HC Deb 21 April 1953 vol 514 cc789-90
16. Mr. Rankin

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland how far the new provisions for maintaining and restoring the cleanliness of the rivers, inland waters and tidal waters of Scotland contained in the Rivers (Prevention of Pollution) (Scotland) Act, 1951, have been advanced.

Commander Galbraith

Last year my right hon. Friend sent to the local authorities concerned proposals for establishing 10 river purification boards in areas south of the Caledonian Canal. Formal orders have now been made establishing three of these boards; a draft order has been published for the establishment of a fourth; and one is about to be published for a fifth. Negotiations are at varying stages in connection with the five remaining boards and it is hoped that draft orders will be published for two of them in the next few weeks.

Mr. Rankin

Can we take it that the implementation of the Act is being speeded up, and is the Minister aware that there are protests about the fact that many rivers are now more polluted than they were before the Act was passed?

Commander Galbraith

My right hon. Friend would like to get ahead as fast as possible with this matter, but in some cases, and particularly in connection with one area, more than 20 local authorities have got to be consulted and agreement reached after that.

Mr. Wheatley

Would the right hon. and gallant Gentleman tell us which of the 10 boards fall into the respective categories he has outlined?

Commander Galbraith

Yes, Sir. Orders have been made in respect of the Lothian, Solway and Tweed areas, and an order has been published in respect of the Banff, Moray and Nairn area, while an order has been printed in regard to the Ayrshire area. The Dee and Don area, the Tay area, the Forth area and the Clyde area are still under consideration.

Mr. Pryde

In view of the fact that each year the annual reports show that the rivers of Scotland are steadily deteriorating, would the Minister not consider setting up an independent committee to inquire into the cause of such deterioration?

Commander Galbraith

I think the causes are well known.