§ 15. Mr. Harper
asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government and Minister for Welsh Affairs when he expects to receive the seventh report of the Standing Technical Committee on synthetic detergents.
§ Mr. Harper
Is the Parliamentary Secretary aware that this Committee has been sitting since 1st May, 1953, a matter of 11 years, and that it has not yet found a long-term or a short-term solution to the problem? Is he aware that in Castleford, a town in my constituency, where the river runs right through the middle of the town, the position is deteriorating rapidly, and that not only the inhabitants are complaining but the members of the National Farmers' Union have said that this is affecting the feed of cattle on the grasslands? In view of the fact that the volume of synthetic detergent has increased by over 300 per cent. during this period, will the Minister see that something is done similar to what has been done in West Germany, and introduce legislation to compel manufacturers to use a soft-based material in the perfecting of these detergents so as to eliminate this problem of foam in the rivers which is causing such wide concern, particularly in my constituency?
§ Mr. Corfield
I think that that supplementary question has gone a long way from the date of the report of the Committee. The hon. Member is wrong in saying that the Committee has been established since 1953, for it was established in 1957. A very considerable amount of progress has been made. The introduction of soft-based detergents has reduced the trouble by about 50 per cent. Further experiments are going on. There are signs that even softer bases can be produced. The response of the manufacturing industry has been such that something like 70 per cent. of the total supply is now on the soft-based detergents.