HC Deb 09 June 1961 vol 641 cc1572-88

Section five of the principal Act (which empowers a river board to make byelaws as respects any stream or part of a stream in their area as appears to them expedient) shall be read and have effect as if in place of paragraph (c) thereof there were substituted the following paragraph:— (c) for requiring vessels kept or used on the stream to be provided with sanitary appliances from which polluting matter cannot be passed into the stream".—[Mr. Kimball.]

Brought up, and read the First time.

11.59 a.m.

Mr. Marcus Kimball (Gainsborough)

I beg to move, That the Clause be read a Second time.

This new Clause is specifically designed to strengthen the hand of my hon. Friend the Member for the City of Chester (Mr. Temple) to make his Bill, which he has successfully piloted thus far, much more effective. There is a very real flaw in Section 5 (1, c) of the main Act, the Act of 1951, which gives a river board power for prohibiting or regulating the keeping or use on the stream of vessels provided with sanitary appliances from which polluting matter passes or can pass into the stream. There is a very obvious defect there. There is nothing to say that the polluting matter cannot be tipped straight out over the side of the vessel, which means that it is possible for such vessels to get round those provisions. If this new Clause is accepted, it will be possible for a river board to insist that all vessels using that river shall have the proper type of sanitary equipment, and equipment for dealing with their effluent.

I realise that many owners of small boats may consider this an unecessary imposition and expense, but I hope that by the time the Bill has been dealt with in another place it may have proved possible to work out a formula that limits the scope of the new Clause to, say, two-berth cabin cruisers, or boats on which people live, or spend the night.

This is a very large Measure for a private Member to introduce, but my hon. Friend the Member for Chester has shown great ability in meeting the interests concerned, and getting agreement with industry and with other people far beyond the normal range of what one could hope in such circumstances. I shall have more to say on that on Third Reading, because I cannot help feeling that the Government have not been altogether fair to my hon. Friend in making him do all this work. I am sure that we will be able to get a definition that will meet the interests of the owners of yachts and small boats.

In framing this new Clause, I have had very much in mind the damage that can be caused by boats discharging effluent into a river that the river board has over a period of fourteen months or so improved and made healthier. I think, in particular, of the area represented by the hon. Member for Lincoln (Mr. de Freitas), where, because of the dense population and the housing difficulties in the North Midlands and other nearby areas, one finds a mass of houseboats more or less permanently moored to the banks of the River Trent above the locks. Every time the locks are opened, all the pollution from these boats, moored in practically static water, gets pushed into the river.

I know that effluent from boats cannot do a great deal of harm when dispersed over a considerable expanse of water, but there may be a most concentrated block of effluent of this type—built up, perhaps, over quite a period—suddenly pushed into a river which people have stocked with fish, at some considerable expense, and in which they are accustomed to bathe.

We should be able to provide this public health safeguard without inflicting too great hardship on the owners of boats, and I hope that my hon. Friend will be able to accept this new Clause which, I think, is constructive and will help the river boards in their administration of the rivers.

Mr. John Wells (Maidstone)

Since Second Reading, when I, and, I think, the hon. Member for Lincoln (Mr. de Freitas), both tended to support the idea contained in the new Clause, I have had very considerable second thoughts. My reasons are quite simple. Large numbers of boat owners would be put to vast and most unreasonable inconvenience if this new Clause were accepted.

I have the welfare of the Bill very much at heart—I want to see cleaner rivers—but the implications here are very far-reaching. My hon. Friend the Member for Gainsborough (Mr. Kimball) has just said that it might be possible to clamp down particularly on cabin cruisers and boats on which people live. That would mean that the entire boat-hiring industry on the Norfolk Broads and, in my own constituency, on the Medway, would be vitally affected, and its costs increased out of all proportion to the amount of effluent discharged.

By the Bill, and by the main Act, we seek to make real strides forward in preventing the discharge of industrial and substantial urban sewage effluent. My hon. Friend has mentioned the number of houseboats moored on the Trent as a result of housing difficulties in the North Midlands and elsewhere, but these small areas can perfectly well be dealt with by the byelaws of individual river boards. The Thames Conservancy has extremely strict regulations which are universally adhered to, and I think that the powers given to river boards by the existing Statute are perfectly satisfactory.

The cruiser-hire industry is growing because of the increasing popularity of the sport of boating in all its forms, and this new Clause would adversely affect boat design. Our boat designs are among the finest in the world—and I am glad to see with us this morning the hon. Member for Loughborough (Mr. Cronin), the Commodore of the House of Commons Yacht Club, who will, no doubt, have an interest in this matter.

