HC Deb 16 July 1963 vol 681 cc315-6
14. Mrs. Slater

asked the Minister of Public Building and Works what precautions he takes to prevent the emission of fumes from installations controlled by his Department in the Palace of Westminster.

Mr. Sharples

Every effort is made to prevent the emission of fumes from installations controlled by the Ministry and experiments are at present being carried out with a view to making further improvements.

Mrs. Slater

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that there is an incinerator in this building in which rubbish is burned at certain periods during the day, that the fumes go into the rooms in this building, particularly in those rooms on the upper floor where the secretaries and the telephone switchboard girls work, and that these girls are constantly suffering from sore throats? Surely something should be done to avoid this nuisance in this building if the Ministry wants to get decent buildings elsewhere in the country. Can the hon. Gentleman say what can be done to avoid this during the Summer Recess?

Mr. Sharples

I realise there is a difficulty here. I think the difficulty is caused by the fact that the stack for this incinerator cannot be higher than the roof; otherwise it would make the building look peculiar. Our engineers are carrying out experiments at the moment and we hope we shall find a solution to this problem.

Mr. C. Pannell

Is not the hon. Gentleman aware that this is a long-standing grievance? It not only applies to the rooms where the secretaries work, where the smell is occasioned by the burning of garbage and all sorts of things on the ground floor; one cannot even go into the Library without the smell of fish and chips coming up from the cafeteria. This is a foul-smelling place. Is the hon. Gentleman also aware that the remedy to this nuisance has frustrated even the efforts of the Serjeant at Arms? What is his Department going to do to become alive to the inconveniences of this place?

Mr. Sharples

I can assure the hon. Gentleman that we are very much alive to this problem and we are carrying out experiments to see what can be done to get over it. I realise that this is a problem and we are determined to find a solution to it.

Mr. Robert Cooke

Is my hon. Friend telling the House that he and his right hon. Friend are unable to Gothicise the kitchen chimney?

Mr. Sharples

I think a Gothicised kitchen chimney would look very odd sticking up over the skyline here.