HC Deb 13 November 1991 vol 198 cc1063-4
3. Mrs. Irene Adams

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he plans to meet a delegation of members of the campaign for Clydeside against pollution.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Scotland (Lord James Douglas-Hamilton)

Neither my righ hon. Friend nor I have any plans to meet a delegation of members of the campaign for Clydeside against pollution.

Mrs. Adams

The Minister may recall that it is almost a year since I first raised in the House the matter of the proposed incinerator in Renfrew. Since then the community of Renfrew—and, in fact, the entire Clyde valley community—have had the prospect of a toxic waste incinerator hanging over their heads like a black cloud. Will the Minister now come to my constituency and meet representatives of this responsible campaign group to discuss the prospect of a full public inquiry into the matter?

Lord James Douglas-Hamilton

The Secretary of State has a quasi-judicial role, as planning matters may be involved and there could be a planning appeal to the Secretary of State.

Mr. Dewar

They should be involved.

Lord James Douglas-Hamilton

The hon. Gentleman says that they should be involved. I am saying that there could be an appeal to the Secretary of State and that therefore it is not appropriate to have a meeting. However, as I am conscious of the strong feeling that the hon. Lady has registered on behalf of her constituents, I assure her that before a plant can be registered for an incinerator it must comply with the emissions standards enforced by Her Majesty's industrial pollution inspectorate. Those standards must be in accordance with the Health and Safety at Work, etc. Act 1974 and the Alkali, etc. Works Regulation Act 1906. Over and above that, the Environmental Protection Act 1990 brings more stringent procedures into force in 1992 and will apply to the subject.

The hon. Lady also asked about a public inquiry. At this stage I can only say that, as the statutory procedures are being correctly followed in all respects, a public inquiry would not be appropriate.