- (1) Regulations made by the Minister may in such cases as may be prescribed by the regulations impose requirements as to—
- (a) providing and installing apparatus for the purpose of indicating or recording (or indicating and recording) the density or darkness of smoke emitted from any furnace in any building or any furnace of any boiler or industrial plant, not being a furnace in a building, or of facilitating the observation of smoke so emitted with a view to ascertaining its density or darkness;
- (b) making adaptations for any such purpose to any chimney serving such a furnace;
- (c) using and maintaining apparatus provided in pursuance of the regulations; and
- (d) making available to the local authority any results recorded by such apparatus.
- (2) If regulations under this section are contravened in relation to a furnace, the occupier of the building or, as the case may be, the person in possession of the boiler or plant shall be guilty of an offence.—[Mr. Powell.]
§ Brought up and read the First time.
§ The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Housing and Local Government (Mr. J. Enoch Powell)
I beg to move, That the Clause be read a Second time.
In Committee, the general opinion was expressed that there should be the most widespread and rapid use of methods and instruments for measuring and giving warning of the emission of smoke. This new Clause is designed to enable the Minister to make regulations requiring instruments for that purpose to be installed and used.
I have heard it said, I think with truth, that measurement is of the essence of science, and that without the means of measurement we cannot tackle scientifically the more serious aspects of smoke pollution from major industrial processes.
45 This is pre-eminently a suitable subject for ministerial regulations. Clearly, it will be only in the case of some types and classes of furnace that such prescription will be required, and the instruments appropriate will differ in each case. Therefore, it would be convenient that the requirements should be prescribed from time to time in detail by regulation. The general effect of the Clause is to give power to enforce measurement wherever desirable and practicable.
§ Dr. Stross
We are grateful to the Parliamentary Secretary and to his right hon. Friend for moving this new Clause, which, we know, is in response to a promise made to us in Committee. At that time our argument was that it was obviously desirable to establish throughout the country as regular a standard for the measurement of the density and volume of smoke passing up the stack as was possible.
I am sure that hon. Members on both sides of the Committee want as few cases to go to the courts as possible. Sometimes prosecution cannot be avoided, but prosecution does not mean persecution; we want as much good feeling as possible. We shall achieve that end in this way more readily than in any other way. There must be as good feeling as possible between the sanitary inspector and the man who has to fire his boiler, and between local authority and employer.
By this means we shall ensure that records will be kept and made available for examination. Under the provisions of paragraph (d), those records will be made available to the local authority, which means that this is a method by which we can collate information and, having collated it, be assisted in our study and understanding of the problems which will always beset us in the future.
It will obviously be very useful in the collation of information that there should be one specific standard of measuring apparatus throughout the country; the calibration must be the same so that, whatever volume of smoke there may be or whatever the density may be, the results of measurement will be consistent throughout the country no matter what stack or furnace is involved. I understand that the British Standards Institution is now preparing such apparatus. We shall thus ensure that whatever 46 information is made available to local authorities will be such that the authorities will be able to compare one result with another so that we shall be in a position to compare like with like and be better equipped in the future to know what is happening throughout the country.
It was, perhaps, impossible for bodies other than local authorities to be provided with this knowledge and with these records. Ultimately, of course, the information must go to the Clean Air Council. I should not, perhaps, be in order in speaking on that now; it will be referred to in a few moments. We are very grateful indeed for this Clause and believe it will be most effective.
§ Mr. Charles A. Howell (Birmingham, Perry Barr)
This is a Clause which we can welcome, for this reason. If an offence takes place during the night at a time when an inspector cannot be certain whether it is phase 1, phase 2, phase 3 or phase 4 of black smoke, although strong complaint is made, paragraph (d) will provide formaking available to the local authority any results accorded by such apparatus";and the local authority will thus be able to investigate whether or not an offence has taken place.
I hope that the Minister will tell us exactly what is meant by the expression,the person in possession of the boilerin subsection (2). Does it mean the stoker who, for the time being, is in possession of the boiler, or does it mean the employer? It is something which ought to be made absolutely clear, so that one may know, if an offence takes place, who is the "person in possession of the boiler."
§ Mr. Anthony Fell (Yarmouth)
I welcome this new Clause in the hope that it will enable the Minister to bring in regulations which will provide a method of measuring the density of dark smoke to replace the Ringelmann chart. I understand that there are hon. Members more knowledgeable than I who hold some brief for the Ringelmann chart. There are others, particularly those connected with this problem in industry, who think that the Ringelmann chart could make nonsense of the Bill because smoke measured according to that chart by three or four different individuals will produce a different result on every single occasion.
47 Therefore, while welcoming this Clause, I hope that it will very quickly lead to the establishment of a better method of measuring dark smoke than by means of the chart.
§ Question put and agreed to.
§ Clause read a Second time and added to the Bill.