asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Works whether he will take steps to clear up the large dumps of iron-scrap which have been lying for years in most country villages before he proceeds with further requisitions from private owners?
Systematic arrangements are in operation for the clearance of village dumps, though it must necessarily take a considerable time to cover the whole of the rural areas. These dumps yield a high proportion of very light scrap, and there is a marked deficiency of heavier material which it is necessary to meet from other sources including requisitions from private owners.
Is the hom. Gentleman aware that people all over the country are tired of seeing these big heaps, which they have patriotically helped to put there, while their railings are taken away without due notice having been given? Why does he not do what the paper people do—have regular collections? Why cannot he have a collection once every year, every six months or every three months in order to remove these dumps?
I can assure the hon. and gallant Gentleman that these dumps are being systematically cleared with every county drive. [HON. MEMBERS: "No."] Whenever there has been a county drive for scrap metal every dump has been systematically cleared. There are certain dumps in parts of the country where a county drive has not yet taken place. In addition to what I said in my answer and to reinforce it, I would like to point out that there is a large amount of light scrap in village dumps which is not rich enough in content for the purpose of smelting. Where this is so heavier metal has to be mixed with it.
Can the hon. Gentleman say whether these county drives are supposed to synchronise with this war or the next?
For the hon. Member's information, they are synchronising with this war.
In how many counties has there not been a county drive?
There have been about 28 county drives so far, and if the hon. Member subtracts that number from the total number of counties, he will have his answer.
Can we have a Ministerial drive?
To remove the scrap?