As amended, considered.
said that an arrangement had been come to that neither this Bill nor the Metropolitan Water Board (Charges, etc.) Bill, which was discussed last night, would be taken after the proceedings in Committee on the Evicted Tenants (Ireland) Bill had been disposed of. The hon. Member for Hammersmith had asked him to state that he left the precincts of the House on the distinct understanding that neither of these Bills would be taken. [An Hon. Member: No.] Whether such an arrangement had been come to or not, he had at any rate carried out the undertaking he gave to the hon. Member. It was now a quarter past twelve o'clock, and he submitted that it was improper to take so important a Bill after a heavy Parliamentary day's work. He was not speaking without precedent, for it was only thirteen months since it was decided in the case of the Great Northern Railway of Ireland Bill that it was improper to proceed with the discussion of it after midnight. This Water Bill affected the interests of 6,000,000 people, and involved something like £40,000,000. The measure could not receive proper consideration in the early hours of the morning when hon. Members were fatigued by a long day's work. He begged to move the adjournment of the debate.
The Motion was not seconded.
in moving a new clause (for the protection of railway companies), expressed the hope that the House would not be alarmed at its length. It simply provided the protection which Parliament on all previous occasions of a like nature had granted to railway companies. He was glad to be able to inform the House that, subject to one Amendment, the promoters of the Bill had agreed to the new clause. It was proposed to amend Sub-clause (5) by inserting words which would have the effect of relieving the Metropolitan Water Board of the consequences of what might be called inevitable accident. For the rest, he knew perfectly well that he had to deal with any persons who dissented from the policy of the agreement arrived at, and who thought that the policy of the Joint Committee ought to be upheld. That made it necessary that he should to some extent explain the nature of the new clause. In connection with the water schemes of Birmingham, Liverpool and Manchester, it was necessary to construct works above or below the existing railways, and in all these cases a specific provision closely resembling the clause he now moved had been granted for the protection of the railway companies. The clause provided three requisites, namely, in the first place, that the works to be carried out should be executed under the supervision of the railway company's engineer after the submission to him of the necessary plans; secondly, that the traffic should not be interfered with; and thirdly, that if any damage resulted to the company's servants, or to the public, or to the company themselves in consequence of these works, compensation must be paid. What was the objection which was made? It was said that there were provisions under the Public Health Act of 1875 which gave the public authority power for sewer-laying purposes to enter upon the premises of anybody under the sidewalks of public highways. They were told that they ought to be satisfied with the pecuniary compensation which was set up under the Public Health Act, but he did not think they ought to be. That compensation was quite inappropriate to the present case, and moreover was given only in respect of Clause 61 of this Bill, and not at all in respect of the equally novel and even more dangerous proposals of Clause 58. He begged to move his Amendment in its amended form.
called attention to the fact that no one had seconded the Amendment.
said no seconder was required.
