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.
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?
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.
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.
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.