HC Deb 08 March 1960 vol 619 cc225-6
23. Mr. T. Fraser

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland when he last laid before Parliament a copy of any report made to him by the Scottish River Purification Advisory Committee set up under the provisions of the Rivers (Prevention of Pollution) (Scotland) Act, 1951.

Mr. Galbraith

This Committee has not hitherto proceeded by way of formal report. Its recommendations so far have been mainly on minor procedural matters and have been informally brought to the attention of my right hon. Friend's Department by the Secretariat.

Mr. Fraser

Is it not rather a disappointment that this Committee, for which statutory authority was given in 1951, seems not yet to have given advice to the Secretary of State which he considers to be of general public interest, as a result of which he would have the responsibility of making a report to Parliament? How on earth are we expected to know what has happened under the 1951 Act if no report is ever to be published?

Mr. Galbraith

The Committee has been looking into various matters, such as treatment standards, particularly for industrial effluents, and measures for improving the operation of sewage treatment plants, and also whether a refresher course for the operators of sewage plants should take place, but these scarcely seem matters which would be of general interest to the House, and it is for that reason that nothing has been brought be-fore the House.

Mr. Manuel

As it was clearly indicated in the 1956 Act that we should have a report from the Advisory Committee and as the Secretary of State has not yet received one, what does the Secretary of State propose to do about it? Does he propose to leave things sleeping and get no report from the Advisory Committee which was set up so that we might get things moving?

Mr. Galbraith

I thought I had indicated that it is only if my right hon. Friend considers that the reports of this body are of such a character as to interest the House as a whole that he places them before the House. If they are minor technical matters to do with the treatment of sewage, which is what they have been, my right hon. Friend has not brought them before the House.