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asked the Paymaster General the tonnage of natural solid smokeless fuel, Manufactured solid smokeless fuel, other than coke, and smokeless briquetted fuels produced in 1954, 1955 and 1956, respectively; and what is in his view the estimated total tonnage necessary to implement the provisions of the Clean Air Act, 1956.
About 17 million tons were produced in each year. The smokeless fuel requirement under the Clean Air Act will ultimately be met by coke, other solid smokeless fuel, electricity, gas and oil, and it is impossible to estimate how much of the various fuels will be required.
May I conclude from the Parliamentary Secretary's statement that there is sufficient smokeless fuel for the purposes of the Clean Air Act? If so, and having regard to the fact that domestic consumers of smokeless fuel will have a big part to play in ensuring clean air, will the hon. and learned Gentleman explain why domestic consumers have to wait months before they can get a hundredweight of smokeless fuel?
The last part of the hon. Member's supplementary question raises a distinct point. I assure him, however, that bearing in mind that it will inevitably take some years wholly to implement the Clean Air Act, we are confident that with increased production of the various fuels that will be needed the requirements of the Act will be met.
In view of the fact that local authorities have already had their smokeless zone orders approved by the Ministry, may I take it that in those areas there will be sufficient smokeless fuel available for domestic consumers?
Is the hon. and learned Gentleman not aware that there is widespread dissatisfaction because so many people who are persuaded to have fittings with which to use the smokeless fuels in order to avoid the harmful effects of smoke, find that they cannot get the smokeless fuel to burn in them? Is it not about time there was some co-ordination between Departments to ensure that people are not let down, as they often are, in this way?
I do not accept what the hon. Member says. The smokeless fuel which is principally in use and which will principally be required to achieve smoke abatement is coke, and that is in very plentiful supply.
If the right hon. Gentleman studies the plans which the nationalised industries have for these matters, he will realise that they do not need much further pressing at the moment.