HC Deb 23 May 1978 vol 950 cc494-5W
Mr. George Grant

asked the Secretary of State for Energy what is the present output per manshift in the coal mining industry, at the face and overall at the latest available date; and what were the figures in the same month in 1977.

Mr. Eadie

The latest available figures for average output per manshift are for the four weeks ending 6th May 1978. These, together with figures for the corresponding period last year, are set out in the following table:

monitor the performance of the Beatrice Oilfield before granting new near-shore exploratory drilling rights in the inner Moray Firth basin;

(2) what consideration he has given to the threat of oil pollution to national nature conservation interests, more particularly to seabirds and wildfowl, arising from the Beatrice Field development in the Moray Firth; and what his Department is doing to minimise these threats.

Dr. Mabon

Nature conservation interests are an element in all my decisions on offshore oilfield development. It was largely because we were not satisfied as to its possible impact upon the environment that the initial offshore loading plan for the Beatrice field was turned down by the Department. Any approved development will include arrangements to guard against the risk of pollution, and I shall require an effective oil spill contingency plan to cope with any spills that may nevertheless occur. As to future licensing, there are, of course, a number of factors which I take into account before deciding which blocks to offer. The final decision would reflect where the balance of advantage lay in the national interest.