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Pollution (Mersey Estuary)

Volume 977: debated on Monday 28 January 1980

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asked the Secretary of State for the Environment how organiclead came to be dispersed along the north shore line of the Mersey estuary; whether this has now been dispersed; and whether any threats exist to the Ince bank, which is a site of international importance for wild-fowl.

The investigation of this pollution incident is continuing to be handled by the North-West water authority in co-operation with local industry and national wild life organisations. Fuller details can be obtained from these bodies, but I understand that the source of the organic lead has been identified as a compound used by local manufacturers, although the route by which it reached the feeding grounds cannot be traced.I am advised that the residue of this pollution incident is now considered to be fully dispersed and that there is no threat to birds wintering on the Ince bank. Further investigations into the toxic effects of this lead compound and safe limits on its discharge to the estuarial waters are proceeding.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will take action under the control of pollution legislation to obtain the readiness of information on the nature of substances discharged into the environment in the vicinity of the Mersey estuary.

I presume that the hon. Member is referring to the public availability of information under section 41 of the Control of Pollution Act 1974. I am currently considering the programme to be adopted for the implementation of this and the other outstanding provisions of part II of the Act, and will make an announcement as soon as possible.