43. Mr. G. Wilson
asked the Minister of Transport what steps are being taken by his Department to minimise the nuisance caused by oil washed on to the beaches round our coasts, particularly the north coast of Cornwall.
§ Mr. Maclay
I am most anxious to solve the serious problem of oil washed on to beaches round our coasts but my difficulty is to establish the source from which pollution arises. All complaints are investigated and action is taken whenever possible, but I seldom obtain adequate evidence on which to take proceedings under the Oil in Navigable Waters Act, 1922. Outside territorial waters, the problem requires the co-operation of the principal maritime countries. As my hon. Friend knows, shipowners of this and a number of other countries have, for many years, agreed not to discharge oil within 50 miles of any coast and masters and chief engineers of ships entering U.K. ports are notified of their obligations under this voluntary agreement and under the Oil in Navigable Waters Act.
My Department has recently made extensive inquiries of the authorities around the coast and other interests concerned and I can assure my hon. Friend that I am considering every means by which this nuisance may be removed.