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River Pollution

Volume 114: debated on Thursday 9 April 1987

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asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will make a statement on his policy towards control of river pollution in the light of the recent research results published by Greenpeace, a copy of which has been sent to him, showing that 35£5 per cent. of all the flounders examined in the inner region of the Thames were diseased or abnormal in their appearance.

I am aware of this report which was released at the time of the recent Water Research Centre conference on the North sea. However, I do not see the results of this study as having any direct implications for my Department's general policy on the control of river pollution, which is to restore and maintain the wholesomeness of our rivers. To this end, we rely on part II of the Control of Pollution Act 1974 which provides a comprehensive system of controls covering all significant waters. In addition, the Government have put forward a number of detailed proposals to strengthen these controls in the context of our privatisation proposals, and these are actively being considered.The setting up last week of Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Pollution with a specific water pollution inspector capability, will considerably strengthen the Department's role in the enforcement of controls which in turn should lead to further improvements in water quality.