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River Pollution

Volume 164: debated on Monday 8 January 1990

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To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland (1) if he plans to strengthen existing sanctions available to river purification boards and local authority water and sewage departments when they detect breaches in the voluntary codes for toxic disposals into rivers;(2) if he will take further steps to give additional powers to river purification boards to prevent commercial toxic pollution reaching rivers;(3) what proposals he has to change existing powers available to river purification boards to enter commercial premises and require specific action by owners to limit damage being done to rivers by toxic waste.

Anyone discharging trade effluent to sewers or to controlled waters without such consent as may be required by the local authority or without consent from the river purification authority is liable to prosecution. The powers available to river purification authorities to control the pollution of rivers, estuaries and coastal waters were recently improved and strengthened by the Water Act 1989. We are considering the making of regulations, including standards for the storage of chemicals on premises, which will further strengthen defences against such pollution.It is our intention to include measures in this Session's Environmental Protection Bill which will impose tighter controls over the most dangerous substances and certain processes and make new pollution control arrangements for multiple waste streams.