HC Deb 04 December 1962 vol 668 cc1131-2
26. Mr. W. T. Rodgers

asked the Parliamentary Secretary for Science what research he is conducting into problems of overcoming atmospheric pollution of industrial origin, especially in view of the continued high incidence of bronchitis in this country.

Mr. Denzil Freeth

The Warren Spring Laboratory of the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research and several grant-aided research associations are carrying out research aimed at reducing at source the emission of fumes and products of combustion from industrial plant and furnaces. The Laboratory is also investigating the problem of reducing the concentration of these pollutants at ground level by improved dispersion from chimneys.

Mr. Rodgers

Does not the Parliamentary Secretary agree that, quite apart from the grave risk to health caused by pollution of this sort, the unpleasantness of persistent pollution represents a notable loss of amenities in certain areas? Will he take steps to draw the attention of his right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Trade to the results of this research, with a view to getting industry—and particularly the chemical industry—to adopt a more active approach to the prevention of pollution?

Mr. Freeth

A great deal of research is being done, and a lot is being done at the express request of the industries themselves.

Dr. Bray

is the Minister aware that although a great deal of research is being done it is mostly into the physics of pollution and not into the chemistry of the atmosphere? Is he further aware that none of the work which is going on on the chemistry of the atmosphere in this country is comparable to the work on atmospheric pollution undertaken in Los Angeles, which identified the cause of smog there?

Mr. Freeth

I will look into that point.

Mr. Woodburn

Is the Minister aware that scientific opinion is that the abolition of smoke may mislead us into thinking that we are getting clean air whereas there is a greater danger in the chemical fumes which remain, but which are not seen in the form of smoke, than there is in the complete pollution of the air, which is visible, so that the danger can be seen?

Mr. Freeth

I accept what the right hon. Gentleman says. In fact, our research is based on that premise.