MR. BEADLAUGH (Northampton)
asked the Lord Advocate, Whether, during the past fortnight, several thousand tons of silt, sewage, and chemicals have been discharged at the mouth, of Loch. Long in the River Clyde; whether one of these discharges of about 500 tons took place about two to three hours before high water on Tuesday, 31st May, and was carried by the incoming tide along the Bay of Arden-tinny round the rocks into Lochgoil, and was there distinctly traceable by sight and smell for a considerable distance, and for at least two boats' length from the rocks; and, what steps, if any, are being taken by the Government, and against whom, to prevent further injury to the fishing population of the lochs, and to the health of the inhabitants near Dunoon, Kirn, and Blairmore?
§ THE LORD ADVOCATE (Mr. J. H. A. MACDONALD) (Edinburgh and St. Andrew's Universities)
It has been ascertained to be the fact that large quantities of offensive matter have been recently discharged at the mouth of Loch Long, consisting of river-dredgings and chemical refuse. No such discharge is known to have taken place on the 31st of May; but on the 1st of June the contents of a lighter, believed to come from a chemical work, were discharged, and the result of this being done was that the effects could be traced along the shore. The Scotch Department has been in active communication with the Board of Trade on this matter; but as no injury is caused to navigation, that Board cannot interfere. An experienced officer of health will be at once dispatched to the locality, with instructions to make as speedy a Report as possible. I must point out, however, to the hon. Member that the Local Sanitary Authorities have the primary duty to interfere to stop nuisances, which, in the case of any illegal nuisance, they can do by application to the Courts of Law for interdict; and that Her Majesty's Government cannot take the initiative, but can only use their powers to compel dilatory Sanitary Authorities to do their duty.