asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Agriculture (1) if he will say at what price per ton the Corporation of Manchester is now selling its sewage sludge; and, in view of the decrease of the quantity of manure necessary for agricultural purposes, whether he has taken any steps to increase the supply of sewage sludge as a fertiliser from the London County Council or any other municipality; (2) whether, in view of the present rapid discharge of men from the Army and munition works, he will consider the desirability of giving immediate employment by causing the London County Council and other municipalities to develop schemes for the utilisation of waste sewage, and to hasten the construction of the necessary works in connection therewith?
I have been asked to reply to these questions. I am informed by the Town Council of Manchester that the present price of the dried sludge manure marketed by the Hirers Department of the Corporation is 53s. to 55s. a ton free on rail. The total weight of dried sewage manure sold during the year 1918 was 1,349 tons. This would not represent more than 8,000 tons of wet sludge out of the 264,000 tons produced. It is not within the power of my right hon. Friend to cause the authorities to which my gallant Friend refers to develop such schemes as he has in mind, but I have no doubt that they would do so, if convinced that the undertaking was a sound one. A small committee of experts upon which the Local Government Board is represented is at present looking into this question.