HC Deb 02 April 1963 vol 675 cc213-4
5. Mr. Frank Allaun

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government and Minister for Welsh Affairs what steps he is taking through the Alkali Inspectorate to prevent the emission of sulphur dioxide fumes.

Mr. Corfield

In works registered under the Alkali Act in England and Wales the main problem is that of sulphur dioxide from major fuel combustion processes, for example at power stations. No practicable means of preventing sulphur dioxide emissions in such cases has yet been discovered. The Alkali Inspectorate's objective is therefore to secure the use of chimneys high enough to disperse the waste gases. This ensures that when the diluted emission reaches ground level the concentrations of sulphur oxides are below the threshold likely to cause harm.

Mr. Allaun

As no way of preventing these emissions has yet been discovered, will the Joint Parliamentary Secretary take note of the recent statement by Dr. Lessing, a father figure in these matters, that more money should be spent on research into sulphur dioxide emissions? Could not the Government spend a few thousand pounds on that?

Mr. Corfield

My right hon. Friend has had discussions with the gentleman whom the hon. Member has mentioned. I assure the hon. Member that the D.S.I.R. is currently experimenting in these matters and at the moment have a new dry process, but my information is that there is no sign of a breakthrough yet.

Dr. Stross

Has the hon. Gentleman noted that different heavy oils used for these purposes have different percentages of sulphur content and that the content in oil from the Middle East is particularly high? Would he consider whether some method of extracting a portion of the sulphur and putting a limit on the content in these oils could be achieved by regulations?

Mr. Corfield

I understand that the supply of low sulphur oil is simply not adequate for the firing of all the oil-fired power stations, but this is a matter which has been considered and is being considered.

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