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Coal Mines

Volume 229: debated on Tuesday 27 July 1993

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To ask the President of the Board of Trade what discussions he has had with British Coal on the subject of the removal of machinery from the pits which British Coal is currently offering for license to the private sector.

Under the Coal Industry Nationalisation Act 1946. matters such as the deployment of machinery are operational matters for British Coal, and the Government are not given powers to intervene. My Department has however kept in close touch with British Coal, and I have raised the matter on a number of occasions with the chairman of the corporation. He has given me assurances that no equipment with be redeployed unnecessarily, that each decision to salvage major equipment will be taken on the basis of all relevant economic and operational criteria, and in particular that British Coal is prepared to give details of the destination of any major items of machinery which it removes. It is up to British Coal to justify each such decision.