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Domestic Supplies, Northampton

Volume 465: debated on Friday 27 May 1949

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asked the Minister of Fuel and Power for what reasons Northampton is required to take a high proportion of inferior coal; and whether there is any likelihood of superior coal being available in future.

Whilst I could not agree that Northampton is required to take an unduly high proportion of inferior coal, it is a fact that in view of the serious shortage of the larger sizes of coal, certain grades are being allocated to merchants throughout the country which would not normally be sent to the house coal market. Large coal is required not only for domestic consumers, but for the railways, for bunkers and exports and to a smaller extent for gas making and industrial purposes. Increased mechanisation in the pits makes for a higher proportion of smalls and is an important factor in the present shortage of the larger sizes. Moreover, the coalfields which geographically are best suited to meet export requirements are, in general, those which produce the highest quality coals and after local requirements have been met there is less available for other districts which to a greater extent must receive their supplies from the coalfields which do not contribute to export programmes. I regret that until supplies approximate more closely to total requirements for both inland and export markets it will be necessary to continue to include a proportion of lower grade coals in the allocations for domestic consumers.

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power the proportions of various types of coal made available to Northampton merchants during the current period.

Northampton is supplied with about 86 per cent. of its house coal from collieries, viz. 19 per cent. from Nottinghamshire and North Derbyshire, 5 per cent. from South Derbyshire, 24 per cent. from Leicestershire and 38 per cent. from Warwickshire. The balance of approximately 14 per cent. is from Leicestershire opencast workings.