Clause 4. — (Prohibition Against Using Explosive and Other Noxious Substances for the Destruction of Fish.)

– in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 24th January 1951.

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Photo of Mr Jon Rankin Mr Jon Rankin , Glasgow Tradeston 12:00 am, 24th January 1951

I beg to move, in page 2, line 19, after "with," to insert, "or without."

We have been dealing so far with a whole series of malpractices concerning salmon fishing. We have been trying to make it more difficult for gangs, commercial spivs and even the rod and line expert to take salmon from our rivers. These are all minor offences. While we are taking all these steps to enable salmon to increase, we are ignoring the greatest offence of all. We are ignoring the people who pour noxious substances into the rivers which destroys all life and makes these rivers both evil and unsightly, as well as offensive to the neighbourhoods through which they flow. This is a major offence which is being allowed to pass almost unnoticed.

I know that the introduction of these words would make a major change in the Bill. My right hon. Friend may say that this matter will be dealt with by another Bill at a later stage, or that the matter is under consideration. I suggest, however, that nothing but good could result if this Amendment were accepted. I know that many difficulties are involved in meeting its implications, but it would give sufficient time for the industrial undertakings adequately to deal with their effluent so that we can safeguard the fish life in our rivers.

Mr. McNeil:

There is hardly a word my hon. Friend the Member for Trades-ton (Mr. Rankin) has said with which I disagree. There is no doubt that this is the subject which concerns us all. It is a subject which, because it has not been properly dealt with in the past, is doing great harm to Scottish interests. Nevertheless, I ask my hon. Friend not to press his Amendment. He indicated that he thought there might be time for industrial interests to make the necessary arrangements to prevent the discharge of noxious effluent into our rivers. He will agree, on reflexion, that this Amendment is impracticable. He probably knows that there is a report available in the Vote Office which comes from the Committee that was set up under the distinguished chairmanship of Sir Humphrey Broun Lindsay which deals with this subject?

Mr. McNeil:

Humphrey Bogart might be able to deal with this subject more directly, but he would not deal with it so thoroughly as Sir Humphrey Broun Lindsay. We are actively examining this report, and I shall shortly be having consultations with a multiciplicity of interests affected by it and the Bill. There are not only the industrialists but the river boards and local authorities, as well as a great range of other interests, that must be consulted if we are to make a job of it. I can give an undertaking on behalf of the Government that we hope to be able to offer a Bill within a few months, and I hope that my hon. Friend will be able to see his way to withdraw his Amendment on that assurance.

Photo of Mr Jon Rankin Mr Jon Rankin , Glasgow Tradeston

I have no desire to short-circuit possible legislation, or to create a new Bill by the insertion of a two-word Amendment. In view of the very comforting assurance that my right hon. Friend has given, I beg to ask leave to withdraw the Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Clause stand part of the Bill."

Photo of Mr James Stuart Mr James Stuart , Moray and Nairnshire

I am sorry that it has not been possible to call the Amendment which stands in my name and the names of several of my colleagues. I am referring to the Amendment in page 2, line 19, at the end, to insert: (c) sells in contravention of any of the provisions of Part 11 of the Pharmacy and Poisons Act, 1933, or any rules made thereunder, any substances containing hydrocyanic acid, cyanides or double cyanides of mercury and zinc or any other poison or other noxious substance which may be used to take or destroy fish; or. The subject of this Amendment would appear to be particularly appropriate on a Clause which deals with noxious substances for the destruction of fish. Poison would seem to be particularly relevant in this connection—and I should have thought that a Clause in this respect would not have been out of order.

It seems to me that the present position in regard to the sale of certain poisons is somewhat lax in certain respects. Such poisons as cyanides can be brought from ironmongers and agricultural stores. We should be grateful if the right hon. Gentleman could give some consideration to this matter.

Clause ordered to stand part of the Bill.