HC Deb 11 May 1950 vol 475 c566
18. Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

asked the Minister of Health what inquiries he has now made as to the danger to health involved to bathers in the river Thames by the pollution of that river; and whether he can give an assurance that no danger to health is involved in bathing at any point above Teddington lock.

Mr. Bevan

I am informed that recent analyses of the river water show that the condition of the Thames above Teddington weir is reasonably satisfactory and that there is no reason to believe that the river is any less safe for bathing today than it has been in the past.

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

Does that answer mean that the right hon. Gentleman can assure the people concerned that there is no point on the river at which it is dangerous to health to bathe?

Mr. Bevan

We know of no one point but, of course, one cannot tell whether any river or any water is entirely free from bacteria, so we could give no absolute guarantee.

Mr. R. S. Hudson

Is it not the case that the effluent from works in Slough, for example, is still grossly contaminating the river above Eton?

Mr. Bevan

I dare say. It has been doing that for a long time, but that is not the Question on the Order Paper. We have made inquiries and we cannot say that there is any discernible risk at the moment, though that may arise, of course.