Our boat designs are getting better every year, but if every cabin cruiser has to be fitted with a particularly cumbersome sanitary device, as opposed to the ordinary commercial types with which we are all familiar, many small industrial units will face great problems. Boat yards are small industrial units, and if such regulations are brought in it may well be that these people will break them, either in innocence or ignorance, and it would be most unfortunate if they were to be prosecuted. Again, I suggest that the very small amount of effluent discharged from a few boats into certain streams is really nothing compared with the vast amount of industrial and urban sewage.

There is another aspect of boat design. I do not know whether my hon. Friend has visited recent boat shows, but if he has he will know that at them one can see the excellent sanitary arrangements in boats designed in America, Scandinavia and other European countries. We are progressing in the same way, and I would deplore any retrograde step.

I emphasise that I do not wish my hon. Friend the Member for Chester (Mr. Temple) to have his Bill weakened in any way, but as I believe that river boards have adequate powers under the existing Act, and as to my own certain knowledge river boards are even now seeking to make orders under that Act, I hope that after further consideration my hon. Friend will withdraw his new Clause.

Mr. Geoffrey de Freitas (Lincoln)

The hon. Member for Maidstone (Mr. J. Wells) referred to me, and to something I said, following him, on Second Reading. Although the general idea contained in the new Clause is good, and all of us who are interested in rivers and inland waterways can accept it, we must look carefully at the Clause. I will not seek to go into the details of definition of the vessels likely to be affected, but a very important point, flowing directly from what the hon. Member for Maidstone has just said, is that this provision would be quite useless unless on the rivers, on the Broads—and, indeed, on the canals —sanitary points were provided where the Elsans could be emptied.

The Thames Conservancy has set a good example in this, and I hope that other authorities will follow it, because anglers, pleasure boaters and swimmers want clean rivers, to which they are entitled. There is still much truth in the gibe that rivers in some parts are becoming useless for some purposes. To adopt a North American phrase, they are too thick to drink and too thin to plough. Parliament has recognised this problem, and we are tackling it.

Rather than our having this new Clause added to the Bill, I hope that the Minister—it is a matter for him rather than for the hon. Member for the City of Chester (Mr. Temple)—will say that he will encourage river boards and other authorities to set up sanitary points so that if a boat builder or boat owner wants to install one of these pieces of equipment he will have places to empty it. If one is navigating on the Thames and goes from the Thames to a canal, one is then in a difficult position. If people move into waterways where sanitary points do not exist they meet a problem, and this is certainly becoming a problem on large distances of our inland waterways.

Although I appreciate what the problems are, I trust that the hon. Member will not press his proposed Clause. I hope that the Minister will give some indication of encouragement to river boards and other authorities to set up sanitary points so that if owners and builders want to instal such equipment they may do so.

Dr. Alan Glyn (Clapham)

It has already been made clear that if the proposed Clause were put into effect it might have an adverse effect on our boat building industry, which is now becoming an important export industry.

There is the further point of what will be the position in regard to sea-going craft, which are not normally equipped with such facilities, when they go up river. If the Clause were put into operation, it seems to me that they would either be prohibited from going up a river or might be causing an offence. This is a matter of considerable interest, and I should like an assurance on the point.

It may be true that the river-going craft make use of large rivers where there are already effective rules and regulations issued in respect of this type of offence, but there is a point to be considered as to whether, if the proposed Clause is incorporated in the Bill, this provision might override the powers of the river boards and make it an offence for a sea-going craft without sanitary provisions going up a river.

12.15 p.m.

Mr. Leslie Hale (Oldham, West)

The House has been presented with a Bill of considerable detail, on which the hon. Member for the City of Chester (Mr. Temple) must have spent a good deal of effort. We have to bear in mind that we have not very much time available, and we have to take some notice of the work that he has done and the provisions which he has submitted.

The hon. Member for Gainsborough (Mr. Kimball) said two things in particular in moving the proposed Clause. He said that the main body of the public have to be protected by penal legislation from the errors of a very small minority. I get tired of this. All these measures mean more people being subjected to criminal prosecutions. We have proposals for a fine of £1,000 or a fine of £1,000 and three months' imprisonment. It seems to me that these are likely to be prosecutions against eminently respectable people for an act which may be an error of judgment, and in my view this is to be deplored.

