HC Deb 17 June 1992 vol 209 c887
9. Mr. Loyden

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what steps are being taken to reduce the risks of toxic emissions and spillages at Shell and ICI plants at Merseyside.

Mr. Maclean

When part I of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 is fully implemented, all the plant operated by Shell and ICI on Merseyside will have to comply with the requirements of the Act, and this will represent a significant improvement in the regulatory control of all emissions.

Mr. Loyden

The Minister will be aware of the appalling record of both those companies in relation to pollution through spillages and emissions. One of the companies has been fined six times and the other five times. Whatever the Government feel about the regulatory bodies, it appears that they are having no effect on those companies' disregard for pollution in that area. Is the Minister aware that there are many dangerous practices in some of their plants, about which the community is very concerned? As I have requested previously, will he make the reports of the Health and Safety Executive available in the Library so that we can see what its findings were?

Mr. Maclean

There have been some incidents at the Shell and ICI plants at Runcorn, but, in all fairness, the hon. Gentleman should point out the huge size of the plants and the complicated processes that take place there. The new regulatory regime which has come into force in this country, which is operated by Her Majesty's inspectorate of pollution—integrated pollution control—is revolutionary. It is the first of its kind in Europe and the HMIP is looking into all aspects of the processes operated on Merseyside. They will all come under integrated pollution control. The hon. Gentleman will see that, in time, it will have considerable benefits for all people on Merseyside.