asked the Minister of Fuel and Power why Rough Warren Site, Tankersley, Yorkshire, is being requisitioned for opencast coal mining despite 10 acres of it having recently been planted with hardwoods and 15 acres comprising mature hardwoods; what is the quality of the three seams, Flockton Thick, Joan and Lidgett, which will be worked on this site; and what is the expected yield.
This site is expected to yield 79,000 tons of good and fairly good coal from Flockton Thick and Joan seams. Lidgett seam is not to be worked. The mature hardwoods are ripe for cutting and the saplings have been planted so recently that their sacrifice represents a small cost compared with the value of the coal to be won.
Is not the hon. Gentleman aware that in the report of the Select Committee on Estimates, just published, in paragraph 33 the committee state that they were assured that care was taken to preserve woodlands and other amenities near urban areas. How does the hon. Gentleman reconcile that statement with what he has just said?
Because, as I have said, the mature hardwoods are ready for cutting, and would be cut in any case.There are about five acres of saplings planted, and the sacrifice of those five acres is worth while in view of the enormous amount of good coal which will be obtained.