(by Private Notice) asked the Lord President of the Council whether there have been any results from the boring being made at Lichfield by the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research.
I am glad to say that valuable discoveries of economic importance have been obtained from a deep bore, which has been made at Whittington Heath near Lichfield by the Geological Survey of Great Britain, which is part of the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research. At a depth of about 3,000 feet good quality coal has been discovered. Seams eight, six and five feet thick have been found as well as smaller ones; boring is still continuing and it is believed that other seams may be found. At a minimum estimate the new coalfield should contain 400 million tons of good quality workable coal. When the field has been further explored the amount may be several times as great as this estimate.
May I, along with all other British citizens, congratulate this Department on the excellent results of their work? At the same time, may I ask the Lord President of the Council if he can indicate what incoming population may be necessary to work the new deposits, and when a survey will be made of the additional housing accommodation that may be needed?
The actual working of the coal will be some time ahead. I am afraid that I cannot answer specifically my hon. Friend's question, but she can be assured that there will be adequate time for the consideration of those problems which will arise.
May I further ask that families who may be looking at this district and who may be willing to work in the coalmining area should be encouraged by a rapid improvement in the conditions that are now being caused by mining subsidence? Otherwise we may lose recruits for this industry if they see the neglect of some of the present houses.
I will call the attention of the Minister of Fuel and Power to the point raised by my hon. Friend.
Can the Lord President say whether any coal from these new seams will be available before the next General Election?