§ 16. Mr. Michael McNair-Wilson
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment, what plans he has to strengthen the powers of the Alkali Inspectorate.
§ The Under-Secretary of State for the Environment (Mr. Eldon Griffiths)
The Inspectorate's powers are adequate, but my right hon. Friend has recently extended their scope by applying the Alkali Acts to a number of industrial processes not previously scheduled. My right hon. Friend is also increasing the strength of the Inspectorate.
§ Mr. McNair-Wilson
Can the hon. Gentleman say what improvements, if any, there have been as a result of the policy of voluntary co-operation between industry and the Inspectorate, and whether he is satisfied with the result?
§ Mr. Griffiths
Yes, Sir. In spite of the expansion of industry between 1958 and 1970, the annual emissions of cement dust diminished from over 100,000 tons to about 36,000 tons; grit and dust from electricity works from over one million tons to about 200,000 tons; and solid emissions from the sintering of iron ore from 85,000 tons to under 40,000 tons. I doubt whether any country has achieved such a considerable improvement in its industrial clean air policy.
§ Mr. Leonard
While welcoming what the Minister said, may I ask him whether he will consider directing the Alkali Inspectorate to make available to the public the data which it gathers on air pollution?
§ Mr. Griffiths
No, the Alkali Inspectorate works with industry and achieves very good co-operation voluntarily. I think it would be wrong to coerce the 1282 Inspectorate into revealing commercial information which is given to it in confidence.