COAL TO GRASS
Wellington Journal 11th
COAL being mechanically loaded at Linley near Broseley was one of the
interesting operations seen by members of the W.A.E.C. during their tour.
OPEN-CAST coal sites in the Wrekin area, which had been re-seeded under the auspices of the Shropshire War Agricultural Executive Committee during the summer, were inspected by members of the committee on Monday. Accompanied by Mr. A. B. A. McCall, area production engineer of the Ministry of Fuel and Power in charge of open-cast workings in Shropshire, the party, which included Capt. E. Foster (chairman), Viscountess Boyne, Mr. J. W. Reid (executive officer) and Mr. Charles F Horrell (secretary, County N.F.U.) afterwards expressed satisfaction at what they had seen on the four sites visited.
The working of the various sites and the methods
used for restoration of the land after the removal of the coal, were explained,
and questions were put by the members of the party as to whether the huge excavations were justified by the
results. They were told that the actual cost of the coal per ton would prove
much less than various reports had anticipated. Though not permitted to divulge
specific details, an official informed them that the cost, when eventually made
known, would “probably stagger them”. It was pointed out that when previous
estimates of the cost of the coal were made the scheme had been in operation a
relatively short time. Expenditure had
included the provision of vast quantities of equipment which, over the short
period under review, counted for the apparently high cost of the coal, but when
considered more logically on a long-term basis, the actual cost per ton would
be materially reduced.
On the subject of the
length of time needed for the removal of the top- and sub-soil to get down to the coal itself and then for
the restoration of the land afterwards, the visitors were told that once a seam
had been reached
one man working with a mechanical shovel could remove no less than 500 tons per
eight hour shift, and experienced mining labour was not needed. A few skilled
mechanical operators and a sprinkling of other labour was all that was
Regarding the effect on the land, it was stated that
former difficult scrub land, having been restored and re-seeded, gave apparent
promise of good pasture, and the party actually saw one site upon which stock
Sites visited were New Works, Little Wenlock and
Linley Green, and at the latter the party saw a coal seam being removed by a
mechanical shovel and loaded on to a constant stream of lorries.