HC Deb 16 October 1973 vol 861 cc15-6
19. Mr. Torney

asked the Secretary of State for Employment if his Department will undertake research into the connection between continuous industrial noise and the desire of those affected to make love, and into the amount of impotence caused by such noise.

The Minister of State, Department of Employment (Mr. R. Chichester-Clark)

No, Sir.

Mr. Torney

I thank the hon. Gentleman for that full answer. Is he aware that a recent report by German doctors stated that industrial noise can take away the desire for love-making and cause impotence? Does he realise the effect of this on family life? [Laughter.] Right hon. and hon. Members on both sides might well laugh, but does the Minister agree that factory noise is a serious matter and that insufficient research has been done on the general effect of noise on factory workers—not only on this point? Will he ensure that research is done into this matter and report back to the House?

Mr. Chichester-Clark

The answer to that comprehensive supplementary question is that I have seen the report to which the hon. Gentleman refers. We have been unable to trace the source of the report, either officially or through the Press, but it is believed to be West Germany. I have no information to offer the hon. Gentleman on that. Certainly, noise in factories is a matter which my Department takes seriously. Last year we published a code of practice in this matter, and consultations about possible legislation are continuing. The matter raised in the Question is somewhat emotive. If such an investigation were to be carried out—and we have no evidence that it is necessary—it would probably be best done by an independent body.

Sir John Hall

Is my hon. Friend aware that the volume of noise measured in decibels experienced in a discotheque is far greater than that which would be allowed by a factory inspector? So far as can be discovered, this has had no effect on the sexual virility of the young people taking part.

Mr. Chichester-Clark

I have no doubt that my hon. Friend is right. I have on occasion noticed some noise after dinner in this Chamber.