HC Deb 16 December 1970 vol 808 cc1334-5
21. Mr. Wellbeloved

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what action he intends to take to ensure that sewage sludge is not dumped on open land a few hundred yards from residential properties on the Greater London Council's new housing development at Thamesmead; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Michael Heseltine

None, Sir. I am sure that in operating its disposal works the G.L.C. is mindful of its statutory obligation to discharge its drainage functions without creating a nuisance. Digested sludge, which is a harmless and substantially inoffensive liquid, was put on this land in an emergency, and I understand that the site would only be used for that purpose again if a similar need arose.

Mr. Wellbeloved

As that is a most unsatisfactory answer, would the hon. Gentleman do my constituents the courtesy of visiting Thamesmead and explaining to the tenants there that he will support the Greater London Council in depositing sewage sludge within 300 yards of occupied residential property? It is a disgraceful situation, and the Minister should be ashamed that he is not taking action to stop it.

Mr. Heseltine

The hon. Gentleman might address his remarks to the people who made it necessary for the sewage to be deposited on this particular land.

Mr. Ronald Brown

In view of the fact that the Greater London Council gave an undertaking to those of us who had discussions with it on its General Powers Bill that this could not conceivably happen, is it not a fact that it has shown us that we cannot take its word on any occasion? When its General Powers (No. 2) Bill comes up, I intend to stop it, because it has been thoroughly dishonest.

Mr. Heseltine

I am sure that the G.L.C. will take full account of what the hon. Member has said.