HC Deb 07 July 1960 vol 626 cc682-3
23. Mr. Sydney Irving

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what consideration he has given to the proposals sent to him by the West Kent Main Sewerage Board and other sewerage authorities that dried organic fertilisers from sewage purification plants should be eligible for subsidy under schemes made in accordance with the Agriculture (Fertilisers) Act, 1952.

Mr. Hare

My Ministry has discussed the technical problems involved in these proposals with a number of sewerage authorities, including the West Kent Main Sewerage Board. At present no wholly organic fertilisers are subsidised, and there would be great difficulties in subsidising them because of the wide variation in plant nutrient content.

Mr. Irving

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that a number of sewerage authorities are having difficulty in disposing of these fertilisers because of the competition from subsidised fertilisers? In view of the benefit to farmers and ratepayers by way of rate relief, will the right hon. Gentleman give an assurance that there is no prejudice in his Department against this type of dried organic manure produced by purification plant and that he will pursue the matter more energetically?

Mr. Hare

I assure the hon. Gentleman that there is no prejudice. The difficulty is that when paying out subsidies one wants to know for what one is paying, and because of the varying content of this form of fertiliser it is much better to stick to our present arrangements.

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