"(1) In constructing laying down altering improving enlarging extending maintaining repairing, renewing or removing any conduits mains pipes wires appliances apparatus or other works in exercise of any of the powers conferred by this Act or by any of the Acts incorporated wholly or partly therewith upon along across under or over the railways works lands or property of the railway companies or under over or across any level crossing over any such railway or under over across or in any way affecting the structure of any bridge or tunnel over or under such railways or the approaches to or roads over any such bridge or tunnel or any other road which the railway companies are or may be liable to maintain the same shall be done under the superintendence and to the reasonable satisfaction of the chief engineer of the railway company whose railways bridges tunnels works lands or other property or level crossing may be affected or by whom any such road is liable to be maintained (in this section called 'the engineer') and in accordance with plans specifications sections and detailed drawings (in this section referred to as 'the plans') previously submitted to and approved in writing by the engineer or in case of difference settled by arbitration in manner hereinafter provided. Provided that if the engineer shall not within twenty-eight days after the plans shall have been submitted for his approval notify to the Board in writing his disapproval thereof he shall be deemed to have approved the plans; "(2) All such works shall be done by and at the expense of the Board who shall also make good and restore to the reasonable satisfaction of the engineer any property or works of the railway companies or any roads liable to be maintained by them affected by such works and shall to the like satisfaction maintain such roads (so far as the same may have been interfered with by the execution of such works) for three months after such restoration and for such further time (if any) not being more than twelve months in the whole as such roads shall continue to subside; "(3) All such works and any matters incidental to or connected therewith shall be done and carried out by the Board at such times and in such manner as the engineer may reasonably direct and so as to cause as little injury as may be to the railways bridges tunnels works lands and property of the railway companies or to any road which such companies may be liable to maintain; "(4) In the execution of any such works or incidental matters the Board shall not at any time or in any manner cause any injury or danger or (so far as can be avoided) any interruption impediment or delay to the safe passage and conduct of traffic over the railways or at to or from the stations sidings or works of the railway companies; "(5) If any such injury danger interruption impediment or delay shall be caused by or be attributable to any of such works or incidental matters or by or to the acts or defaults of the Board or t heir officers servants contractors or workmen or any other person employed in connection with such works or by or to the failure of any such works (such injury danger interruption impediment or delay not being the result of inevitable accident) the Board shall indemnify and save harmless the railway companies from all and any claims and demands which may be made upon the railway companies in connection with such injury danger interruption impediment delay or failure and shall also make compensation to the railway companies in respect of any loss or injury which. they may sustain or any expense to which they may be put in connection with any such injury danger interruption impediment delay or failure and the amount of such compensation shall in case of difference be settled by arbitration in the manner her in after provided: Provided that in the case of the exercise by the Board of the powers of the section of this Act of which the marginal note is 'Power to Board to exercise powers of Local Authorities under Public Health Act 1875' this subsection shall apply instead of Section 308 of 'The Public Health Act 1875 '; "(6) Notwithstanding anything contained in this Act or any Act incorporated wholly or partly therewith the Board shall not without the consent in writing of the railway companies under their common seal purchase or acquire any of the lands or property of the railway companies but the Board may acquire and the railway companies shall if required grant to the Board an easement or right of constructing and maintaining works on through in under over or along such lands and property and the sum to be paid for the acquisition of such easement or right shall be settled in the manner provided by 'The Lands Clauses Consolidation Act 1845 ' with respect to the purchase of lands otherwise than by agreement. Provided always that where the Board shall have acquired any such easement or right as aforesaid nothing in this Act shall prevent the Railway Companies from using their lands ant property as they may think fit subject to such reasonable protection for the works of the Board as may be agreed or settled by arbitration in manner hereinafter provided; "(7) The Board shall so construct maintain and work any wires and apparatus for the transmission of messages or reservoir level indications by means of electricity which they may establish under the powers of this Act as not to interfere with the working of any telephone telegraph train signalling or other apparatus of the railway companies by any stray currents induction or contacts and if any such interference shall take place the railway companies shall be at liberty to construct and provide an insulated return to the circuits affected by such interference or to do such other works as may be reasonably necessary and the Board shall on demand pay to the railway companies the reasonable cost of constructing and providing such insulated return or of such other necessary works as aforesaid; "(8) The railway companies may if they so elect to do themselves carry out at the cost charges and expenses of the Board any works upon in under across or affecting their railways lands works or property except the provision of pipes and laying and jointing the same which shall be done by the Board; "(9) If the railway companies at any time or times hereafter require (of which they shall be the sole judges) to adapt their railways or any part or parts thereof for working by electrical power or to construct any additional or other works upon their lands or railways or in connection therewith or to widen alter reconstruct or repair their railways bridges tunnels subways viaducts or works upon cross over or under which any of the works the Board may have been constructed or laid If at any time or times hereafter a bridge shall be constructed in substitution for a level crossing upon across over or under which any of the works of the