HL Deb 27 November 1985 vol 468 cc966-7WA
Lord Melchett

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether they agree with the Anglian Water Authority that "a number of spillages, pollution incidents and surface water contamination have occurred" at the May and Baker chemical works near Norwich, and that "it is inevitable that such incidents will occur again in the future" and that "contamination on this site is unavoidable";

Whether they will confirm the facts reported by the Anglian Water Authority to the effect that the May and Baker chemical works near Norwich have caused "significant contamination of the surface water by a complex mixture of organic compounds as well as by heavy metals including mercury and copper"; that this surface water runs off the site of the factory into a nearby soakaway lagoon; and that this represents a threat "of possibly massive and toxic pollution".

The Minister of State, Department of the Environment (Lord Elton)

In the past there have been a number of pollution problems on the site of the May and Baker works near Norwich. These threatened but did not reach the River Wensum upstream of the abstraction point for the Norwich water supply. They resulted in discharges to the company soakaway lagoon. Following discussions between the company and the Anglian Water Authority, action has been taken and since December 1982 any spillages have been contained on site, or diverted to sewers for treatment.