HL Deb 08 July 1991 vol 530 cc83-4WA
The Earl of Lindsey and Abingdon

asked Her Majesty's Government:

How many licensed opencast coal mines there are at present in operation in England, Scotland and Wales; and how many people are directly employed by the industry?

Lord Cavendish of Furness

I understand from British Coal, who are responsible for issuing licences, that at the end of May 1991 there was a total of 64 licensed opencast sites in England, Scotland and Wales. Forty of those sites were in England, 20 in Scotland and four in Wales. British Coal do not collect details of the number of people employed by the opencast coal industry, but an approximate total, taking into account those employed directly and indirectly at British Coal's contract sites and licensed opencast sites, is likely to be of the order of 17,000.