HC Deb 09 April 1970 vol 799 cc122-3W
Q4. Mr. Kirk

asked the Prime Minister if he will make a statement on the work of the Winter Emergencies Committee in 1970 to date.

The Prime Minister

As I explained in my reply to a Question by the hon. Member for Shrewsbury (Sir J. Langford-Holt) on 12th December, 1967, the work of the Winter Emergencies Committee, which was concerned with advance preparation for winter conditions, especially by the fuel and power industries, was merged with the main Emergencies Committee of the Government.

There has been continuing action throughout the winter of 1969–70 to maintain essential services and supplies. More snow fell than usual, and February and March were especially cold in eastern England.

Supplies of gas and oil were maintained. So were supplies of coal and smokeless fuel, although there were some local shortages. Difficulties with generating plant led to occasional voltage reductions but did not involve any disconnections of supply. There were, however, some interruptions to electricity supplies in Essex and Kent in early March due largely to faults in overhead cables caused by a severe blizzard.

Interruptions to road, rail and air transport were not on a major scale, and were quickly overcome. More salting vehicles were available for clearing roads and more point heaters were operating on the railways. All this work, for which the industries and local authorities concerned deserve much credit, was coordinated as necessary by the Government.—[Vol. 756, c. 208–11]