Rechem

Oral Answers to Questions — Wales – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 22nd January 1990.

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Photo of Mr Geraint Howells Mr Geraint Howells , Ceredigion and Pembroke North 12:00 am, 22nd January 1990

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what representations he has received about the importation of toxic waste bound for the Rechem incineration plant.

Photo of Mr Ian Grist Mr Ian Grist , Cardiff Central

My right hon. Friend has received a number of representations.

Photo of Mr Geraint Howells Mr Geraint Howells , Ceredigion and Pembroke North

I am grateful to the Minister for that reply. Can he confirm that the Germans are not keen to install a similar plant in their country as they believe that it is not safe? If that is so, what plans does the Minister have to safeguard the interests of the Welsh people?

Photo of Mr Ian Grist Mr Ian Grist , Cardiff Central

I think that the hon. Gentleman will know of our proposals in the current Environmental Protection Bill whereby we wish to restrict the importation of waste into this country, although we see a role for dealing with special wastes. I would not care to comment on the activities of an allied Government.

Photo of Mr Anthony Favell Mr Anthony Favell , Stockport

It is absolutely vital that such plants should operate safely and, therefore, the new proposed legislation is welcome. Is it reasonable for organisations such as Friends of the Earth to attack companies such as Rechem, which is ridding the world of unwanted chemicals? Surely that company is being a friend of the earth.

Photo of Mr Ian Grist Mr Ian Grist , Cardiff Central

If we did not have such firms the question would arise as to exactly what would happen to the PCBs and other emissions. Presumably, they would endanger Third world countries which are too poor to have our high technology.

Photo of Paul Murphy Paul Murphy Shadow Spokesperson (Wales)

Is it not true that the large profits made by Rechem come from imports and that those profits have declined dramatically in the past few weeks? Is the Minister aware that reports in the business press this weekend have indicated possible insider dealing in Rechem shares? Will he ask his right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry to investigate those reports? Does he accept that the only answer to this controversy is a proper, independent public inquiry?

Photo of Mr Ian Grist Mr Ian Grist , Cardiff Central

After that barrage, I am not quite sure into what the hon. Gentleman wants an inquiry. I do not care to comment on the insider dealings, but I have no doubt that my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State will have noted what the hon. Gentleman said. Only 20 per cent. of the company's dealings come from imported waste and, if there is a fall in the company's profitability, I imagine that it would be of some concern to the hon. Gentleman's constituents who work there.