HC Deb 23 July 1973 vol 860 cc1143-4
18. Mr. John

asked the Secretary of State for Wales what further action he proposes to accelerate the cleaning of Welsh rivers.

Mr. Peter Thomas

£88 million will be spent on improvements to sewerage and sewage disposal in Wales over the next five years. The creation of the Welsh National Water Development Authority together with the control measures to be proposed in the Environment Protection Bill will reinforce the improvement in rivers already achieved.

Mr. John

Does not the Secretary of State realise that the latest figures of industrial and sewage effluent for Glamorgan, for example, show an improvement of only 1 per cent. in the last two years? Does he not agree that a very marked improvement will be necessary before river conditions in South Wales, particularly in Glamorgan, which are among the worst in the country, become tolerable?

Mr. Thomas

As the hon. Gentleman knows, there has been a significant im- provement in the quality of Welsh rivers generally over recent years. I agree that it is very important that attention should be paid to the rivers in Glamorgan. The hon. Gentleman will realise that the Environment Protection Bill will contain provision to give greater control over trade effluent discharges.

Mr. Elystan Morgan

Is it not ironic that at one and the same time the Welsh Office is reducing the amount to be spent on sewerage schemes in the next two or three years in Wales by £21-million, this information having been given to a Committee of this House?

Mr. Thomas

The £88 million which will be spent on improvements in sewerage and sewage disposal in Wales in the next five years, as hon. Members know, is an enormous advance on anything that has been spent in recent years.

Mr. McBride

Has this expenditure of £88 million been, or will it be, in any way affected by recent cuts in public expenditure?

Mr. Thomas

The £88 million is the assessment that I make in the knowledge that there had to be a moderation of public expenditure in 1973–74.