HC Deb 08 February 1990 vol 166 c1004
13. Mr. Win Griffiths

To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will make a statement on nitrate-sensitive areas.

Mr. Gummer

We are well advanced in determining the agricultural restrictions to apply in the areas concerned, and are currently examining their detailed costs. An announcement will be made as soon as possible.

Mr. Griffiths

Does the Minister believe that there is more than sufficient evidence to show that nitrate pollution damages the environment and humans? Should not the Government introduce regulations to cut massively the use of nitrates in agriculture? That would also help to deal with the problem of surpluses.

Mr. Gummer

There is no evidence that the amount of nitrates in the water damages anyone—[HON. MEMBERS: "Oh!"] There is no evidence whatsoever. It is because we wish to take extremely tough measures that we have introduced those proposals. The hon. Gentleman should not make statements that have no scientific base.

Sir Anthony Grant

Is my right hon. Friend aware that East Anglia is one of the most nitrate-sensitive areas in the country, yet is the most healthy? It is much healthier than many parts of Europe and almost certainly healthier than Wales. Will he reject all the humbug and hypochondriac statements that are uttered about this subject?

Mr. Gummer

In the past few days Labour Members have attacked British apples because they say they are poisonous, and now they say that British water is unsafe. I am surprised that they do not emigrate and eat apples and drink water elsewhere.

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