HC Deb 26 January 1988 vol 126 c166W
Ms. Walley

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment how many reportings were made, and by whom, of the chemical smell which affected a wide area of the north of England on Friday 3 April 1987; what subsequent reports have been compiled; what caused the smell; which body within the area of responsibility of his Department had responsibility for dealing with it; whether there was any evidence to connect it with the dumping of chemical waste in the North sea; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Moynihan

Local authorities, the gas board, the emergency services, the Health and Safety Executive, Her Majesty's inspectorate of pollution and the media all received telephone inquiries about the smell from members of the public. Her Majesty's district inspector of pollution reported on the incident. I am also aware of a report in June 1987 by the chief environmental health officer of Leeds city council to the council's health committee. No action was required of this Department, other than the monitoring of the incident undertaken by Her Majesty's inspectorate of pollution. It has not been possible to identify the origin of the smell, but given the prevailing wind at the time and the extent of the area affected, it has been concluded that it may have been caused by illegal tank washing by a ship in the North Sea or an offshore chemical spillage.