HC Deb 18 June 1959 vol 607 c630
16. Mr. G. Jeger

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he will ask all local authorities to inspect all aid-raid shelters in their areas; and if he will give them discretion to demolish all those deemed to be un suitable for use as shelters in the conditions of nuclear warfare.

Miss Hornsby-Smith

Local authorities are aware of the grounds on which my right hon. Friend is prepared to consider the demolition of shelters and he has no reason to suppose that a survey is necessary. As I explained to my hon. Friend the Member for Kirkdale (Mr. N. Pannell) on 11th June, my right hon. Friend thinks it desirable to look at each case on its merits.,

Mr. Jeger

Why does the hon. Lady and her Department persist in being so stubborn in insisting on retaining these unsatisfactory and unpleasant structures which are cluttering up many of the back yards which could be valuable open spaces for tenants and residents in the houses? Why will she not agree that these structures should all be inspected and that those found to be unsuitable for nuclear defence should be demolished? Is she not aware that another Government Department regularly refuses permission for even a small wooden tool shed or bicycle shed to be put up in a back yard or a garden, whilst the neighbours have to put up with these brick structures which were erected sixteen years ago, are now obsolete and are not required.

Miss Hornsby-Smith

I cannot accept the hon. Gentleman's strictures. Shelters in good condition would provide protection against the effects of nuclear weapons outside the area of complete devastation. For that reason we believe they form a necessary part of the Civil Defence programme. If any are insanitary it is for the local authority responsible for their maintenance to take the necessary remedial action.

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