§ 6. Mr. DODDS
asked the President of the Board of Trade whether any prosecutions have ever been instituted by his Department under the Oil in Navigable Waters Act, 1922; and, if so, under what circumstances, and with what results?
If the hon. Member will refer to Section 7 of the Oil in Navigable Waters Act, 1922, hr will see that the duty of instituting proceedings does not rest on the Board of Trade, although authority can be given by them for the institution of proceedings in certain cases. Such prosecutions as have taken place have, I am informed, been instituted by local harbour authorities.
§ Colonel ASHLEY
Have the fishery boards power to institute prosecutions as well as the harbour boards?
I am afraid I cannot answer that definitely. I have made a statement concerning the harbour authorities' position. In other cases application to the Board of Trade might secure authority.
§ 7. Mr. DODDS
asked the President of the Board of Trade whether, with a view to placing this country in a good position to press for international action, he will consider legislation to make it compulsory for British oil-burning steamers to instal and use apparatus for separating oil from oily water regardless of territorial limits?
I am doubtful whether the adoption of the hon. Member's suggestion would make it easier to obtain international agreement on this question of the discharge of oil, and a very strong case would have to be made out before separate action of this kind with regard to British ships could be contemplated.
§ Mr. HARMSWORTH
Is the right hon. Gentleman taking any action himself, as a great many places along the sea coast are suffering because of the oil that is thrown upon the beach?
§ Mr. GRAHAM WHITE
In view of the accumulated evidence of the increasing nature of this nuisance cannot the Department do something by reporting the case to the shipowners or other parties concerned?
We will do all we can first of all by seeing what international action can be taken—though that may be difficult—and, secondly, seeing what we can do to promote the use of various expedients to prevent this discharge.