Secondly, this is the second Bill which I have heard discussed today. I was a little late in arriving. On the first of those we were told that there had been no Second Reading and that we might have it now. On this Bill we are told that the matter has to be considered very fully and that it may be considered in another place. The hon. Member said that he hoped that by the time the Bill got to another place we should have had so many discussions on this proposal that we should have been able to sort it out and provide something more sensible. That may sometimes be to an extent forced on us perhaps for the convenience of the overworked Parliamentary machine in getting into gear, but it is not a very happy position for the House to face.

There is a good deal of the reactionary in me, and I have great sympathy with the point of view of the farmer who returned from a brief holiday on the south coast, went down to the end of the field, leaned over the edge of the pig-sty, took a deep breath and said, "Pig muck-fine!" I have tried these things on motor boats. I have had the privilege of being in both kinds of motor boat. I think that the stink of a chemical closet is about the most objectionable smell I have had to encounter and live with. However, I am prepared to subordinate my interests in this matter to those of the fishermen who want their waters reasonably unpolluted.

My hon. Friend the Member for Lincoln (Mr. de Freitas), however, made a case on this, that before we drag people to the petty sessions the river boards themselves might take a few steps to help. Also, where we introduce legislation of a penal nature, it might be wise to start off with some useful and sensible point like the construction of new boats.

This provision is seeking to put a heavy burden on some decent people who usually behave and who have invested their money in this form of sport. This is a very pleasant form of sport. It is one which a man and his wife and a couple of kids can enjoy. It is a sport which can keep a family together. Yet we are saying in five minutes on a private Members' day in the House of Commons, "You must have this reconstructed. You have to dig out the existing arrangements and substitute a new fitting on the boat, or else you will be liable to a fine and imprisonment." I consider that that is imposing an unreasonable and heavy burden.

I do not profess to have any special knowledge of this matter, and I speak subject to correction and with due humility. When I was more interested, there were only one or two firms engaged in this. Any intelligent hon. Member who listened to the speech by the hon. Member for Gainsborough ought to dash out and buy a few shares in such firms because we are conferring a substantial benefit on them if we pass the Clause.

I should have thought that in these days this was one of our very real and growing industries which has probably made more progress than any other sporting industry of a comparable nature in the last few years. There is an organisation and there is the annual boat show. One can talk to manufacturers on the question of pollution and say "In considering design, let us all get together in the future and ensure that we are producing boats which conform to the needs of public health and to the general requirements of a Measure of this kind." Is it really necessary to bring out the police, the beaks, the river police and so on because a bloke with a boat cannot afford to buy a new one? He is getting pleasure out of it, and is not making very much difference to the state of the streams. The three or four hours' journey per week, which such a boat usually makes, will not add very greatly to the pollution problem. Nor is the pollution problem likely to be greatly diminished by a Clause of this kind.

The only thing I can suggest to the hon. Member is that he applies his own words to the Clause and says that as it has to go to another place, and, if in another place an Amendment has to be made to bring the Clause into line with the requirements, it has to come back here anyhow, so we shall have to discuss the matter again, it might be sensible not to bung it in now.

Mr. Harold Gurden (Birmingham, Selly Oak)

I support the new Clause, but since listening to the debate I have realised that there are reasons why it should be given a great deal of thought and why it might be necessary to leave the matter until the Bill reaches another place.

I have listened with great care to the opponents of the Clause. My hon. Friend the Member for Maidstone (Mr. J. Wells) said that it would be likely to cause inconvenience because people have no knowledge of the law, but that hardly weighs with me. I have very little experience of river travel, but I have been on motor boats on rivers and found that there are various notices on them.

Mr. J. Wells

There are notices on the boats on the Thames, but I am not aware of notices on boats on rivers in other parts of the country.

Mr. Gurden

I accept that, but I am about to suggest that there should be notices in all the boats. I see no reason boats when they are manufactured or repaired, so that people using the boats would know what was required of them, why notices should not be put in the

Of all the reasons why we should have the Clause, few are as important as that which I am about to give. A few years ago, a friend of mine in his thirties was bathing in a river at a place which was sidered to be reasonably safe for bathing, but he contracted typhoid. It obviously came from bathing in the river, for no other source of contamination could be found. The illness upset his life and his career. It was a very serious illness. I do not think it is the intention of those who have spoken against the Clause that such a case should not be regarded as more important than the objections to the Clause.

It is the type rather than the volume of pollution which we ought to consider. I accept what hon. Members have said about the likely amount of pollution if we do not have the Clause, but it is the type and seriousness of the pollution which matters. However careful we may be, there are cases when children can contract very serious diseases, and do so.

