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Coke Ovens (Coal Supplies)

Volume 443: debated on Thursday 30 October 1947

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108.

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power whether he is aware of the recent action of the National Coal Board in deciding that all coke ovens in Yorkshire would have to reduce their through-put of coal by 45 per cent. with the result that gas supplies had to be reduced to industrial undertakings in Yorkshire; and whether arrangements can be made during the forthcoming winter to ensure better arrangements for the allocation of coal to the gas industry and to coke ovens which supply gas so that there will be no recurrence of the dislocation caused by such action.

For a short time during the summer, when coal output in Yorkshire fell sharply because of pit stoppages, instructions had to be given by my Department to reduce the through-put of the Yorkshire coke ovens. This led inevitably to a diminution in gas supplies. The majority of coke ovens in the coalfield areas are not laid out to carry stocks in the same way as gasworks and it is therefore not possible to arrange full protection for them in the event of any severe dislocation of coal supplies. Nevertheless current deliveries were as far as possible diverted to coke ovens in this case—coking coal being brought in from Durham solely for this purpose. Within the limits set by the circumstance I have mentioned, every effort will be made to maintain supplies to the coke ovens this winter.