asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if, in view of the increased usage of the River Thames for moving hazardous cargoes, he will indicate what steps he proposes to take to strengthen the river fire service.
It is the statutory duty of every fire authority to provide a fire brigade and equipment to meet efficiently all normal requirements, including, where appropriate, the provision of a firefighting capability on a river within their area. I have no reason to believe that the fire authorities concerned are not discharging their statutory responsibilities for the provision of fire cover on the River Thames.
Is the hon. Lady aware that regulations are being introduced to cover the transport of hazardous chemicals by road, but not transport by water? Do I understand from her answer that in meeting these growing hazards on the Thames there are no proposals to reduce the river fire service?
I shall refer the hon. Gentleman's remarks to my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Transport, who will be concerned with any legislation on that subject.