HC Deb 20 June 1996 vol 279 cc992-3
8. Mr. Flynn

To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what recent correspondence he has received from representatives of local authorities concerning Government policy on agricultural pollution. [32369]

Mr. Boswell

The Department has received correspondence this year from representatives of local authorities on a range of agricultural pollution issues, including the land-spreading of waste and recycling of farm plastics.

Mr. Flynn

Have not the Government's foolish deregulation policies led to contamination by muck flowing from the rendering industries, particularly in Ashford in Kent, where the products of the rendering industries, possibly contaminated by BSE, are now polluting the environment? The Government have been soft on regulation, and that has created pollution. Is it not right that the country will never again trust the Government to ensure the safety and purity of British food?

Mr. Boswell

The hon. Gentleman is entirely off beam. It is precisely as a result of our stringent legislation and the provision of the new Environment Agency that such matters—including the discharge of waters to agricultural land—are closely regulated. The case that the hon. Gentleman cites relates to treated water from an effluent plant that is discharged in the way that he caricatured. It is subject to all the regulations of the Environment Agency and, to the best of our knowledge and information, they are complied with in full. Any breaches of that legislation will be rigorously pursued.