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Quarry Dust Emissions

Volume 176: debated on Wednesday 18 July 1990

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To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list those statutory functions presently discharged by Her Majesty's inspectorate of pollution in respect of quarry dust emissions; and if he will make a statement.

The Health and Safety (Emissions to the Atmosphere) Regulations 1983 prescribes certain classes of mineral works as requiring registration under section 9 of the Alkali Works etc. Regulation Act 1906. In these cases, the operator of the process must make an application to the Secretary of State in accordance with the Health and Safety (Emissions to the Atmosphere) Regulations 1989 for a registration. The regulations provide for the advertising of the application and for both it and any subsequent registration granted to be available on a public register maintained by the relevant local authority. These registrations are granted, on behalf of the Secretary of State for the Environment, by Her Majesty's inspectorate of pollution.Before granting a registration, the operator of the process must, by virtue of section 5(1) of the Health and Safety at Work, etc. Act 1974 demonstrate that he is using best practicable means for preventing the emission into the atmosphere from the premises of noxious or offensive substances and for rendering harmless and inoffensive such substances as may be so emitted.Part I of the 1974 Act also provides the necessary powers for the appointment by the Secretary of State of inspectors and inspection of registered processes. It also provides for the serving of improvement notices where operators are failing to comply with the terms of their registration and for subsequent legal action for failure to comply with the terms of such a notice. The pursuit of formal legal remedies would normally only be undertaken when discussions between the operator and the inspectorate had failed to secure the necessary improvements.