HC Deb 05 February 1963 vol 671 cc212-3
10. Mr. Fitch

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government and Minister for Welsh Affairs if he will amend the Clean Air Act to restrict the use of fuel oils to those of lighter viscosity.

Mr. Corfield

No, Sir. The supply of lighter viscosity fuel oil falls far short of the total oil requirement of industry.

Mr. Fitch

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that the heavier fuel oils emit far more sulphur dioxide into the atmosphere than lighter ones? In the interests of cleaner air, will he reconsider that decision?

Mr. Corfield

I appreciate the truth of what the hon. Gentleman says, but about four-fifths of the fuel oil burnt in industry is of high viscosity. If that were banned there would be not nearly enough low viscosity oil to meet requirements.

Mr. Fletcher

Does the hon. Gentleman realise that the London smog in December, which had such fatal consequences, was due to the emission of sulphur dioxide? Is he doing nothing to prevent a recurrence of this condition in the London area?

Mr. Corfield

As I think I have already told the hon. Gentleman, research is progressing. So far there is no real evidence that sulphur, without the combination of smoke, is dangerous to health. We are pressing on with our clean air procedure to limit the smoke.