asked the Secretary of State for Energy if he will give his estimate of the contribution that coal is likely to make to the United Kingdom energy balance in 1980, 1985 and 1990; and whether his assessments are in line with the report recently submitted to his Department.
1 would refer the hon. Gentleman to my Department's "Energy Policy Review", a copy of which is now in the Library of the House.
asked the Secretary of State for Energy (1) if he will give a direction to the National Coal Board under Section 6 of the Coal Industry Act 1971;(2) when he last gave a direction under Section 6 of the Coal Industry Act 1971 to the National Coal Board.
My right hon. Friend has made no directions under this section and at present has no plans to do so.
asked the Secretary of State for Energy why he is unable to publish cash flow forecasts for the National Coal Board for each of the next five years in view of the fact that a comprehensive plan for the industry is in existence.
Such forecasts, which include assumptions about the future course of costs and prices, must be regarded as commercially confidential.
asked the Secretary of State for Energy how much has been spent in each of the past three years on research and development of automatic and remote control mining.
Over the last three financial years NCB expenditure on research and development related to the evolution of automatic and remote control mining has amounted to £3 million, £5 million and £7 million, respectively. Within these figures direct expenditure on the automatic and remote control of mining operations was £0·8 million, £0·9 million and £3·6 million. We are unable to estimate the amount spent on research and development in this field by individual mining manufacturers or of the effort in other coal-producing countries.