Atmospheric Pollution

Oral Answers to Questions — Hospitals – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 27th July 1959.

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Mr. Hasting:

asked the Minister of Health in how many cases he has had complaints of the discharge of smoke or sulphur oxides from hospital chimneys during the last year for which records are available; and what action was taken.

Photo of Mr Richard Thompson Mr Richard Thompson , Croydon South

Eight were reported to my right hon. and learned Friend by local authorities under the Clean Air Act in the year ended 30th June, 1959. In five, modifications have been made which are expected to prove satisfactory; in two, major reorganisation of boiler services has been authorised; and at one hospital tenders for a new boiler have been invited.

Photo of Mr Somerville Hastings Mr Somerville Hastings , Barking

In the cases in which improvements have been carried out, has the amount of sulphur dioxide as well as the amount of smoke been reduced?

Photo of Mr Richard Thompson Mr Richard Thompson , Croydon South

I would require notice concerning differentiation between the two kinds of effluent. Perhaps the hon. Member will put down that Question.

Photo of Dr Edith Summerskill Dr Edith Summerskill , Warrington

When the hon. Gentleman says that only eight local authorities have reported this condition, has he made representations to all the other institutions for which his Ministry is responsible that they should take action similar to that which he has described?

Photo of Mr Richard Thompson Mr Richard Thompson , Croydon South

The Question refers specifically to the case of hospitals, with which I was disposed to deal. The other institutions are, of course, under precisely the same sort of obligation to do all they can to mitigate any nuisance that arises.

Photo of Mrs Bessie Braddock Mrs Bessie Braddock , Liverpool Exchange

Will the Parliamentary Secretary pay attention to the fact that in some of these cases the medical officers of health would have taken action but for the fact that the hospitals belonged to the nation? Will the hon. Gentleman see that there is less delay in dealing with these important matters when the department concerned reports to him that work needs doing?

Photo of Mr Richard Thompson Mr Richard Thompson , Croydon South

I will certainly look into any specific case which the hon. Lady may care to bring to me. As I think she knows, however, the capital allocated to hospital boards for plant replacement is being used to a considerable extent to replace worn out boiler plant and to renew obsolete boiler-firing equipment with the most efficient modern developments. My right hon. and learned Friend has drawn the attention of boards to the desirability of keeping the requirements of the Clean Air Act in view in deciding how this money should be used.