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Polkemmet Bing

Volume 86: debated on Wednesday 13 November 1985

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asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will make a statement on his action to help the National Coal Board to alleviate the emissions to the Whitburn/Blackburn/Bathgate area from the smoking Polkemmet bing.

The question of emissions from Polkemmet bing is a matter for the local authority to pursue with the National Coal Board.

Her Majesty's industrial pollution inspectorate has given advice previously about the problem and is available to do so again if it is asked.

Obviously there must be concern about any emission, but in this case it is the responsibility of the district council, under the Clean Air Act 1956 to decide whether action can be taken against the owners of the mine if they fail to take all practicable means to prevent combustion and to prevent or minimise the emission of smoke and fumes.

The emissions from the bing or tip, call it what we will, must be intolerable to local residents. Cannot the Government press the National Coal Board to remove the offensive heap? The local residents must be suffering greatly from the terrible smells.

I am sure that both the district council and the National Coal Board will note with interest my hon. Friend's question. The district council is obtaining advice on the health aspects from the community medical specialist employed by the local health board.