Board may have been constructed or laid the railway companies may on giving to the Board twenty-eight days' notice in writing under the hand of their secretary or general manager of their intention so to do and in case of emergency (of which the engineer shall be the sole judge) without notice at their own expense divert alter support or carry the said works of the Board across over or under their railways lands works or property at any other point doing as little damage as may be and without being liable to pay compensation in respect of such diversion alteration supporting or carrying such works. Provided always that such diversion or alteration shall be done without unduly interfering with the supply of water by the Board; "(10) In the execution or alteration by the railway companies of any works of the Board under either of the two last preceding sub-sections the same shall be done under the superintendence and to the reasonable satisfaction of the engineer to the Board and in accordance with plans specifications sections and detailed drawings previously submitted to and approved in writing by the said engineer or in case of difference settled by arbitration in manner hereinafter provided and if the said engineer shall not within twenty-eight days after the said plans specifications sections and detailed drawings shall have been submitted for his approval notify to the railway companies in writing his disapproval of the same he shall be deemed to have approved thereof and the railway companies shall not at any time or in any manner cause any avoidable interruption in the supply of water by the Board and if any such interruption shall be caused by or be attributable to the works of the railway companies or to the acts or defaults of such companies or their officers servants contractors or workmen or any other person employed in connection with such works or from the failure of any such works the railway companies shall indemnify and save harmless the Board from all and any claims and demands which may be made upon the Board in connection with such interruption and shall also make compensation to the Board in respect of any loss or injury which they may sustain or any expense to which they may be put in connection with such interruption and the amount of such compensation shall in case of difference be settled by arbitration in the manner hereinafter provided; "(11) If having regard to the proposed position of any work to be executed by the Board in relation to the position of the works of the railway companies at any point where the works of the Board will be constructed over under or along any railways or works of the railway companies it becomes reasonably necessary that any of the works of the railway companies should be altered the railway companies may execute the works reasonably necessary for such alteration and the reasonable costs of executing such works shall be repaid by the Board to the railway companies; "(12) Nothing in this Act contained shall enable the Board to raise sink remove or otherwise alter the position of any railway sidings embankments bridges tunnels stations and works of a similar character belonging to the railway companies; "(13) If by reason of the execution of any of the works of the Beard it shall become necessary to reconstruct alter strengthen or in anywise interfere with the structure of any bridge tunnel or other work of the railway companies such alteration reconstruction or strengthening shall be carried out by the railway companies at such times and in such manner as they may reasonably think expedient or necessary and the reasonable cost thereof shall be borne by the Board; "(14) The Board shall bear and on demand pay to the railway companies affected by the construction laying down alteration improvement enlargement extension maintenance renewal or removal of or the execution of repairs to any works of the Board all reasonable costs of the superintendence by the railway companies of the said works and repairs and of watching lighting and protection of the railways and works of the railway companies with reference to and during such works or repairs but such superintendence shall not relieve the Board from liability for any accidents which may be occasioned by or through any act or default of the Board or any contractors agent or workman or other person or persons employed in or about the execution and carrying out of such works or repairs; "(15) Any dispute or difference which may arise between the railway companies and the Board with reference to the provisions of this section or in any way arising there out or as to any works to be carried out by the Board or by the railway companies shall be settled by arbitration by an engineer or other fit person to be agreed upon between them or failing such agreement to be appointed by the President of the Institution of Civil Engineers on the application of the railway companies and the Board or either of them."
Brought up, and read a first time.
Motion made, and Question proposed, "That this clause be read a second time."
as a member of the Joint Committee said that they took evidence on behalf of the railway companies and against them, and heard counsel for and against the Bill. It was not a measure establishing for the first time a water-work undertaking, but was simply to carry out certain works and make provision with regard to the many powers which were given to the Water Board. There were ten members of the Committee present when the decision was arrived at, and they were unanimous in coming to the conclusion that this clause should not be allowed. In coming to that conclusion, and in considering the evidence produced by the railway companies, no statement was made of any difficulty which had arisen in London with regard to the present powers possessed by the railway companies with regard to the waterworks of the companies or the Water Board, and of course, one, that night, was placed in a somewhat difficult position. With some experience of Private Bill Committees he might say that he was not one of those who thought that because some agreement was made under pressure and for the purpose of getting a Bill through the House, the agreement was binding on the House of Commons, and that they should in any way sacrifice the large community whose interests they were concerned to look after. He asked the House of Commons to support the Committee in the decision which they came to after hearing the evidence and all the arguments of counsel. The Committee had decided that the clause should not be inserted in the Bill, and of course, it was for the House of Commons to say whether it should be inserted or not. There were no new facts brought forward in the House other than those which came before the Committee, and the Committee had the advantage of hearing all the evidence and the arguments which could be advanced.
