HC Deb 02 July 1925 vol 185 cc2794-5
55. Captain GARRO-JONES

asked the Minister of Health whether he is aware that the River Lee, which passes through thickly populated London districts, is at present badly polluted with crude sewage; that the pollution is now worse than it has ever been; that the state of the river is not only offensive to the many rowing clubs which use it, but is detrimental to the health of the dense riparian population; that the powers under the Rivers Pollution Prevention Acts are, as respects this river, divided between the Middlesex County Council and the Lee Conservancy Board; and that most of the pollution originates from tributaries within the control of the Middlesex County Council; and whether he will consider the desirability of promoting a short Bill to make the Lee Conservancy Board the rivers pollution prevention authority for the whole length of the river and its tributaries, and immediately urging the urban districts in Middlesex and the Middlesex County Council, in the interests of public health, to cease discharging sewage into the River Lee and its tributaries?


I am aware of the unsatisfactory conditions of this river. I am not satisfied that it would be desirable to promote a Bill, as suggested. The right remedy is to obtain proper treatment and disposal of the sewage, and my efforts have been directed to that end. Two of the large local authorities are now spending large sums in improving their disposal works, and a Bill is now before Parliament for taking the sewage1 of two others into the London main drainage system. When these improvements have been effected, conditions should be very much better.


Could the right hon. Gentleman tell me how long he expects it will be before this nuisance is abated?


If the hon. and gallant Member will put down a question, I will try to obtain that information.


Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the proposal to take the Leyton sewage into the London system is at a much lower spot altogether than where this terrible pollution is taking place, and will he cast about for some other means of dealing with it?


If my right hon. Friend will read my answer, he will see that that is not the only method by which I hope pollution may be dealt with.