HC Deb 13 May 1924 vol 173 cc1118-9
5. Mr. DODDS

asked the President of the Board of Trade if his attention has been drawn to the fact that a large number of dead birds can at any time be seen on the foreshores of the Wirral Division of Cheshire, and that these birds have been killed by the oil discharged into the sea by the oil-burning steamers; and whether he is prepared to take immediate action for the protection of the birds in this district by way of pressure upon the shipping companies to make use of all available facilities for preventing the pollution of the water or otherwise?


The Hoylake and West Kirby District Council have drawn attention to the number of dead birds on the foreshore, killed by oil discharged from steamers. The position appears to be far from satisfactory. The discharge of oil or oily water anywhere within territorial limits is forbidden by the Oil in Navigable Waters Act, 1922, which lays down definite procedure for the prosecution of offences. Unfortunately it is not easy to discover at what point the oil complained of was discharged. The use of apparatus for separating oil from oily water is increasing, and there is good reason to expect that it will continue to increase, but there is no power to make it compulsory. Probably the problem cannot be adequately dealt with except by international agreement, and I will take into consideration what further action can usefully be taken.

Captain Viscount CURZON

Can the right hon. Gentleman tell us if any prosecutions whatever have taken place, so far, by his Department in respect of the Oil in Navigable Waters Act, 1922?


I must have notice of that question.

Lieut.-Colonel JAMES

Will the right hon. Gentleman take steps to see if an international agreement can be arrived at on this subject?


I will consider what action can be taken.