said that, before the debate closed, he wished to say a few words on behalf of the Board of Trade. Of course the Board of Trade had looked at this matter purely from the point of view of the public interest, which was involved in the proposal. He was informed that an arrange- ment had been arrived at between the parties concerned which involved a very considerable modification of the clause on the Paper. It was an arrangement, in fact, which altered the original proposals in one very material respect. He need hardly say that the Board of Trade had gone into the matter very carefully. Having considered the evidence given before the Committee, and also the point as it was put by the hon. Member who had just spoken, he thought the clause in its altered form was a perfectly fair one. What, after all, did it involve? He was not reflecting on the Committee or suggesting for one moment that on the evidence before them they should not have come to the decision they did; but in one respect he believed they took too favourable a view of the clause in the Public Health Act to which his hon. friend had alluded. He was informed by the legal advisers of his Department that this clause in the Public Health Act did not cover all the points which might be raised under the conditions created by this Bill. It was their opinion that it would be necessary for the legitimate protection of the railway companies that some provision in the nature of the clause now submitted by the right hon. Gentlemen the Member for Sheffield, should be inserted in the Bill. All they had to ensure was that fair play was done by the Department. What, then, was the position? Here they had a railway company on a bridge across a river which they had erected at an enormous expense. The Water Board came and asked for an easement to enable them to use that bridge for the purpose of carrying a pipe main across the river. All the railway company asked was this: If anything happened to the bridge in consequence, say, of the pipes bursting, the damage would be made good by the water company. The House should bear in mind that in such a case the damage could not in any sense be said to be due to any fault of the railway company, and if the damage arose; from the fact of the pipes having been laid there it seemed to him to be perfectly fair that the water company should bear the brunt of it. That was the proposition as laid down in the clause on the Order Paper, but the modification which had been agreed to by the railway companies gave away even that proposition, and it was, he believed, only in very exceptional cases that this would apply at all. He could understand that the House was naturally anxious to support the decisions of a Committee, but after all the House of Commons could not altogether part with the power of supervising the actions even of its Committees, otherwise there would be no object whatever in bringing a Bill back to the House for consideration on report. However much disposed the House of Commons might be to support the decision of a Committee which had undoubtedly taken a great deal of trouble in considering the questions raised by the Bill, he hoped that when a matter of this kind came forward the House would see that fair play and justice was done as between the parties. The officials of the Board of Trade had examined into the matter quite impartially. They had seen both parties. They had heard what the Metropolitan Water Board had to say and also what the railway companies had to say. He understood that as the result of conferences which had taken place the Water Board had agreed to the modified form of clause which was now proposed. When the parties had considered the matter fairly and had come to the conclusion that they could safely accept the clause in its modified form he did not think the members of the Committee would go to the extent of pressing their opposition to it. The parties having come to that agreement, he did not see what possible injustice there could be to the great community referred to by his hon. friend. That community, he was sure, only wanted to do what was fair, either in London or elsewhere, and if through any accident to water pipes any injury or damage was done to a railway bridge put up at a great expense it was only fair that that expense should be borne by the water company which was responsible for laying down the mains. He trusted that the House of Commons would accept the clause in its modified form. He thought that, on the whole, it was fair as between the parties. There was nothing very sweeping or drastic in it, and there was nothing in it which the House of Commons need have any fear about if they passed it.
