§ MR. STEPHENS
I beg to ask the President of the Local Government Board whether his attention has been called to the fact that during the year 1899 thirty-eight sewage overflows discharged sewage into the Thames on its northern side within the London area; and, seeing that such discharges of sewage are liable to take place whenever the rainfall exceeds one-tenth of an inch, and that the existing obligations of law compel local authorities to admit the combined drainage of sewage and water to their sewers, whether, in the next session of Parliament, it is his intention to introduce a Bill to enable the local authorities 646 to keep separate, if they desire to do so, the sewage and the water drainage of their districts.
§ MR. CHAPLIN
No, Sir, my attention has not been called to the facts referred to, and I have no information to show how far they are as suggested in the first paragraph of the question. With regard to the second paragraph, local authorities have the power to provide, and they have in some instances already provided, separate systems for sewage and water drainage. The further legislation suggested on the subject would, it appears, raise questions of considerable importance which would involve heavy expense. As I stated in reply to the last question, I am not in a position to give any pledge with regard to legislation next session.
§ VISCOUNT SANDON (Gravesend)
I beg to ask the Secretary to the Local Government Board whether his attention has been called to a recurrence of pollution of the River Thames, near the sewage pumping stations at Halfway Reach and Barking Reach; and whether he will cause the necessary steps to be taken to obtain an abatement of the nuisance as a precaution against danger to health of those engaged upon the river.
§ MR. CHAPLIN
I have made inquiry on this subject, and I am informed that it is the recent hot weather which is mainly responsible for the nuisance complained of in the part of the river referred to in the question. I learn from the London County Council that they are fully intent on further improving the condition of the river, and that they have undertaken several large works with that object. The Local Government Board have no power to take or to cause any steps to be taken in the matter.