It is impossible for me, or for anyone, to say how much disease and trouble is caused by this type of pollution, but it is certain that there are many cases. At the moment, that is the only one I can quote. I have not made investigations of hospital and doctors' records, and I doubt whether they would be available to me, but I know of that one case. After the recovery of my friend, which took a very long time, he told me that doctors had advised him not to bathe in such waters, although many thousands of people did so. He told me that the doctors had said that there were many similar cases in most of our rivers all through the summer months. If we can reduce that risk by a Clause of this sort, there is every justification for inserting it into the Bill.

Mr. James Scott-Hopkins (Cornwall, North)

I support my hon. Friend the Member for Gainsborough (Mr. Kim-ball) on this Clause. I think that he was too modest when he said that it might require alteration. It seems perfectly adequate. Perhaps my hon. Friend the Member for City of Chester (Mr. Temple), who has done such tremendous work in bringing the Bill through to this stage, will tell us if anything is required in the drafting; but, on the face of it, this is a good Clause.

Hon. Members opposite and my hon. Friends who have argued against the Clause have nevertheless supported the reasons behind it. The hon. Member for Lincoln (Mr. de Freitas) and my hon. Friend the Member for Maidstone (Mr. J. Wells) said that it was not necessary because river boards could have the powers to deal with the problem if they so wished. That is true, but the point is that they do not, other than the Thames River Board and one or two others. The Thames River Board has taken the powers because it was so obviously necessary that it should. There has obviously been pollution from river craft, which is why the Thames River Board has taken powers to put sanitary points all along the river. That would be the answer on other rivers, but I have no reason to believe that other river boards will take that action.

Much as I like to think that the arguments we put forward will carry tremendous weight with river boards, we have no means of knowing that they will. If the Clause is inserted, perhaps with a slight alteration, it will have the exact effect which my hon. Friend desires and will deal with the problem.

The hon. Member for Oldham, West (Mr. Hale) made the point that this would cause inconvenience and said that the amount of effluent was small. With all due respect to the hon. Member, to whose forensic arguments I always listen with great interest, he is arguing the wrong way round. The very fact that there is this effluent going into the rivers and that it can be dangerous and is unpleasant, no matter how small the quantity, does not preclude the idea that my hon. Friend is right to put forward a Clause to prevent this pollution.

The hon. Member spoke of the farmer who went back to the pig sty and breathed the air of the pig manure and was happy and glad about it, but if the farmer were coming back from a day's harvesting and if he plunged into the stream to cool himself down and took a mouthful—! I am sure that if the hon. Member did it himself he would not like it very much. That is not the entire point. Typhoid and other illnesses have resulted from these discharges. It is even more necessary that provision should be made to stop this kind of discharge.

Mr. Hale

I do not like plunging into cooling streams. One has to balance off the value and service of the operation against the disadvantages. There were very few Elsan closets at Dunkirk. My boat was there, although not with me, fortunately.

12.30 p.m.

Mr. Scott-Hopkins

As the hon. Gentleman says, one has to balance these things. Are we to balance human life against upsetting a few people, which is what we might be doing? When I was at school we used to bathe in the Thames. The cause of it could not definitely be traced because this was a long time ago, but there was an outbreak of polio and somebody died. I am not a doctor, and I cannot prove that bathing in a river is sometimes responsible for these diseases, but if it is possible that that is the cause, surely it is right and proper that we should stop this pollution. We cannot, at the risk of inconveniencing a few, risk the lives of many.

My hon. Friend the Member for Clapham (Dr. Alan Glyn) made the point about sea-going craft being inconvenienced by going upstream. The Bill does not deal with tidal waters. I am sure that my hon. Friend the Member for the City of Chester will confirm that sea-going craft will not be affected by the provisions of the Bill if they are in tidal waters. If, however, they went further upstream, they would be smaller vessels, and in all probability would be the type of craft which spent the majority of their time on rivers. My hon. Friend can dismiss the possibility of inconvenience being caused to the Cunarders or ocean-going craft which go to Australia.