expressed a profound hope that in spite of what the right hon. Gentleman had said the House of Commons would reject what he ventured to criticise as an impudent attempt on the part of the railway companies to secure preferential treatment of an unusual kind. What the right hon. Gentleman had said as regarded the fair treatment of a railway company in respect of a bridge might equally be said of the London County Council in regard to its tramways system. It might also be said of a canal company, where canals and locks interfered with the particular work of another big company, and of almost any other concern. What was asked for here was a special and distinct preferential position for the railway companies. The right hon. Gentleman had suggested that because the representatives of the railway companies on the one side and the representatives of the Metropolitan Water Board on the other, had, under the pressure of Parliamentary circumstances, come to an agreement, the matter was at an end. But there was also to be considered the large and important interest of the community that was represented either by the railway companies on the one side nor even by the Metropolitan Water Board on the other. For that interest they, as Members of the House of Commons, were the trustees. He ventured to say that they would not be discharging the sacred trust which was imposed upon them if they did not look with a careful, jealous, and scrutinising eye upon the proposals now before the House. The moment the proposals were carefully scrutinised it was seen that the railway companies were asking for a kind of treatment at the hands of Parliament in regard to this matter, totally different from that which had been sanctioned in the case of other undertakings. The Committee by whom this matter had been dealt with, had very carefully considered all interests. They had the proposal of the railway companies before them and they thrashed it out with the advantage of the evidence of expert witnesses to guide them. He asked the House to adopt the view that the Committee, who had heard a 1 the arguments on both sides, came to a perfectly right decision in the matter, and he hoped the House would uphold the Committee by rejecting the proposal to insert this extraordinary new clause.
said that as one of those Members who sat on the Committee for no less than thirteen days and listened to all the statements and arguments brought forward by the officials of the railway companies, as well as by the counsel whom they employed, he thought the case was put as fairly and as fully as one could expect before a Committee of that description. It appeared to him that what the railway companies were aiming at was that they should stand first and that the Water Board, representing the supply of water to 6,000,000 of people, should come second. He would be very much surprised if a House of Commons, composed as the present House was, accepted and agreed to a proposition of that kind. They were legislating that night for the supply of water to the biggest city in the world, and it seemed to him, after the difficulties that had been experienced in the Metropolis in the past, that the least the House could do was to give the water authority complete control so that it might take its pipes and works over obstructions. Those works were essential for the supply of water to the people, and the railway companies should not be allowed to dictate terms to the Water Board as they had done in the past. One case which was cited before the Committee struck him as being very important indeed. The position was this: A line of pipes was to be taken over a railway bridge. The said railway bridge passed over a public road. The railway company had got permission to put their bridge over the public road at their own expense, but paving nothing to the public who made the road. When the line of pipes was put over the bridge a nominal rent was fixed for the accommodation; but afterwards the railway company arbitrarily raised the rent charged from a very insignificant figure to a sum of about £38 per annum. That was some evidence of the fact that it was not exactly wise to place a public authority under the hands of either a rail- way or of any other company. It seemed to him that the public requirements, especially in the case of an essential article like water, should stand first all the time, and for that reason he should vote against any Amendment that it might be proposed to make in the Bill with the object of serving other interests than those of the general community. All these questions were argued very fully before the Committee, who examined special witnesses and had every matter bearing on the subject most carefully explained. Instead of sanctioning the arrangement which had been referred to, and of which he was beginning to grow suspicious, as it had been made behind the scenes, the House of Commons, if it did its duty as it ought to do it, would say that the House itself was the place where any arrangement ought to be made. Objecting as he did to the arrangement, he hoped the House would reject the Amendment and put the Water Board in a proper position.
said that in considering the question the Committee looked first and foremost at the public interest. He thought perhaps it would be going too far to say that because they had decided a matter in a certain way in Committee they should not review the case when it came back to the House of Commons. The chief reason that influenced him in the opinion he gave in the Committee was that he wanted the Water Board to have sufficient facilities and powers for dealing with matters which the Committee thought were in the interest of the public. If the Water Board in their discretion conceived that they could by coming to an arrangement with the railway companies further the interests of the Bill and secure its passage, he, not being unduly suspicious, did not think the members of the Committee need take up a non possumus attitude or be too sensitive about their decision in Committee on a point of this kind. He was inclined to think that if the Board of Trade in their guardianship of the public interest, and the Metropolitan Water Board in pursuit of the same interest, came together in such a matter as that now under discussion, the House might reasonably agree to the modified proposal which had been submitted.
