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Smokeless Fuel

Volume 927: debated on Friday 11 March 1977

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asked the Secretary of State for Energy what estimates are available of the current stocks of smokeless solid fuels broken down by types of fuel; what steps are being taken to increase the availability of these fuels; and what plans he has for encouraging the increase of British production of solid smokeless fuels.

Estimates of stocks of solid smokeless fuels at the end of January 1977 by types were:

million tons
Coke and semi-coke3·356
Manufactured fuels0·019
Anthracite and dry steam0·025
These figures include fuel for industrial purposes but exclude stocks in the hands of merchants and some 0·5 million tons of anthracite duff unsuitable for the domestic market.In the domestic market the supply of home-produced anthracite this year has been slightly less than demand, and the coal trade, in conjunction with the National Coal Board, will have imported some 100,000 tons to help meet the deficiency by the end of this month.As I said on 21st February 1977 in response to Questions from the hon. Members for Shrewsbury (Sir J. Langford-Holt) and the New Forest (Mr. McNair-Wilson), the NCB hopes to have the new Bettws drift mine in production by April 1978, and when fully operational it will produce half a million tons of anthracite per annum. In addition the Board is seeking permission to open new opencast sites, one of which is estimated to contain 700,000 tons of excellent quality anthracite.