HC Deb 05 December 1973 vol 865 cc1243-4
9. Mr. Whitehead

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he is satisfied with the present regulations concerning lead additives in petrol.

Mr. Peyton

Powers to make regulations are included in the Protection of the Environment Bill.

Mr. Whitehead

Is it a fact, as some newspapers have reported, that the regulations are being relaxed because of the petrol shortage? Would not this be regrettable in view of the alarming statistics which are now coming forward about lead levels in the blood of people living near urban motorways, particularly at Gravelly Hill in Birmingham where the levels have doubled? Is it also a fact that automobile engines do not need lead in petrol if the petrol is properly refined? Ought we not now to be urging the manufacturers to make petrol safer, and not simply assume that in present circumstances any petrol is good petrol?

Mr. Peyton

I will certainly bear in mind the very important issues which the hon. Gentleman has raised.

Mr. Rost

Does my right hon. Friend appreciate that the public are less concerned about whether petrol has lead in it and would much prefer the Government to take speedy action to sort out the chaos in the distribution system so that it becomes fairer?

Mr. Peyton

I have no doubt that my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry will take note of what my hon. Friend has said.