British Coal warns of 'fudges'

Click to follow
The Independent Online
British Coal is increasingly concerned that the solution to the coal debacle will include a series of 'fudges', writes Mary Fagan. The company would not comment yesterday on the leaked elements of the select committee's draft report. However, a source warned against the maintaining of very high coal stocks or replacing profitable opencast coal with deep- mined output. Another company source said: 'People appear to be looking at solutions that substitute coal for coal. What we need is something to address market imbalances, including a look at the true economics of gas.'

British Coal, which disclosed yesterday that it had won orders for about 1 million tonnes of coal for industrial markets in the past few weeks, is also concerned that any proposals will fall short of a phasing-out of Magnox nuclear reactors and deferring Sizewell B. The company believes this is a key to a larger market. There is a feeling that much of what is being discussed by those involved in finding a way out of the coal dilemma is 'fiddling around the edges'.