HC Deb 26 May 1950 vol 475 cc306-7W
Mr. Lambert

asked the Minister of Transport whether he is aware that the beach at Westward Ho is being contaminated by oil discharged from ships; and whether he will take steps to stop this nuisance.

Mr. Barnes

I have received three recent complaints of pollution by oil off the coasts of North Devon, but there was insufficient information about the origin of the pollution to enable me to take any action. A sample from this area examined last month appears to have been in the sea a long time and may well have come from a wreck.

The discharge of oil into British territorial waters is prohibited by the Oil in Navigable Waters Act, 1922, and I do not hesitate to prosecute whenever I obtain adequate evidence. Outside territorial waters the problem requires the co-operation of the principal maritime nations, but shipowners of this and a number of other countries have agreed not to discharge oil within 50 miles of any coast, and from time to time our shipowners and masters are reminded of this and asked to prevent its happening within that limit.