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Local Authorities (Loan Interest Rates)

Volume 888: debated on Friday 14 March 1975

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asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what is (a) the average and (b) the highest loan interest rate payable by local authorities in England in 1975–76 on the basis of the figures currently available to him.

The estimated average rate of interest payable by local authorities in 1975–76 is 9·6 per cent. The highest rates of interest payable during the year were those on loans raised between 4th January and 17th January 1975. The rates payable to the Public Works Loan Board at that time were :hold an immediate inquiry into the further emission of fumes from the Leathers chemical factory, Trafford Park, Manchester, during the week ending Saturday 8th March 1975, and make a statement on future precautions to be required at this factory.

I wrote some time ago to my hon. Friend informing him that there was no reason to suppose that the high sulphur dioxide readings in November 1973 was solely due to the operations of the Leathers Chemicals plant.

The serious incident at the Leathers works on Saturday 8th March 1975 resulted in unusually high emissions for a period of not more than seven minutes. The plant was immediately shut down. These emissions affected Eccles market place. Two people went to hospital but were not detained.

The cause of this incident is being investigated by the Alkali and Clean Air Inspectorate and a detailed report is awaited. I will write further to my hon. Friend when this is available. The plant has been restarted without a recurrence of the problem.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he is aware of the correspondence and discussion notes regarding possible fallout from new plant at Trafford Park between the hon. Members for Eccles and Salford, East (Mr. Allaun), officers and councillors of the old authorities of Eccles, Swinton and Pendlebury, and Salford with his regional officers and members of the Alkali Inspectorate ; and, in the light of the concern regarding recent excessive fallout of burning substances in Eccles and Salford, if he will make a statement.

Discussions between the various bodies referred to took place when plans for the new plant at Trafford Park were being considered. On the recent incident involving unusually high emissions from the plant I refer my hon. Friend to the reply I gave today to my hon. Friend the Member for Salford, East (Mr. Allaun). I will write also to my hon. Friend when the report is available.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what investigations his Department has made into the recently reported release into the atmosphere of noxious gases from one or more factories in Trafford Park, Manchester ; and if he will make a statement.

I refer the hon. Member to my reply today to my hon. Friend the Member for Salford, East (Mr. Allaun). I will also write to the hon. Member when the report is available.