§ Sir John Osborn
asked the Secretary of State for Energy if he will estimate the increase in cost per unit of electricity if sulphur dioxide and nitrous oxide emissions were to be reduced in line with the recommendations of (a) the Commission of the European Economic Community and (b) the Assembly of the Council of Europe.
§ Mr. Giles Shaw
I understand from the recent report of the Royal Commission on environmental pollution that to reduce emissions of sulphur dioxide from CEGB power stations by 50 per cent., which is the level recommended by the Assembly of the Council of Europe, would require the installation at existing stations of desulphurisation equipment costing approximately £1,500 million at 1982 prices and might add some 6 per cent to the cost of electricity to CEGB customers. The EC Commission's proposals for a reduction of 60 per cent. in national emissions of sulphur dioxide by 1995 from large combustion plant could have a greater impact on electricity prices. The Commission has also proposed specific emission levels for new and substantially altered large combustion plants.
I am not able to give an estimate of the impact of the Commission's proposals concerning nitrogen oxides at this stage. It is not yet known whether abatement systems can40W
§ Mr. Giles Shaw
Figures for National Coal Board recruitment at collieries are published in the board's annual report and accounts. They show recruitment of newly employed under 18-year-olds from end March 1979 onwards as:
Number 1979–80 6,229 1980–81 4,392 1981–82 3,807 1982–83 3,060
I understand from the board that a further 1,546 such recruitments were made from the end of March 1983 to the end of December 1983.