HC Deb 09 April 1973 vol 854 cc916-7
12. Mr. John

asked the Secretary of State for Wales what representations he has received regarding the need for legislation to prevent deaths by drowning in unguarded cesspits.

Mr. Gibson-Watt

None. But following two such deaths last year the Welsh Office wrote to all sewerage authorities in Wales reminding them of their responsibility for safety measures on their own installations and also of their duty under Section 39(l)(c) of the Public Health Act 1936 to ensure that private cesspits were adequately protected.

Mr. John

Does the Minister of State realise that there has recently been the death of a young child in a partially constructed cesspit? Does he not agree that there is an urgent need to consider further legislation because even two young lives lost so far this year is far too many? Does he not further agree that the guarding of cesspits which have been completed and those under construction is urgently needed to prevent these needless deaths?

Mr. Gibson-Watt

I join with the hon. Gentleman in regretting these tragic accidents. I do not believe that legislation is the cure. When the hon. Gentleman wrote to my right hon. and learned Friend on 28th October last he asked that the Welsh Office should draw the attention of local authorities to this danger. We have done this on two occasions since he wrote.

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