HC Deb 17 October 1972 vol 843 cc16-7
16. Mr. Dalyell

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will make a statement on penalties to be imposed on those found guilty of disposing of toxic substances into the North Sea

Mr. Anthony Stodart

As I informed the hon. Member on 16th May, 1972, my right hon. Friend intends that the penalties for dumping offences at sea will be in line with those for illegal disposal on land. Legislation will be introduced as soon as parliamentary time permits — [Vol. 837, c. 219.]

Mr. Dalyell

Why have the Government been stalling since February on this matter?

Mr. Stodart

There is no question of stalling. The hon. Gentleman asked me a Question in May and I answered him then. He has merely put it down again.

Mr. Eadie

Is the Minister telling the House that consideration will be given to the dumping of any effluent coming from nuclear power stations in the North Sea? Can he inform the House about that as well?

Mr. Stodart

I will certainly look into that. It is not, I think, a matter for my Department but I will certainly look into it and let the hon. Gentleman know.

Miss Quennell

Although the Question and supplementary question have referred to the North Sea, can my hon. Friend confirm that the legislation he has mentioned will affect all our coastal waters?

Mr. Stodart

I think that it will affect all dumping offences at sea around these islands.

Mr. Pearl

Are oil companies responsible in this connection? Has the Minister any evidence of this?

Mr. Stodart

I should like notice of that question. I think that it would certainly cover deliberate dumping but I doubt whether it would cover accidental dumping.

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