§ Mr. Derek Page
asked the Minister of Land and Natural Resources what progress has been made with the economic minerals survey in England and Wales.
§ Mr. Willey
Field work on the first phase of the survey has recently started.
After consultation with my right hon. Friends concerned and following the advice of the Natural Resources Advisory Committee, I am giving priority to a survey of sand and gravel resources to the extent that it is needed to supplement existing information about deposits potentially capable of economic exploitation. The most urgent need for greater knowledge is in parts of South-East England where the Chelmsford and Ipswich areas are being studied first. The aim is to establish potentially workable reserves, a category between possible reserves as shown on geological maps and reserves proved by detailed exploration by the industry. New concepts are involved and the experimental first year's work will provide the opportunity for appropriate techniques to be tried and developed.162W
The field work will be done on an agency basis by the Institute of Geological Sciences (incorporating the Geological Survey of Great Britain, the Museum of Practical Geology and the Overseas Geological Surveys), a constituent body of the Natural Environment Research Council. Other government facilities (e.g. for drilling and analysis of samples) will be used where appropriate.
The industry, through the Sand and Gravel Association of Great Britain, has welcomed the survey and promised to co-operate by providing information relating to the areas selected for investigation where this is available.