said he bad to ask the House to amend the Standing Orders on a point which was very strongly brought under the notice of hon. Members in connection with the Wolverhampton Water Bill,† notably by the speech of the hon. Member for North Shropshire. The effect of the proposed new Standing Order would be that any landowner or conservancy body charged with the maintenance of the channel of a river, and with the duty of seeing that water continued to flow down a particular course, would be entitled, on obtaining the consent of the Court of Referees, to put in an appearance against any Bill that proposed to interfere with any underground water, as was the case in the Wolverhampton Bill. In that scheme the Corporation proposed to sink a number of deep wells, the result of which it was alleged would have been to have taken water from a very large district. None of the occupiers of that
district would under the rules of the House have been able to appear against the Bill. It seemed to him that that was unjust, and therefore, with the consent of the members of the Court of Referees, he bad drafted this Standing Order.† See preceding volume of Debates, p. 1280.
Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the following be a new Standing Order to follow Standing Order 134C:—
134D. Ordered, Where any owner, lessee, or occupier, or where any conservancy or other authority charged with the control of river or other waters, petitions against a Bill alleging that under its provisions any water or water supply of which they may legally avail themselves will be diminished or injuriously affected, it shall be competent to the Referees on Private Bills, if they think lit, to admit the petitioners to be heard against the Bill or any part thereof.—(The Chairman of Ways and Means.)
said he agreed that the Amendment was a desirable one, but he would like to know, if a town like Wolverhampton proposed to take water from a whole county, whether the county council, acting in the interests of the inhabitants, would be allowed to petition against the Bill, which affected their water-shed area.
They have an absolute power already to appear without going before the Court of Referees.
And would district councils have like powers?
I am not quite certain; I rather think they have already.
said that as Chairman of the Canal Association he supported the new Standing Order, because he believed it would greatly assist in safeguarding our water communications.
Question put and agreed to.
Ordered, That the said Order be a Standing Order of the House.