HC Deb 07 July 1971 vol 820 cc1314-5
7. Mr. Arthur Jones

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what procedures exist for consultation between planning and river authorities, regarding the existence and likely growth of effluent discharge into river courses, having regard to the increasing demand for water arising during the remainder of this century from the implementation of existing development plans.

Mr. Peter Walker

There are well established arrangements for consultations on development plans and development control, but I have come to the conclusion that there are not sufficient, and that a more formal basis for consultation is, however, needed for development likely to cause pollution; and I am discussing the form that this should take with the associations of local authorities and river authorities.

Mr. Jones

I am grateful to my right hon. Friend for that reply. Are we to have a White Paper on the whole question of water resources generally and, if so, when is it likely to appear?

Mr. Walker

There will almost certainly be a White Paper on water resources, but I cannot give a definite date for its appearance.

Mr. Crawshaw

I believe that the right hon. Gentleman is visiting Liverpool in the immediate future, when he will discuss this problem. Will he be sure to read a recent report which seems to suggest that such is the volume of effluent flowing into the river, and such is the projected inflow, that not only will the river become hazardous but health in the vicinity will be endangered?

Mr. Walker

I am very much in favour of adopting controls and methods that will from year to year from now on ensure that our rivers are cleaned up.

Mr. Scott-Hopkins

Is it not absolutely monstrous that my right hon. Friend has forced the Trent River Authority to lower its standards of acceptable effluent because of the premature closing of the Yardley, Birmingham, sewerage works? Will he take immediate action to rectify this?

Mr. Walker

That is an interesting point, but I know that generally the pollution of the River Trent is improving substantially.

Mr. Blenkinsop

Does the right hon. Gentleman not feel that the action he needs to take is on the lines recommended in the Jeger Report on sewage disposal, which really gives us the answer to the future?

Mr. Walker

I certainly look upon that as an important report. We shall soon be publishing our comments on the Jeger Report.

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