HC Deb 20 November 1969 vol 791 c1497
18. Mr. Gwilym Roberts

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what estimates are available of the quantities of cyanide and other dangerous chemicals which are stored in London and other major towns and cities; if he will take steps to increase the safety precautions necessary for the storage of these dangerous chemicals, in order to minimise the possibility of a major accident; and if he will make a statement.

Mrs. Shirley Williams

Information on which worthwhile estimates could be made is not available. I believe that, in general, dangerous chemicals are properly safeguarded; but if my hon. Friend thinks that there are some particular problems which require attention and will let me have details, I shall be glad to study them.

Mr. Roberts

I hate to disagree with my hon. Friend, but is she aware that many experts feel that there are enough dangerous chemicals stored in London alone to wipe out half the population of Great Britain? Can my hon. Friend say when we can expect some developments from the Home Office committee which is looking into the question of the control and transportation of dangerous chemicals?

Mrs. Williams

I hate to have my hon. friend disagree with me, but the powers of my right hon. Friend in this respect do not extend to custody or to precautions against theft. My right hon. Friend's powers in respect of transportation and labelling are considerable, and there is no evidence that these powers are not adequate at the present time.