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Fuel Conservation

Volume 888: debated on Tuesday 11 March 1975

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asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement outlining the measures he is taking to conserve fuel.

In last winter's fuel crisis measures were introduced to reduce fuel consumption, and since then we have made every effort to economise in accordance with the general policy of Her Majesty's Government on energy conservation. The measures adopted include restrictions on Fleet consumption, flying, certain types of training, and the use of transport. Close control is also being exercised on the use of fuel for such purposes as heating, lighting and cooking. The Property Services Agency, in consultation with the Ministry of Defence, is also implementing a programme of work to improve the heating efficiency of defence buildings.

I thank the Minister for that interesting answer. Is he aware that those parts of the country which have been most severely affected by the Government's fuel conservation measures and by the increase in the price of petrol are, unhappily, those rural areas which are used regularly for overflying on these low-flying exercises? Will the Minister say what quantity of fuel is used on these exercises, and what is the mileage per gallon of these aircraft?

I shall write to the hon. Member about the total consumption and mileage per gallon. The total consumption of oil fuel by Her Majesty's Forces is 4 per cent. of the total bill. Low flying is already restricted to the minimum necessary to retain an operational commitment, and no perceptible reduction in this type of training can now be expected.

The hon. Member will have heard the question asked last time and will have heard my answer to it. He should put down a Question on this subject to the Under-Secretary of State for Defence for the Royal Navy.