HC Deb 18 March 1940 vol 358 cc1634-6
47. Lieut.-Colonel Heneage

asked the Minister of Supply how the process of drying swill or refuse, suitable for live stock, is proceeding among the local authorities, having in view the advent of the hot weather?

The Minister of Supply (Mr. Burgin)

So far as I am aware, Tottenham is the only council which up to the present has under consideration the provision of a special plant for drying stock-feeding stuffs. I understand that my right hon. Friend the Minister of Health has recently sanctioned a loan for this purpose. I have sent a circular letter to all local authorities on the question of the collection of waste foodstuffs for pig and poultry feeding, and my right hon. and gallant Friend the Minister of Agriculture has asked county war agricultural executive committees to collaborate with local authorities and inform them where a demand for such waste foodstuffs exists. Where the demand would warrant the provision of a drying plant, I have no doubt that the matter would be considered by the local authorities concerned.

48. Lieut.-Colonel Heneage

asked the Minister of Supply whether he has or will approach the city of London Corporation, with a view to their setting an example to all the London boroughs, none of which saves or dries swill and refuse suitable for livestock?

Mr. Burgin

I have not approached the corporation of the city of London in the matter; and having regard to the fact that the Central London area is covered by contractors who collect from hotels, restaurants, etc., and sell the kitchen waste for stock-feeding, I do not think that for the present any useful purpose would be served by so doing. The reply which I gave to my hon. and gallant Friend's Question of 11th March set out the arrangements between the county war agricultural executive committees and local authorities, and if I am informed that the demand for waste foodstuffs in the neighbourhood of London is not met by the arrangements in force at present, I will take the matter up with the local authorities concerned.

Lieut.-Colonel Heneage

In view of the fact that my right hon. Friend said that he was not satisfied with the system whereby the local contractors collect swill and other matters from restaurants, what further efforts are being made to let the city of London give a lead?

Mr. Burgin

What I think is happening is that a great deal of attention is given to seeing that all these arrangements for collection all over the country are improved and extended, and I have been very gratified with the increase in the response in the last few weeks.

49. Mr. David Adams

asked the Minister of Supply whether, with a view to further conserving the resources of the nation, he proposes to take action whereby the collection, salvaging and proper disposal of waste materials in their respective areas shall be undertaken by the local authorities of the kingdom?

Mr. Burgin

The collection, salvage and proper disposal of waste materials are already being undertaken by the majority of the larger local authorities throughout the country, and many of the smaller local authorities either have salvage schemes in operation or have under consideration the formulation of such schemes. The introduction of legislation to enforce such measures by local authorities is primarily a matter for my right hon. Friend the Minister of Health. I am keeping a close watch on the salvage returns of local authorities, and I am not satisfied that the time has yet arrived for the introduction of legislation.

Mr. Levy

If my right hon. Friend is not satisfied that the time has yet arrived to introduce legislation, how much longer will he have to wait, having regard to the fact that the position is, as he himself admits, unsatisfactory?

Mr. Burgin

Nobody would lightly think of introducing legislation at this time upon a complicated matter like enforcing by penalties the performance of a positive duty by a local authority if he could procure an increasing response to the collection of salvage material by voluntary effort, and the pressure of public opinion itself is worth far more than legislation.

Mr. Benson

As there is still a minority of larger local authorities doing nothing, what pressure is the right hon. Gentleman putting upon them?

Mr. Burgin

The pressure of public opinion upon a dilatory local authority that does not act up to its responsibility.

Mr. Benson

May we have a list of the larger authorities which are not doing their duty?

Mr. Burgin

I will see whether I can put it through in the Official Report in answer to a Question.