Environmental Pollution

Oral Answers to Questions — Local Government and Regional Planning – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 18th November 1969.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Mr Tam Dalyell Mr Tam Dalyell , West Lothian 12:00 am, 18th November 1969

asked the Secretary of State for Local Government and Regional Planning when he expects to publish a plan to combat environmental pollution.

Photo of Mr Norman St John-Stevas Mr Norman St John-Stevas , Chelmsford

asked the Secretary of State for Local Government and Regional Planning what plans he has to protect the environment against pollution.

Photo of Mr Anthony Crosland Mr Anthony Crosland , Grimsby

There exist already extensive arrangements in this country for dealing with the various forms of pollution. But, as the Prime Minister has announced to the House, I am now reviewing the whole machinery.

Photo of Mr Tam Dalyell Mr Tam Dalyell , West Lothian

In this review of machinery will the Secretary of State set out what he considers are the financial priorities in the battle against pollution?

Photo of Mr Anthony Crosland Mr Anthony Crosland , Grimsby

If this turns out to be possible, but it is not very easy to set these priorities down in some simple order. When one is considering air pollution versus river pollution versus oil pollution on the beaches, it is not a simple matter to say that they should be put in a certain order, one, two, three. But, subject to that difficulty I should like to get a sense of priority.

Photo of Mr Norman St John-Stevas Mr Norman St John-Stevas , Chelmsford

Would the right hon. Gentleman direct his mind to the problem raised by sulphur dioxide pollution in the air? I understand that this is increasing as the smoke nuisance is going down. Is he aware that it not only erodes buildings but also irritates the lungs and aggravates chest diseases?

Photo of Mr Anthony Crosland Mr Anthony Crosland , Grimsby

The whole object of this review is to try to establish whether the existing controls are adequate, whether there are any obvious gaps in these controls, and whether we have sufficient resources at our disposal for trying to foresee future pollution dangers in time to do something about them.

Photo of Mr Fred Blackburn Mr Fred Blackburn , Stalybridge and Hyde

Can my right hon. Friend confirm that it is with his Ministry that we must take up this question of pollution of the atmosphere by exhaust fumes?

Photo of Mr Anthony Crosland Mr Anthony Crosland , Grimsby

No, Sir. There are a number of Ministers with statutory responsibilities, housing, transport, agriculture and trade. It will remain their task to carry out their statutory responsibilities under existing laws. It is my task to try to decide whether the entire central machinery for dealing with existing, or as I would hope future, pollution problems is adequate.

Photo of Mr David Renton Mr David Renton , Huntingdonshire

Would the right hon. Gentleman agree that prevention of pollution will become more difficult as the country becomes further urbanised and more over-populated?

Photo of Mr Anthony Crosland Mr Anthony Crosland , Grimsby

Yes, Sir. I have no doubt at all that with the growth both of population and of general mechanisation the pollution problem will become steadily worse, unless we for our part increase our measures for coping with it.

Photo of Mr Gordon Campbell Mr Gordon Campbell , Moray and Nairnshire

What consultations has the right hon. Gentleman had on this with the Secretary of State for Scotland, as foreshadowed by the Prime Minister in his statement of 13th October?

Photo of Mr Anthony Crosland Mr Anthony Crosland , Grimsby

As usual, continuous.