SMOKE POLLUTION (Hansard, 2 August 1951)
HC Deb 02 August 1951 vol 491 cc1597-9
12. Mr. Ellis Smith

asked the Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department, as representing the Lord President of the Council, if he will have two months' observations made and records taken on the smoke poured out, and of the amount and effect of smoke pollution caused by the tileries at Trent Vale, Fenton, Blurton and Longton Stoke-on-Trent and give consideration to the report.

The Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department (Mr. Geoffrey de Freitas)

No, Sir. My noble Friend has not the power of entry required to make these particular observations. It would not be possible from observations in the vicinity of the tileries to say how much pollution is caused by them.

Mr. Smith

If my hon. Friend's noble Friend has not that authority, who has? Is it the local authority? Is it not a fact that the men who are dealing with this matter are very public-spirited men, anxious to bring about great improvements, and that they desire more authority? Will my hon. Friend use his influence to see that this is given?

Mr. de Freitas

Under the Public Health Act, 1936, local authorities have power to enter and inspect premises to detect smoke nuisance. As to the last part of the supplementary question, they are all highly public-spirited men in the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research.

Mr. A. Edward Davies

Is my hon. Friend satisfied that the best information about firing tiles, pottery and other industrial products is available to the local authorities, whether they have sufficient staff to do the work and whether industrial organisations are asked to cooperate, because so much more could be done?

Mr. de Freitas

That question goes very much further than the Question on the Order Paper, which relates only to observations to be made by the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research.

Dr. Barnett Stross

Would it be a difficult question for my hon. Friend if I asked him whether he is aware that it is difficult to obtain a successful prosecution when there is smoke nuisance of this type? Further when success is obtained the fine is usually so low that the prosecution is not worth while.

Mr. de Freitas

I cannot go as far as that. It is beyond the matter in the original Question.

13. Mr. Ellis Smith

asked the Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department as representing the Lord President of the Council, if he can give the total solids per square mile created by smoke pollution during June, 1950, at Longton Stoke-on-Trent, Phillips Park, Manchester, Drinkwater Park, Salford, Trafford Park and Harrogate.

Mr. de Freitas

Stoke-on-Trent, 27 tons: Manchester, 54; Salford, 19; Trafford Park, no record; Harrogate, 3.

Mr. Smith

Do not these figures disclose a very unsatisfactory state of affairs? Seeing that our people are making such a great contribution to Britain's needs, is it not wrong that they should be living in these conditions, in view of the effect upon their physique? Will my hon. Friend do all that he possibly can to bring about radical improvements?

Mr. de Freitas

That question goes considerably further than the Question on the Order Paper. I am answering here for the Lord President of the Council, who is charged with responsibility for the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research. I am not answering with regard to action to be taken to rid the country of smoke pollution, but I will bring the remarks of my hon. Friend to the attention of those concerned.

Mr. Smith

Is my hon. Friend aware that over Pittsburgh there used to be a terrible pall of smoke but that they have now cleared the air? If that can be done in Pittsburgh why cannot it be done in Stoke-on-Trent?

Mr. de Freitas

I am well aware of the enormous improvements made at Pittsburgh. The figures which I gave are the average rate of deposit of solid matter in towns per square mile.

Sir Herbert Williams

Is the Minister aware that a lot of this solid matter falls on two factories with which I am connected. and which emit no smoke at all?

GLOBAL ISLES COURT OF RECORD