HC Deb 11 May 1971 vol 817 cc60-1W
37. Sir D. Renton

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food whether he will make a statement about the pollution of the River Great Ouse below St. Neots, and its effect upon the public water supply to places in the southern part of the Huntingdonshire constituency.

Mr. Peter Walker

I have been asked to reply.

I understand that on 26th April the Nene and Ouse Water Board received a number of complaints about the unpleasant taste of the water supplied in part of their area. They traced it to the river Great Ouse, closed their Brampton intake from that river and alerted the river authority. The indications are that the material which caused the taste was present in only minute quantities and, partly no doubt for that reason, it has so far defied indentification. It does not appear to have harmed the fish or any of the lower forms of life in the river and there is no other indication of danger to public health. The local Medical Officer of Health has been in constant touch with the Board's Engineer.

All signs of the pollution had disappeared from the river in two days, though it has taken a little longer for taste to disappear from some parts of the public water supply, and the Brampton intake was reopened on 28th April.

The Water Pollution Research Laboratory and the Nature Conservancy, as well as the river authority and the Board, who are primarily responsible in this matter, have continued with their attempts to identify the polluting substance and trace its source.