HL Deb 07 August 1905 vol 151 cc332-4

My Lords, I rise to ask His Majesty's Government whether the present unwatered and unwashed state of the wooden pavement in the Metropolitan boroughs and in the city of Westminster has been brought before their notice; and whether the Local Government Board are able, and, if so, willing to take any steps in the direction of a remedy; and whether in accordance with the Public Health (London) Act, 1891, Section 29, the Local Government Board can induce the local authorities to cause the whole of the wood-paved areas to be watered instead of the edges near the stone pavement only, as is now the case, and to compel the removal of the refuse, not at intervals of several hours, to the detriment of public health, as is now the case, but continually all day long, as the present practice is in the city of London.


My Lords, I am instructed to reply on behalf of the Local Government Board to the noble Lord's Question. The Local Government Board have received no complaints as to the state of the streets in Westminster, but they have made inquiry and the borough council inform them that they do wash the streets thoroughly as often as occasion requires, the principal thoroughfares once every night, and all at least once a week during the night. It would be impossible to wash the streets during the day in consequence of the traffic. With regard to washing the sides of the streets only, that is the result of experience. It is better to wash the sides than to wash the streets all over when they are either of asphalte or wood paving. With regard to the removal of street refuse, the practice in all the important streets is to send round men all through the day to remove refuse, and in the less important thoroughfares the refuse is removed every morning. It is true that Section 29 of the Public Health (London) Act, 1891, makes it the duty of the sanitary authorities to keep the streets in order, and if they fail they can be summoned and are liable to a fine; but the Local Government Board have no control over the sanitary authorities in this matter. Looking to all the circumstances, the Board do not think they have any reason to intervene.


I am sorry to say the Answer which the noble Lord has given is unsatisfactory. This is really a question of fact. The refuse of the street is removed into the gutter, and there it remains for several hours, and in the hot weather the nuisance has become intolerable. This state of things would not be tolerated in any other capital of Europe for a single day, and, what is more extra-ordinary, it is not tolerated in the city of London. Why the city of Westminster and the rest of what is commonly called the West End should be treated in this way when the city of London is carefully attended to, I am quite at a loss to understand. In the city of London there is a practice of collecting refuse—


I must remind the noble Lord that he has no right of reply.


I thank the noble and learned Lord for calling my attention to that fact. I can only leave it in the hands of the Local Government Board to test the facts I have brought before them, and, if possible, to use their influence with the local authorities to remedy the matter.