HC Deb 22 July 1991 vol 195 c406W
Mr. Ashton

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what tests have been made regarding the dangers of excessive combustion gases and the high sulphur content of imported petroleum coke for domestic heating.

Mr. Dorrell

Tests carried out in 1973 by Warren Spring laboratory on behalf of the Department of Environment showed that petroleum coke can have a higher sulphur content than coal and that because of its high burning tendency, if used incorrectly, it could damage the metal parts of appliances. The fuel showed some tendency to split.

It is not recommended for use in closed fires and fireguards are advised for open-grate fires as a safeguard to consumers.

Burning of any fossil fuel gives off sulphur dioxide. In most parts of the United Kingdom sulphur dioxide levels have fallen during the past decade and in general do not now reach levels likely to produce significant health effects.