said that those Members of the House who sat through the small hours of yesterday morning would realise the rather difficult position in which they found themselves. They were then admonished by a member of the Government that they ought not to go behind the decision of the Committee. Now they were advised by another member of the Government that they ought to overthrow the decision of the Committee. He did not differ with the President of the Board of Trade. He certainly held that they were quite entitled to go behind the decision of the Committee. But at the same time, it was surely a matter which must be fairly argued on the floor of that House, and he could not help thinking that they had not had very strong arguments in favour of the Amendment. Let them just see what the Amendment was. He did not proposed to read it all through, but he proposed to ask the attention of the House to the words in Subsection 5—
"If any such injury, danger, or any interruption, impediment, or delay, shall be caused by or attributable to any of such works o incidental matters or to the acts or defaults of the Board, or their officers, servants, contractors or workmen, or any other person employed in connection with such works, or from the failure of any such works, the Board shall indemnify and save harmless the railway companies from all and any claims and demands which may be made upon the railway companies in connection with such injury, danger, interruption, impediment, delay or failure, and shall also make compensation to the railway companies in respect of any loss or injury which they may sustain or any expense to which they may be put in connection with any such injury, danger, interruption, impediment, delay, or failure, and the amount of such compensation shall, in case of difference, be settled by arbitration."
The hon. Gentleman has not got the amended clause.
consulting the amended clause, said it provided that unless in the case of inevitable accident in connection with injury, danger, interruption, impediment, or delay to the works the Board should indemnify and save harmless the railway companies. The House had only to look at the clause to see what an endless vista of responsibility might be placed upon the public authority and what an amount of litigation might arise. What was the position of the public authority? The public authority, as they were told by the document which had been circulated to them on behalf of the Metropolitan Board, was the statutory authority which, under the general law of the land, would have no responsibility unless any damage were due to their own negligence. In other words the effect of the clause would be to reduce the Board to the position in which they would be if they executed the proposed works without the authority of Parliament. That was to say, the treatment which was given to all public authorities constituted by Parliament was to be denied to this one in favour of certain railway companies. The proposal was of enormous magnitude, and if it was of enormous magnitude surely it ought not to come before the House unless with the approval of the Committee. They had no right to put such a burden upon the public authority unless they had had the matter investigated and approved by the Committee. They were placed in this peculiar position by the method adopted of sending Bills to Joint Committees. If the Bill had gone through the ordinary course it would have proceeded to a Committee of the Lords and there would have been another opportunity of investigating these proposals. But as matters stood their only appearance now was on the floor of this House. He ventured to hope that in the interests of the public of London the House would not assent to the Amendment, notwithstanding the fact that they were told the Metropolitan Board of Water had agreed to it. He must say he could not read the document circulated without marvelling as to how and why the Board had come to agree to these proposals. They had not had the advantage of hearing the representative of the Board upon that question. Seeing the Amendments had been down on the Paper for some days or weeks, and that they had been always under the impression that they were Amendments opposed by the promoters of the Bill, now that, at the last moment, they found they had been agreed to, the House should pause before acceding to the request made by the President of the Board of Trade.
