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Adult Education

Volume 885: debated on Monday 3 February 1975

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asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science how much money has gone into adult education for each of the last 10 years; and whether he is now in a position to forecast expenditure in this sector next year.

Following are the figures for each of the last 10 years for which information is available:

The wide-ranging provisions of the Control of Pollution Act 1974 can only be introduced in stages, as some of them are dependent on the implementation of others. It will therefore take time to bring the Act into full operation. In view of its importance to the environment we are anxious to press ahead as quickly as possible. Some of the provisions have, however, significant implications for local authority expenditure. The need to restrict increases in such expenditure to a minimum makes it inevitable that the implementation of these provisions should be delayed.We are inviting local authority associations to discuss with us at once the timetable and expenditure implications of the various provisions so that we can make as rapid progress as the financial constraints allow. The phasing we have in mind is as follows.

Waste on Land

On waste disposal, the Government have already indicated that the first priority must be to place on waste disposal authorities the duty, provided for in Part I of the Act, to survey waste and waste disposal facilities in their areas. We know that many authorities are keen to start on this survey, which will make minimal demands for new manpower, and we believe that they will find it helpful to have statutory backing. Other important provisions which we should hope to bring in quickly are those allowing local authorities to reclaim waste, to buy it for reclamation, and to dispose usefully either of the waste itself or of anything produced from it; and the provision placing a duty on local authorities to prepare—in consultation with appropriate voluntary organisations—a plan for abating litter. In addition we shall be aiming at the very early introduction of those provisions, such as the increase in penalties for existing pollution offences, which involve local authorities in little or no additional expenditure.

We have already agreed with the local authority associations that the placing of a statutory duty on waste disposal authorities to produce a formal waste disposal plan should be deferred for a year. The exact timing will need to be discussed further, as will the introduction of the licensing system for waste disposal sites. The Government accept that the earliest date at which we can hope to introduce these related provisions, as well as others which are less urgent, will be the beginning of the financial year 1976–77. We can, however, take advantage of the intervening period to work out with the local authority associations the form of the regulations needed to fill out the details of the licensing system.

Pollution of Water

As regards water pollution, the Government's aim will be to bring the main provisions of Part II of that Act into operation in two interrelated steps between the late autumn of this year and the middle of 1976.

The first step will include activating the consent system and the transitional provisions relating to consents.

The second step will consist of bringing into force the sections which make it an offence subject to specified penalties for anyone to pollute water or to discharge trade or sewage effluent without consent. The main effect will be to bring under full control any specified underground water and all tidal waters up to the 3-mile limit.

The period between now and the taking of the first step in the late autumn is needed for consultation with water authorities and other interested parties on the substance of the necessary orders and regulations; and a period of at least six months is needed between the first and second steps to allow time for dischargers to make the necessary applications for consents for discharges not covered by earlier legislation before the offence and penalty provisions are brought into force.

During roughly the same period it is proposed to activate most of the remaining provisions of Part II, including the extension of full control of all discharges of trade effluent to public sewers, the powers and duties of water authorities to remedy or forestall pollution and the provisions regarding the discharge of waste from boats. There will again be consultation with interested parties.

It is not proposed at this juncture to implement the provisions of Section 52 of the Act in so far as they relate to charges for direct discharges of trade or sewage effluent to inland and tidal waters. In the Government's view this matter calls for further study, in consultation with the National Water Council.

The Government appreciate that while the implementation of Part II of the Act in the manner described above will materially improve the system for controlling water pollution, the economic situation is bound to limit the rate at which the quality of our rivers, estuaries and coastal waters may be improved as a result of the new legislation, particularly where improvement depends on expenditure by water authorities, and industry, on new works and treatment processes.


A number of provisions in Part III of the Act dealing with the control of noise have no financial implications for local authorities. These include the provisions for simplifying and strengthening existing legislation about nuisance from noise; the making of regulations covering noise from plant or machinery; codes of practice for minimising noise; a definition of best practicable means; increased penalties for existing offences; and interpretive and supplementary provisions. We propose that these provisions should be brought into effect as soon as possible.

There are two duties imposed upon local authorities in Part III of the Act. The first of these requires an authority to inspect its area from time to time for noise nuisance and to decide upon its noise abatement zone policy. The second requires a local authority to make its noise requirements known in response to an application from anyone carrying out construction works. The first of these is similar to a duty imposed by the Public Health Act 1936 and the second will be supported by a code of practice which will be available to assist local authorities in the control of construction site noise. The financial implications in both cases therefore seem likely to be limited. We propose to consult local authorities with the object of implementing as soon as practicable the provisions dealing with noise from construction sites and allowing the establishment of noise abatement zones.

Pollution of the atmosphere

As with other parts of the Act, the Government consider that the clean air provisions which place no additional financial burden on local authorities should be implemented as soon as possible. These include the provisions enabling the Secretary of State to make regulations dealing with motor fuel and the sulphur content of oil fuel; clarification of the offence of cable burning; and the increase in penalties for existing offences. Another will be the provision allowing existing enactments to be adapted to metric units.

The remaining provisions in Part IV give local authorities the power to obtain information about air pollution. These information gathering powers are likely to be used only where air pollution is a matter of real public concern and they should not involve local authorities in significant expenditure in the near future. We therefore propose to consult local authorities with the intention of bringing




Percentage change


Percentage change

A and A(M) Roads:
Fatal and serious5,808-43,735-9
Other Roads:
Fatal and serious5,829+34,463-9
All Roads:
Fatal and serious11,6378,198-9


(1) It is estimated that traffic mileage fell by about 5 per cent. between the two periods.
(2) Less severe reductions in lighting were made on A and A(M) roads than that on other lower class roads.
(3) Driving conditions and behaviour were affected by a number of special factors during the winter of 1973–74 all of which may have contributed to changes in the pattern of road accidents.

these provisions into effect as soon as possible.


We shall also bring into effect in the near future the provision enabling the Secretary of State to make regulations to ban or restrict the marketing or use of injurious substances.


In Scotland, the new authorities which will be responsible for implementing the provisions of the Act do not come into full operation until 16th May. Subject to consultations with them and to such modifications as may be shown to be desirable because of their later establishment, my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland proposes that broadly the same procedures should be followed, so far as the timetable for Scotland allows.