My hon. Friend the Member for Maidstone made a point about design. Surely we are getting things out of proportion. The hon. Member for Oldham, West also elaborated this point by saying that this would cause an enormous amount of extra expense, and that it was wrong to do that. He said that people who used these boats are those who are hard up—I am sure that many of them are—and suddenly to put on them the duty of having to change their existing arrangements would be intolerable. The argument that I used a few moments ago applies here also. If what they do causes danger to the public, then the fact that these people must change a certain part of their boats is no argument for saying that it must not be done. We are getting things out of proportion, because it is my recollection that it is cheaper to install these Elsan closets than the push and pull and flush type of lavatory. If my recollection is correct about that, the argument of my hon. Friend the Member for Maidstone falls to the ground, because it would be cheaper and better to install these Elsans in the first place. I do not think that the cost to those who have the wrong type of closet would be very great if a change were made, certainly not in proportion to the saving of life. It would be well worth while to make the change to avoid the nuisance which is caused by the present system.

I hope that my hon. Friends, and indeed hon. Gentlemen opposite, will realise that this is not something which we can lightly dismiss. I hope that when the time comes my hon. Friend the Member for the City of Chester will find it possible to add this Amendment to his extremely good and worthy Bill.

Mr. Robert Cooke (Bristol, West)

I join issue with the hon. Member for Oldham, West (Mr. Hale). Why should we as a country put up with this misery of filth, noise and nuisance because of a few thoughtless people? I hope that my hon. Friend the Member for Gainsborough (Mr. Kimble) will not withdraw the new Clause.

I support my hon. Friend the Member for Cornwall, North (Mr. Scott-Hopkins). The only thing wrong with his constituency as a pleasure resort is that it is sometimes made untenable by a few people who do some of the things which the Bill is trying to stop.

I hope that my hon. Friend will not be daunted by the arguments of certain hon. Members who say that we must not do this because it will upset a few people. So often nowadays a few people make the lives of others miserable. I do not think it would matter if on this occasion we made the lives of those few people a bit miserable.

Mr. John M. Temple (City of Chester)

I am sure the House is indebted to my hon. Friend the Member for Gainsborough (Mr. Kimble) for tabling his new Clause and allowing hon. Members to ventilate their opinions on this matter of growing importance. The fact that our rivers, streams, and canals are more and more being used by people for pleasure and residential purposes in crafts of various descriptions makes it important that we should consider this matter carefully.

I assure my hon. Friend that I do not think that there is a flaw in the principal Act in this respect, but I am glad that he is seeking to strengthen my hand in this matter. I shall go into this in some considerable detail, because I think that it merits a full examination of the present position. Before I do so, I should like to reply to the various points made in this interesting debate.

The Thames Conservancy Board has special byelaws for dealing with this problem, which I understand are extremely effective.

My hon. Friend the Member for Gainsborough drew attention to the possibility that a number of craft would throw over the side a certain amount of polluting material which would be deleterious to the interests of the river. In those circumstances, the persons who were perpetrating this nuisance would be committing an offence, because Section 2 (1) of the principal Act says: Subject to this Act, a person commits an offence punishable under this section:

  1. (a) if he causes or knowingly permits to enter a stream any poisonous, noxious or polluting matter.…"
That puts the situation envisaged by my hon. Friend beyond doubt in that it is covered by the principal Act.

Mr. Scott-Hopkins

Is my hon. Friend saying that any person who discharges polluting material into any river breaks the law?

Mr. Temple

Yes, that is the position, but I shall explain further aspects of this situation.

My hon. Friend the Member for Clapham (Dr. Alan Glyn) raised a point about sea-going vessels. The controlling Section in the principal Act is Section 5 (1, c), and if my hon. Friend looks at Section 11 (1) he will see that a stream is deemed to include any river, stream, watercourse or inland water…except that it does not include either:

  1. (a) any lake or pond which does not discharge to a stream; or
  2. (b) any sewer vested in a local authority."
The Section goes on to refer to the bed of a stream which is dry, but it makes it clear that the word "stream" applies only to inland water, and therefore the correct controlling authority in tidal waters would be the dock, harbour, or port authority concerned. Those are the authorities which are normally responsible for dealing with pollution from ocean-going vessels when they enter a port.

Dr. Alan Glyn

Presumably this covers them only in tidal waters. They would be committing an offence if they discharged pollution beyond the tidal waters?

Mr. Temple

That is so, because I have read the definition of a stream which differentiates between tidal waters and a stream.

I was glad to have the support of my hon. Friend the Member for Maidstone, (Mr. J. Wells), who speaks with great authority on these matters, and I know that he is in close touch with the River Boards Association.

My hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham, Selly Oak (Mr. Gurden) mentioned the danger of contracting diseases through either bathing in, or drinking from, polluted waters. That is a case for supporting the whole Bill, and not just the new Clause. The Bill is designed to bring about a cleaner state of our rivers and canals, and all those waters dealt with in the Bill.

