Only a few days to go: We’re raising £25,000 to keep TheyWorkForYou running and make sure people across the UK can hold their elected representatives to account.

Donate to our crowdfunder

Sea and River Water (Pollution)

Oral Answers to Questions — Ministry of Health – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 16th December 1957.

Alert me about debates like this

Dr. Bennett:

asked the Minister of Health if he will encourage the taking, and posting up in public of periodical bacterial counts of samples of sea or river water at locations where there is suspected pollution, together with indications of how such counts compare with the worst degrees of uncleanliness allowed in swimming baths.

Photo of Mr Derek Walker-Smith Mr Derek Walker-Smith , Hertfordshire East

I do not think that the posting of such information would serve any useful purpose. I am advised that, in view of the difficulty of interpreting such a count, the information would be misleading to the public.

Dr. Bennett:

Does not my right hon. and learned Friend agree that the apparatus for taking these tests exists everywhere; that the tests are, in fact, taken and very commonly found to be highly unsatisfactory, and that the only way in which the public can know that work needs to be done—if local authorities choose to suppress the results of these tests—is for such tests to be posted?

Photo of Mr Derek Walker-Smith Mr Derek Walker-Smith , Hertfordshire East

Though the mechanism of testing is there, one of the difficulties is that the conclusions can be assessed only by scientific people trained in evaluating the meaning of material of this kind. There are practical difficulties in incorporating such technical conclusions in a satisfactory way on posters exhibited to the general public.