HC Deb 18 October 1972 vol 843 cc248-9
15. Mr. Eadie

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he is satisfied that local authorities have sufficient powers under the planning Acts to deal with problems of pollution; and if he will make a statement.

The Secretary of State for the Environment (Mr. Peter Walker)

The purpose of the planning Acts is to secure the proper use of land, but I am satisfied that local authorities can use them effectively to avoid creating new problems of pollution. I shall shortly be issuing advice to local authorities about the use of planning powers in relation to both noise and clean air.

Mr. Eadie

Will the right hon. Gentleman tell the House how many local authorities have contacted him on this matter? Will he agree that many citizens are concerned about the implementation of existing planning Acts and are also concerned that not enough has been done to carry through the battle against pollution?

Mr. Walker

Yes, I agree with the hon. Gentleman that more could be done. Certainly my Department in its regional offices is very much involved with local authorities in trying to show them the best way to use planning powers to reduce pollution in every form.

Mr. Bob Brown

Will the Secretary of State accept that there is already legislation to deal with one of the worst forms of pollution—namely that of litter? Will he consider having words with his right hon. Friend the Home Secretary about cracking down on the whole problem of litter and bringing some prosecutions, attended by full publicity lest we have the reputation of becoming the filthiest nation in the world?

Mr. Walker

I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for raising this matter and I agree with what he said. I have had talks with the Home Secretary on this topic. The "Keep Britain Tidy" campaign is doing more at present than it has ever done before and I hope that nationally we can improve substantially the present situation.