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Industrial And Sewage Waste

Volume 25: debated on Friday 18 June 1982

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asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he is satisfied that there is adequate enforcement in the United Kingdom of international conventions covering industrial and sewage waste.

I am satisfied that once the planned increase in the number of enforcement officers appointed by me under the Dumping at Sea Act 1974 has been achieved, there will be adequate enforcement of the Act in fulfilment of our obligations under the Oslo and London dumping conventions.

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food how many inspectors are currently employed to sample industrial waste and sewage sludge; what were the figures for each of the last five years; and what proposals there are to increase the number of inspectors.

In order to fulfil my responsibilities under the Dumping at Sea Act 1974 the sampling of industrial wastes and sewage sludge and related duties are currently undertaken by two members of my fisheries research laboratory at Burnham-on-Crouch. A further post, which has been vacant, has now been filled and I have authorised the creation of a fourth inspectoral post. Comparable figures for the past five years are—1977: 2, 1978: 2, 1979: 3, 1980: 3, 1981: 2. Other staff at the laboratory are engaged in providing analytical support. In addition, my district inspectors of fisheries undertake inspectoral duties under the Act concerned with such matters as dumping outside the authorised area.

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what percentage of industrial waste and sewage sludge is currently sampled by his Department's inspectors; and if he is satisfied that this is adequate.

In recent months the existence of a temporary vacancy has resulted in fewer samples being taken than I would wish. However, once four enforcement officers are in post it should be possible to undertake the sampling of some 7 per cent. of all cargoes of industrial wastes to be dumped at sea. I consider such a level of inspection satisfactory. As the composition of sewage sludges is much less variable, fewer samples are needed and inspections are carried out as appropriate.