Action on this is primarily the responsibility of the relevant local sewage disposal authorities. In addition, most of the discharges are into waters coming under the control of the river authorities and must therefore comply with conditions prescribed by them. My right hon. Friend is prepared to con-cider sympathetically applications for loan sanction for any schemes designed to improve present arrangements.
While thanking my hon. Friend for that helpful reply, may I remind him that Welsh experts have recently claimed that, if this problem is not tackled soon, the position in the Channel could become very dangerous to health? Does he accept this view and does he agree that there could be a case for tackling this problem on an overall Severnside-Channel basis?
I could not entirely accept that view, but I assure my hon. Friend that we appreciate the problem. It is the Government's view that there is no case for spending money on costly treatment works when simple treatment can take place without harming the various interests involved. My right hon. Friend will continue to press individual sewage disposal authorities to take action wherever he believes that better disposal methods are needed.
While thanking the Under-Secretary for the assurance he gave about loan sanction, may I ask him to accept that the scale of work in some cases would impose a great burden on authorities, particularly those on the sea coast, and, to that extent, is there any hope of some assistance being given to these authorities?