HC Deb 21 March 1940 vol 358 cc2152-4W
Mr. Cary

asked the Minister of Supply what progress has been made in stimulating the collection of useful salvage?

Mr. Burgin

I welcome this opportunity of giving a short summary of the position of the salvage campaign for the recovery of waste and dormant materials. The policy of my Department has been to utilise the widespread network of refuse collection schemes of the local authorities, and the ordinary trade channels of merchants, marine store dealers, etc., rather than to set up a new collecting organisation. A detailed memorandum was issued on 30th November to all local authorities in England, Scotland and Wales; and 1,000 of these, each representing populations of over 10,000 (in Scotland 5,000), were asked to make monthly returns showing under various headings the amount of useful salvage disposed of. The returns received show that the number of these larger councils who were doing some salvage work was 316 in November, 394 in December, 440 in January, and 497 in February (judging from returns received up to 19th March). There has been considerable extension during March and the number of the larger councils now operating salvage schemes in more or less degree is estimated at over 550, representing a population of approximately 30 millions.

The memorandum referred to has been supplemented by further circulars from time to time, dealing either with the urgency of salvage generally, or with some special aspect, such as waste paper and pig food. A campaign for the collection of scrap iron, especially from works, farms and estates, is being conducted by the Iron and Steel Control of the Ministry. In order to assist the authorities, my salvage department have held a number of district conferences, and have also appointed 22 honorary district advisers, who have given invaluable help in advising and helping with the formation and extension of salvage schemes in their areas. To aid councils in developing their collection schemes, we have enlisted the co-operation of several voluntary organisations, such as the Women's Voluntary Services, the Women's Institutes, and the Boy Scouts, all of whom are giving valuable voluntary service in a number of places. The Board of Education have also agreed to invite the interest and co-operation of schools throughout the country. While our appeal met with early response from most of the larger provincial authorities, there was some delay in some of the Metropolitan boroughs and the small urban and rural areas. I am glad to say, however, that the Metropolitan boroughs, with one exception, have all now introduced or planned salvage schemes on a more or less extensive scale. Complete or fairly complete schemes are in operation in 16 of the boroughs and are planned in eight others. Schemes dealing with a more limited range of materials are in operation in four of the boroughs.

For the rural areas, I addressed a request to all the Lords Lieutenant of the counties, inviting them to communicate with the local councils and the Press in their respective counties. Already about 40 Lords Lieutenant have taken the action requested, and I am glad to say that it has resulted in arousing interest in the counties. These steps have necessarily taken some time, but the movement is now widespread, and is daily gaining momentum.

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