HC Deb 17 May 1972 vol 837 cc516-7
21. Mr. Laurance Reed

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list the Acts of Parliament passed since June, 1970, which have increased the maximum fine for pollution offences, giving the average percentage increase.

Mr. Eldon Griffiths

The Oil in Navigable Waters Act, 1971, increased the maximum penalties on summary conviction for certain offences under this Act by a factor of 50. The Dangerous Litter Act, 1971, made provision in certain circumstances for the maximum fine to be increased from £10 to £100. The Deposit of Poisonous Waste Act, 1972, created new pollution offences subject to a maximum penalty of unlimited fine on conviction on indictment.

Mr. Reed

When does my hon. Friend hope to complete the review of penalties for pollution offences, and will the increases in the size of fines be maintained?

Mr. Griffiths

I cannot anticipate the results of the review but I can tell my hon. Friend that offences under more than 20 Acts of Parliament are being considered and it is my right hon. Friend's intention that the fines on summary conviction shall be increased substantially.

Mr. Harper

Will the Minister consider fining the people who are responsible for pouring waste into the River Aire and causing the foam at Castleford? We are talking about maximum fines, but these people are not fined at all.

Mr. Griffiths

The hon. Gentleman has discussed this matter in the House and with me on a number of occasions. He knows as well as I do that the industries in question are doing their best, in conjunction with my Department, to arrive at a solution to that difficult problem.