§ Mr. Albert Roberts
asked the Secretary of State for Energy, in view of the large amount of coal in stock, if he will give a general direction to the chairman of the National Coal Board that the mining of coal by opencast working should be gradually phased out by not opening out any new sites and that such coal deposits should be kept as a strategic reserve.
§ Mr. Eadie
No. Current stocks of coal are not, in general, regarded as excessive and an annual opencast output of 15 million tons remains the agreed target. But a new site can be developed only with my right hon. Friend's authority and the need for the coal is always taken into account in considering the National Coal Board's applications.