HC Deb 27 April 1944 vol 399 cc934-6
54 and 56. Rear-Admiral Beamish

asked the Minister of Agriculture (1) whether the Fishery Board concerned was consulted before the Minister concurred in the suspension of Section 8 of the Freshwater Fisheries Act, 1933, by the Minister of Aircraft Production in Foundry Services, Limited, Order, 1944; and whether the Fishery Board and other users of water now have any redress in the event of pollution;

(2) if he is aware that, by Foundry Services, Limited, Order, 1944, the Fishery Board concerned has, without consultation, been deprived of its powers under Section 8 of the Freshwater Fisheries Act, 1923; in what other instances this Act for the preservation of clean rivers has been suspended; and if the Fishery Boards have accepted the position.

Mr. Hudson

As the answer is rather long, I will circulate it in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Rear-Admiral Beamish

Will my right hon. Friend bear in mind that if a river is once polluted it is very difficult to purify and that this pollution has raised a great deal of doubt in the mind of the National Association of Fishery Boards?

Mr. Hudson

Before agreeing to the Order, officials of my Department were satisfied that no damage to fisheries was likely to occur in this particular case.

Following is the answer:

I am aware of the facts in connection with Foundry Services, Limited, Order, 1944. The Fishery Board in question was not consulted by my Department before we concurred in the making of the proposed Order because the Board had already made its attitude clear in correspondence with the Ministry of Aircraft Production. The Order deprives the Board temporarily of any right of action in the event of damage to fisheries caused by effluents from the factory concerned but it does not affect the Common Law rights of riparian owners to take proceedings for nuisance of their interests are adversely affected. I am aware of only two other Orders of this kind which suspended the powers of Section 8. One was made in 1943 and the Fishery Board concerned regretfully accepted the position. In the others case the Order, which has only just been made, includes stringent safeguards to prevent damage to fisheries. A notification of its terms is about to be sent to the Fishery Board.