David Jones' article on North Sea Oil rightly stresses that energy planning, with its manpower and training implications, can be done effectively only over the longer term. Recent events have discredited the impression, commonly held in the 1960s, that sources of energy could be turned on and off like a tap to correspond with short‐term fluctuations in their price. Over the years, the National Coal Board have repeatedly emphasised the hard geological fact that coalmining capacity, unless it is continuously worked, can so deteriorate that it might be lost for ever. Much the same kind of consideration applies to coalmining skills. They cannot be turned on and off like a tap either. They take time to acquire, and people are not going to acquire them unless they have some assurance that they are going to be able to use them.
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