HC Deb 16 January 1945 vol 407 cc33-4
59. Captain Strickland

asked the Lord President of the Council what steps have been taken by His Majesty's Government to encourage research into the conversion of salt water into drinking water by demineralisation, evaporation or other processes; whether any effective and convenient method has been evolved; and whether it is proposed to make the fitting of the necessary apparatus compulsory on all sea-going vessels including their boats.

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of War Transport (Mr. Noel-Baker)

I have been asked to reply. His Majesty's Government have done extensive research into the distillation of salt water by demineralisation and evaporation, and apparatus designed by private inventors has been examined and tested. As a result, two types of fresh-water producer for life boats are now issued on free loan to shipowners. A third and smaller pattern for use in emergency rafts is in production. Sea-going vessels carry adequate supplies of drinking water for use on board.

Mr. McKinlay

Can the hon. Gentleman tell us whether there has been any protest from the liquor traffic against the provision of so much drinking water?

Mr. Astor

Is the Board of Trade using the filtering type as well as the distillation type?

Mr. Noel-Baker

This is not regulated by the Board of Trade but by my Ministry. We are using both types.