HC Deb 02 November 1954 vol 532 cc188-9
14. Mr. Dodds

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Works, as representing the Lord President of the Council, what progress has been made in the preparations to take special measurements of air pollution if smog conditions similar to those of 1952 should again occur this winter; and the purpose of taking the measurements.

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Works (Mr. J. R. Bevins)

I am glad to say that detailed arrangements have now been made by the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research in co-operation with local authorities to measure smoke and sulphur dioxide and to identify other pollutants this winter in the London area. During any period of persistent smog, Civil Defence volunteers will help in taking measurements. In this way we hope to discover more about pollution and how it varies from area to area. This information will be helpful in taking measures to abate pollution.

Mr. Dodds

Does not the Minister agree that it has taken a long time—two years—to think of doing this, in view of what happened before? Will he say how many volunteers there have been to undertake this work? If there were smog tomorrow or next week, would they be able to get down to the job?

Mr. Bevins

The reply to the latter part of the question is definitely in the affirmative. As for the first part of the question, this was a recommendation in the interim Report of the Beaver Committee. The final Report is expected shortly.

Mr. Lee

Will the investigation also cover the possibilities of radioactive substances in the atmosphere, which may be having all sorts of detrimental effects?

Mr. Bevins

No, Sir.

Mr. Moody

Is the Minister prepared, as a step towards dealing with smog, to recommend that a condition of subsidy in the future will be that all houses should be fitted with grates which will burn smokeless fuel?

Mr. Bevins

That is another question which should be addressed to the Minister of Housing and Local Government.

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