HC Deb 21 June 1928 vol 218 cc1747-8
37. Lord APSLEY

asked the Minister of Agriculture the number of rivers in Great Britain and Northern Ireland that have been polluted to such an extent as to destroy fish life; and the proportion in which such pollution may be attributed to sewage, chemicals from industrial works, including beet sugar, and tar or oleaginous waste from roads, respectively?


For the purposes of the Standing Committee on River Pollution, a general survey of the rivers of England and Wales was made by officers of my Department, in conjunction with local fishery boards. Thirty-three rivers, with parts of eight others, were classified as grossly polluted and containing few, if any, fish. In many cases the pollution is of a complex nature, and the information available does not enable me to give the particulars asked for in the second part of the question. I would refer my Noble Friend to my right hon. Friends the Secretaries of State for Home Affairs and for Scotland for information regarding the rivers of Northern Ireland and Scotland respectively.


Does this include streams as well as rivers—small streams passing through agricultural districts?


As a matter of fact, they were divided into three categories, and I shall be glad to send my Noble Friend full details.


Will the Minister say what steps, if any, he is prepared to take to put a stop to our rivers being used as sewers?


The Minister of Health and myself have recently instituted a joint advisory committee on river pollution, and they are working in the closest touch with the Water Pollution Research Board, which has been set up under the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research to find the best way of dealing with these effluents.