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Fuel And Power

Volume 530: debated on Monday 12 July 1954

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Requisitioned Properties

50.

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power how many properties are still held under requisition by his Department: if he will order a new investigation into the circumstances of each case: and if he will direct that prior consideration be given to the original owner, or owners, whenever a sale is contemplated.

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Fuel and Power
(Mr. L. W. Joynson-Hicks)

Seven hundred and seventy-seven sites for opencast mining, which will be returned automatically to their owners and occupiers as soon as the land has been restored, and two properties for defence purposes.

The second and third parts of the Question do not arise.

Would my hon. Friend not agree that these are very large figures? Will he look at this matter again very carefully?

About half of the 777 sites are in operation for the recovery of coal, and the other half are in process of restoration for agricultural use.

Gas Turbine Locomotives

51.

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power what information has been gained from the experimental gas turbine locomotives operated on his behalf by British Railways.

The only such locomotive which is being developed on my right hon. Friend's behalf is still under construction and not yet ready for trials.

Has the Ministry any information about the gas turbine locomotives that are in operation?

I think the hon. Gentleman should direct that question to my right hon. Friend the Minister of Transport or try to obtain the information by writing to the British Transport Commission.

Can the Parliamentary Secretary say whether the experiments proceeding at the Fuel Research Station have given satisfactory results?

Power Stations (Gas Turbines)

52.

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power if he will publish or place in the Library such data as have been transmitted to his scientific and experimental department on the gas turbines in use in electric power stations, giving information on performance, types of fuel used, operating costs, thermal efficiency and other relevant facts.

My right hon. Friend is regularly informed of the progress made in the development of the oilfired gas turbine for which the British Electricity Authority is responsible. This machine is not yet in operational use, and I would refer the hon. Member to the B.E.A. for such detailed information as he requires.

Domestic Coal (Imports)

53.

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power, assuming home production of domestic fuel to remain at its present level, what would be the quantity of imports of domestic fuel which he estimates would be required to do away with the present domestic fuel allocation; and what price it is estimated would have to be paid for such imports.

As my right hon Friend replied to my hon. Friend the Member for Kidderminster (Mr. Nabarro) on 21st June, demand for house coal suppressed through restriction is estimated at about 3 to 4 million tons. The cost of importing this at present c.i.f. prices would be about £20 to £25 million.

Does the hon. Gentleman agree that it would be well worth while and that we could afford it? In view of the speech of the Chancellor of the Exchequer at the weekend, in which he said that he wishes to go forward more quickly in the removal of the remaining controls, will the Minister consult his right hon. Friend to arrange for the necessary imports to be permitted?

My right hon. Friend and the Chancellor of the Exchequer are constantly in consultation on this matter.

Gas Prices, South-Eastern Region

56.

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power if he will give a direction under Section 7 of the Gas Act, 1948, to the South-Eastern Regional Board not to operate the proposed increased charges for gas consumers in the area.

Is there nothing that the Government can do to stop the constant rise in the cost of living?