HC Deb 21 January 1924 vol 169 cc521-3

asked the President of the Board of Trade if his attention has been drawn to the application by the Clyde Navigation Trustees to deposit during 12 months on an area in the lower reaches of the River Clyde over 1,000,000 tons of material dredged from the upper reaches; is he aware that in a previous case the deposit of dredgings in the vicinity of that area was interdicted by the Board of Trade; that the local authorities in whose areas the dredged material is to be deposited have no power to examine the nature of the material; if he has received representations from local authorities who are opposed to the proposal; and will he institute a further public inquiry before any action is taken in the matter?

Viscount WOLMER

The answer is a long one, and, should the hon. Member see no objection, I will have it circulated in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Following is the answer:

The application of the Clyde Navigation Trustees, to which the hon. Member refers, was the subject of an inquiry at Glasgow last October by an officer of the Board of Trade, assisted by representatives of the Scottish Board of Health and the Fishery Board for Scotland. As a result of the Inquiry, at which all the interests concerned were fully heard, it was decided to allow the Trustees to deposit, for a trial period of one year, 1,350,000 tons of material on an area in the Firth of Clyde to the westward of Roseneath Patch. This area is not the same as that to which the previous case mentioned by the hon. Member related, namely, the waters of Loch Long, and different considerations apply to it. The permission in the present case is subject to several conditions and stipulations, one being that no sewage or other offensive material is to be deposited on the area referred to or in any part of the river or Firth of Clyde above Garroch Head, which is identical with a condition imposed by Parliament on the Clyde Lighthouse Trustees in 1912. Another condition is that the permission is liable to withdrawal at 24 hours' notice if the Board of Trade are satisfied that the deposit is causing, or likely to cause, injury. The local authorities, who were represented at the Inquiry, have since made further representations to the Board. These have received careful consideration, and a full explanation of the terms of the Board's consent has been sent. Arrangements also are being made for an inspection of the foreshores on both sides of the Clyde by officers of the three Departments concerned, and a representative of the local authority of each public health area interested is being invited to be present. A record will in this way be obtained of the condition of these shores before the deposit on the new area, and their future condition could be compared with it so as to ascertain if the deposit could reasonably be held responsible for any deterioration. The Trustees have accepted the terms of the decision, and, having regard to all the circumstances, I am not prepared to re-open the matter as suggested.