§ 82. Mr. Leadbitter
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) if he will take steps to encourage local authorities to prevent industries from discharging polluted effluent in their areas;179W
(2) what recent steps he has taken to protect rivers and beaches from the polluting effluent of firms; and what discussions he has had with managements to encourage them to meet the full cost of disposal and provide alternative methods of dealing with waste products.
Local authorities control discharges of trade effluents into their sewers; river authorities control discharges into non-tidal rivers and some discharges into estuaries; and in both cases the dischargers have certain rights of appeal to me. Parliament having made the local bodies primarily responsible for these controls, I do not discuss waste disposal with individual firms, though my technical officers are sometimes present by invitation at their meetings with the local bodies. Furthermore, as the standard required of an effluent needs to be determined in the light of local factors, including the dilution available in the receiving water and its quality and subsequent use, I think that it must generally be left to the river authority.
There is no general statutory control of other discharges to estuaries or of discharges to the sea. The need for this and to make industrialists meet the full cost of treatment are the subject of recommendations in the report of the Working Party on Sewage Disposal, which I am at present considering.