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Colliery Ventilation Fan (Stoppage)

Volume 486: debated on Monday 9 April 1951

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1.

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power if he is aware that, during the recent rescue operations at South Birtley, County Durham, the ventilating fan specially installed for the benefit of the entombed men was put out of action for 15 minutes by an electricity cut; and if he will take such steps as are necessary to prevent such occurrences in the future.

Yes, Sir. I will advise the managements of mines which, like South Birtley, normally rely on natural ventilation that, when electrically-driven fans are installed to deal with an emergency, they should warn their area electricity board not to cut the power.

Does this incident not illustrate the unpleasant consequences which can follow on electricity cuts? Cannot the right hon. Gentleman hasten the time when the electricity undertakings will be obliged to provide, as in former days they did, a continuous service, without interruptions?

If we had not had a war we should, of course, be farther forward. In this particular case no danger was involved, I am glad to say; and the power was restored immediately a telephone call was made.

Is my right hon. Friend aware that there has been greater care for the miners since nationalisation?