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Working Practices

Volume 226: debated on Wednesday 16 June 1993

The text on this page has been created from Hansard archive content, it may contain typographical errors.

Coal Mines Regulation Act 1908

The White Paper "The Prospects for Coal" announced the Government's intention, subject to a consultation process, to remove the impediment to efficiency represented by the limits placed on undergound working hours by the Coal Mines Regulation Act 1908. The Department issued a consultation document inviting representations by 28 May 1993. The Department expects to make its decision known in the course of the summer.

150 Man Limit

In the White Paper "The Prospects of Coal", the Government set out their intention to legislate, as soon as opportunity allowed, to remove the restriction in section 36(2) of the Coal Industry Nationalisation Act 1946 under which British Coal is only able to license mines at which the number of persons employed to work below ground is at no time likely to exceed, or greatly to exceed, 150. The Government's present intention is that such legislation should enable this restriction to be lifted, where appropriate, in respect of licences that are in existence at the time the legislation comes into force as well as future licences.

Matters Consequent on Privatisation

The White Paper "The Prospects for Coal" reaffirmed the Government's intention to bring forward the legislation necessary to privatise the coal industry as rapidly as possible, and set out the Government's proposal to establish a new public sector body, to be known as the Coal Authority, which would be responsible for licensing all coal mining activity, including that in existing British Coal mines and all current and future private sector mining operations, but which would itself be prohibited from mining.

The Government's present intention is that licences issued by British Coal under current legislation, and the associated agreements, should be allowed to run their term, with the terms materially unchanged except by agreement. The coal authority would take over British Coal's role as licensor under these licences and its title to the land, property, coal mines and coal reserves concerned. Where British Coal has rights and obligations as mine operator in relation to licensees in respect of interaction between mines the Government's present intention is that those rights and obligations should attach to whoever is licensed by the coal authority to operate the British Coal mine concerned—which might for a time continue to be British Coal.