HC Deb 06 June 1928 vol 218 cc168-9
15. Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY

asked the Home Secretary what Regulations are in force for preventing the storage of poisonous gases near large centres of population and what steps are taken to prevent their accidental release; if his attention has been drawn to the disaster at Hamburg where a supply of phosgene gas was accidentally released, with many casualties; whether he is satisfied that the Regulations in this country are sufficient to avoid any such danger and that these Regulations are strictly adhered to; and whether the police have a supply of gas masks available for use in the event of such an emergency?


There are no such Regulations in force in this country, and the considerable use which is made of phosgene and other poisonous gases in various industrial processes necessitates the storage of these gases in the factories concerned. The precise cause of the Hamburg disaster is not clear, but it is noteworthy that the container at Hamburg appears to have been of much greater capacity and therefore liable to far greater stress than the containers generally in use in this country. The chief safeguard against accidental release is that the containers should be of adequate strength, and the inquiries my right hon. Friend has made on this point indicate that the containers in use here have a wide margin of safety and that the position generally is satisfactory. An inquiry, however, into the storage of such gases is at present being carried out by a Committee of the Scientific and Industrial Research Department, and it will be necessary to review the situation in the light of their findings. The supply of gas masks to the police will be considered, but on present information this would hardly appear to be necessary.

Commander BELLAIRS

Can my hon. and gallant Friend give us any indication as to what quantity of gas was released at Hamburg?