HC Deb 03 November 1949 vol 469 cc80-1W
84. Mr. Bartlett

asked the Minister of Health whether his attention has been called to the increasing pollution of the five most important Somerset rivers and to the resulting injury to agricultural and other interests; whether he is aware that on two occasions his Department has refused permission to the Somerset County Council to institute legal proceedings in cases of serious industrial pollution; and whether he will cancel the present regulations whereby such proceedings may be taken by the county council only with his consent.

86. Mr. Collins

asked the Minister of Health if he is aware of public concern about the pollution of the five main Somerset rivers; and, in view of the danger to public health and the damage caused to agriculture, why, in two cases of the pollution of the Rivers Axe and Brue, he has withheld consent to the institution of legal proceedings by the Somerset County Council against the owners of factories whose effluents are causing the pollutions.

Mr. Bevan

I am aware of instances of pollution in some of the Somerset rivers. My consent to proceedings by the Somerset County Council has been withheld on two occasions since 1943 in order to enable practical measures to be taken, in agreement with the traders concerned, to abate the pollution. My consent to such proceedings is required by the Rivers Pollution Prevention Act of 1876. I understand that this provision has been under review by the pollution prevention sub-committee of the Central Advisory Water Committee, whose report will be available shortly.