policy of rationalising and concentrating coal depots has proceeded; how many depots are currently under consideration for closure; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. John Morris
These matters are within the province of British Railways and the coal trade. At the time of the Beeching Report there were about 4,000 coal depots. My right hon. Friend understands that over a thousand depots have since been closed by British Railways and replaced by over 200 concentration depots; and that the number of concentration depots may eventually be doubled. Each concentration scheme is considered locally by a committee representative of the railways, the National Coal Board and the distributive trade with a view to ensuring efficient distribution of solid fuels. Location will not be determined solely by distance between depots and it is not possible to forecast an average figure for this.