HC Deb 20 December 1954 vol 535 cc240-1W
126 and 127. Mr. Bing

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Air (1) whether he is aware that, for a considerable period of time, a thick black smoke has been emitted continuously from a furnace under the control of his Department at Hornchurch Aerodrome; that no steps to remedy this matter were taken by the commanding officer of the station when approached by the residents affected; and whether, in view of the public need to reduce air pollution, he will take steps to see that at all aerodromes the furnaces employed are of an efficient type and that any defects are immediately remedied; and

(2) whether he is aware that, on 2nd December, a notice under the Public Health Act, 1936, was served in respect of the Royal Air Force Station, Horn-church, at the instance of the Hornchurch Urban District Council; and whether he will make a full inquiry into the circumstances which made it necessary for the Hornchurch Council to take this action.

Mr. Ward

On 24th November, the Hornchurch Urban District Council's sanitary inspector telephoned the station engineer at Royal Air Force, Hornchurch, and told him that in his opinion the station's central heating plant, which had been brought into use for the first time on 8th November, was causing a smoke nuisance. In order to cure the trouble, the station commander authorised a special issue of coke, the correct fuel for the boiler, from the station reserve on 29th November, and applied to the Air Ministry for a permanent allocation of coke. A petition, signed by Mrs. E. M. Barlow and other residents of Elm Park, was received on 2nd December, and on 3rd December a notice in writing from the sanitary inspector, but by that time the nuisance had already been abated. Authority from the Air Ministry for a permanent allocation of coke for the boiler was, in fact, received on the same day as the notice from the council. On 8th December, the commanding officer informed the residents and the sanitary inspector what had been done, and on 15th December the sanitary inspector confirmed that the smoke nuisance had stopped. The Air Ministry is fully conscious of the need for efficient heating plant, and since 1948 about £500,000 has been spent on a modernisation programme. The occasional instances of smoke pollution that occur are often due to difficulties in getting the correct type and grade of fuel.

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