asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government and Minister for Welsh Affairs what improvement has occurred in the effectiveness of the Alkali Inspectorate and associated facilities in his Department during the five years to 30th June, 1961, since the Clean Air Act reached the Statute Book; and whether he will make a statement upon the adequacy or otherwise of current alkali arrangements.
The annual report shows how many distinct problems there are in this field. While in most cases the necessary techniques are known and are being applied, there are some processes which cannot in the present state of knowledge be entirely without undesirable emissions. Research continues and the co-operation of all concerned is unstinted. To deal with its increased responsibilities, the staff of the Inspectorate in England and Wales has been increased from 10 in 1956 to 25 now. My right hon. Friend has in mind extending the Alkali Acts by order to cover certain additional processes, where control is now on an informal, though satisfactory basis.
Having regard to the very great increase in chemical production and associated processes in this country, is my hon. Friend satisfied that, notwithstanding the increase in staff among the Alkali Inspectorate, it is likely to be sufficient to enable the members of the staff to tackle their formidable duties in all parts of the country?
My hon. Friend must bear in mind that a number of manufacturing processes are converting to smokeless techniques and a number of other undertakings, particularly gas and coke works, are concentrating in fewer hands.