§ Mr. Stunell
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what estimate he has made of the annual tonnages of methane discharged into the atmosphere from abandoned coal mines in England and Wales; and if he will make a statement. 633W
§ Mr. Meacher
In 1994, the Watt Committee on Energy estimated that the net flow of methane from abandoned coal mines was likely to be negligible. Recognising the great uncertainties involved, and the extent of mine closures, my Department has sponsored a study of information currently available with a view to including this source in the UK greenhouse gas inventory. This indicates that emissions from abandoned coal mines constitute a declining source and could currently be in the range 20,000 to 300,000 tonnes of methane per year, or between 0.05 per cent. and 0.8 per cent. of total UK greenhouse gas emissions in 1990. We do not have separate estimates fro England and Wales.