HC Deb 16 December 1937 vol 330 cc1340-1
83. Mr. Palmer

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether, in view of the local anxiety felt regarding the increasing pollution of Southampton Water by oil and of the resulting damage, he can take any steps to prevent the continuance of this practice?

The President of the Board of Trade (Mr. Oliver Stanley)

The Oil in Navigable Waters Act, 1922, provides that proceedings in respect of a discharge of oil within the waters of a harbour cannot be instituted except by the appropriate harbour authority. The Southampton Harbour Board have arranged for the crews of their patrol boats to maintain a careful look-out for any discharge of oil, and have offered a reward to anyone who produces evidence enabling a conviction to be secured. It is possible that the pollution to which my hon. Friend refers is due to the drifting of oil into the harbour waters from the open sea, and in this connection I would refer him to the answer which I gave to the hon. Member for Gower (Mr. Grenfell) on 9th November last.

Mr. Grenfell

Is not the right hon. Gentleman convinced by the widespread neglect of his warnings that something much more drastic should be done to prevent this filthy and destructive habit from being continued?

Mr. Stanley

As I said in the original answer, when it is a question of oil outside territorial waters, nothing can be done without the effective co-operation of all the big maritime nations, and that is what we are trying to get through the Convention.

Sir John Haslam

Would it not be much better to encourage the trade at Liverpool, where no complaints of this description arise?