§ MR. WHITEHEAD (Essex, S.E.)
To ask the hon. Member for South Somerset, as representing the President of the Board of Agriculture, whether any instructions have recently been given to the Customs officer in the district of Leigh-on-Sea to prevent the fishermen in that district from acquiring and using the large quantity of wood known as cattle wood which is thrown overboard by vessels in the Thames estuary; whether he is aware that the fishermen have for a long period been accustomed to make use of this derelict wood; and whether he will give instructions that there shall be no unreasonable interference with them in the exercise of this customary privilege.
(Answered by Sir Edward Strachey.) No instructions on this subject have been issued to the Customs preventive officer in charge at Southend, who supervises the district in which Leigh-on-Sea is situated. That officer reports that about two months ago an inquiry was addressed to him, by the local secretary to tin Kent and Essex Fishermen's Protection Society, as to whether there was any objection to the Leigh fishermen landing cattle wood. In reply attention wa9 directed to Section 20 of the Foreign Animals Order of 1903, and on further inquiry being made as to whether, if the terms of that section were complied with, cattle wood could be landed, it was stated that any considerable quantity of such wood that might be landed would be treated as wreck and taken over on behalf of the district receiver of wreck. The Southend officer also states that during the last two years only one instance of cattle wood being landed has come under his notice and, as in that case the quantity was inconsiderable, delivery was permitted after disinfection.