The hon. Member for Lincoln (Mr. de Freitas), who has unfortunately left us, made one or two important points with which I shall deal shortly. I am glad to affirm, for the benefit of the hon. Member for Oldham, West (Mr. Hale), that the Bill has had a fairly thorough examination at all stages. I am also glad to inform him that river boards have powers—which they have not so far used—to make byelaws to deal with this situation. My hon. Friend the Member for Cornwall, North (Mr. Scott-Hopkins) said that there could be a drafting error in the Clause. It was not my intention to say so, but since my hon. Friend has mentioned the possibility I can confirm that there is such an error in it, in that it should refer to Section 5 (1) of the principal Act, instead of merely to Section 5. But I do not seek to resist it merely because it has that drafting error in it.

I now turn to the principal arguments for and against the Clause. There is no evidence that Section 5 (1, c) of the principal Act is inadequate. I have held a number of conferences and consultations with the River Boards Association and that Association has never indicated that it thought that the byelaw-making powers were inadequate. One hon. Member drew attention to the fact that two river boards had made application to my right hon. Friend the Minister of Housing and Local Government for byelaw-making powers; in fact, I understand that only one has made such an application, but that another is contemplating doing so. None of the river boards regards the byelaw-making powers as inadequate. I shall seek to show that the provision in the 1951 Act, although it has never been operated, will be effective if it is operated.

The hon. Member for Lincoln pointed out that the word "vessel" would need some definition, and he is right. Unless that word is defined we shall get into difficulties, because it would mean that all skiffs, punts or collapsible boats of the kind one sees being taken round the countryside on the roof racks of motor cars would require special appliances. I am sure that my hon. Friend did not mean to go as far as that. I imagine that he seeks to require all vessels which will traverse streams to carry a type of Elsan closet, from which there is no means of pulling a plug and letting the effluent go into the stream.

We are here dealing with pleasure craft, in which a certain amount of washing-up water or dishwater is necessarily used. Glasses have to be washed after people have been enjoying a nice picnic, for instance. That water is not of a very noxious or polluting nature, and if the Clause were accepted as it is it would be impossible for a pleasure boat owner to get rid of his dishwater in the way to which he has been accustomed. For those reasons pleasure boats would be inhibited.

I drew attention to Section 5 (1, c) of the principal Act because that is the Section which gives the river boards byelaw-making powers. It provides that a river board may make byelaws: for prohibiting or regulating the keeping or use on the stream of vessels provided with sanitary appliances from which polluting matter passes or can pass into the stream. The important word is "regulating". The hon. Member for Lincoln pointed out that the Thames Conservancy Board has sanitary points situated at various places along the banks of the Thames, and I understand that they are extremely effective and valuable. The word "regulating" is designed to give river boards the power, if they wish to do so, to act in the same way as the Thames Conservancy Board acts in this connection.

12.45 p.m.

One hon. Member said that river bords might be encouraged to use these byelaw-making powers. As a result of this debate the news will probably go out that Members are concerned about river boards making application for byelaw-making powers, and to that extent the debate has been valuable.

The existing subsection of the 1951 Act gives boards the power to prohibit the use of vessels which do not have a satisfactory sanitary appliance. For all the reasons that I have given I believe that that subsection is effective enough. If it is used, I can see no reason for compelling any vessel to carry sanitary appliances, and if my hon. Friend thinks about this I hope that he will agree with me. Certain yachting interests have written to me expressing grave concern over the new Clause, and those interests are very responsible ones. I have had no representations from the River Boards Association in the matter, and I hope that, having heard my explanation, and my assurance that the present powers are adequate in the view of the Association, my hon. Friend will feel able to seek leave to withdraw his Motion.

Mr. Kimball

I hope that hon. Members will appreciate that in approaching the new Clause I did so with the same logic as that with which Jorrocks approached the problem of fox hunting. He said: It ar'n't that I loves the fox less, but that I loves the ound more. It is not that I am against pleasure craft and boating, but that I am more concerned for the fishermen and public health. Nevertheless, in view of what my hon. Friend has said about the powers which river boards already have, and the fact that they are satisfied with them as laid down in Section 5 of the principal Act—and with the reservation that I hope that my hon. Friend will realise that washing up in Daz and some of the other new soap powders can be as damaging as any other kind of effluent from boats—I beg to ask leave to withdraw the Motion.

Motion and Clause, by leave, withdrawn.