said there was one point in his speech where the hon. Member seemed to be rather thankful there was a House of Lords. He wanted to say a word or two as to the gist of his speech about the public authority. He thought the hon. Gentleman had forgotten that railway companies were statutory authorities working under Act of Parliament just as much as the Metropolitan Board of Water. Hon. Gentlemen spoke of the Water Board dealing with a population of 6,000,000. Did they remember the number of the millions who travelled habitually in and out of London on the rail-ways, and of whose safety the railway companies had charge? There was a possibility that the companies might be put to very serious inconvenience through delay to the trains by the Water Board, if the Water Board or anybody else had unlimited access. Yet not one word had been said of that much larger population who used the railways and whose interests the railways had to protect. There was the case of a railway company making a bridge over which the water company desired to carry pipes. Supposing that bridge was not quite sufficiently strong to carry those pipes, was it seriously contended that the water company would have the right to enter and weaken the bridge to a dangerous point in order to carry their water pipes over? Was it contended it was not perfectly right that the water company should pay £30 or £40 a year for the privilege of carrying their pipes over, instead of having to build a new bridge and spend £5,000 or £10,000 of money. He was sure the water company could not grumble at that. Supposing it was not a railway company at all, supposing it was a private bridge, as they sometimes had, would it be seriously contended if the water company laid pipes across and an accident occurred because of those pipes the water company would not have to pay for it? The hon. Member for Denbigh District had spoken of an arrangement being approved by the President of the Board of Trade. He forgot to put in the words "fair and just," upon which the President of the Board of Trade based his approval.
interposed to say that what he said was that if the arrangement was just in the case of a railway company it was equally just in the case of a county council or a canal company, and that these were given no such preferential treatment.
said that was not the portion of the speech to which he was referring. It would be absurd to think that in the case where the bridge belonged to a private person the water company would not pay. Not a word had been said as regarded the question of delay to trains. He should have thought it was a sufficiently common experience—it was obtained by almost every public purveyor of transportation, a railway company or anybody else—that there should be a stipulation that if the. company was put to any expense by the act of somebody else whom it had obliged, a corporation or whatever it might be, the company was to be recouped by that person or corporation and was not to bear the expense. That was perfectly fair and reasonable.
said the company could be recouped under the general law.
said they were told by the President of the Board of Trade and his legal advisers that the company could not be recouped under the clause. If the clause was fair and reasonable he could not see why the House should not carry it out. It did not matter whether it was a water company or a railway company or not. It did not matter what they called the two parties. If the House desired to do what was fair and just let them remember that it was not the interests of one particular section against another, but the interests as a whole of the water consumers and of the great population that used the railways.
said that if he were clear that the general law would afford the protection his hon. friend had said he would not have intervened in the matter. It was because he was advised the general law did not afford that protection that he took the course he did.
said the general law under the Public Health Acts would give the railway companies all the protection they required. The Public Health Act of 1875 provided that—
They had that night to face a very important decision, one which had far-reaching effects and which might apply to a great many public authorities beyond the Water Board in question. The course of private Bill business in that House was entrusted to Committees, and the greatest consideration should be given by the House before it consented to reverse the decision of a Committee, which had sent down a Bill after careful consideration. He held that in dealing that night with this proposal there had been no case made out by the right hon. Gentleman on which they ought for one moment to upset the decision of the Committee upstairs. The case was one in which, owing to the exigencies of the Parliamentary session, there had been an arrangement arrived at between the two parties rather than that the promoters should lose the Bill, and it was for the House to say whether it was wise for it to depart from the usual custom when there had been no case made out for the proposal which was then before them. He submitted that in dealing with Private Bill legislation they ought to stand by the statute law and not allow an exception to be made in that case. No cause had been shown why the Amendment should be considered to be necessary. The railway company would not suffer if it were not inserted. Enormous powers were dealt with in the several sections of the new clause. The railway company might come down with its engineers and direct certain work to be done. The great municipalities throughout the country might be subjected to powers similar to those now sought, if they granted the same to the railway company. Those municipalities were continually seeking such powers, by Private Bills or otherwise, for the purpose of carrying out great sewage, water, and general works. The railway company was an all-powerful authority, and Parliament, naturally, must have regard to the limitation of the interests of railway companies when they come in conflict with the public interest. He held that if the House that night consented to upset the finding of the Committee they would be striking a blow at the public interest by allowing the railway company to come down and reverse the decision of the Joint Committee in order to give the railway company such special powers. They ought to be very careful not to upset their whole system of Private Bill legislation, as it would be upset if the Amendment were accepted that night. The President of the Board of Trade had looked into the matter and consented up to a certain limit, but the right hon. Gentleman's point had been that the Board of Trade need not interfere because an agreement had been arrived at by the parties concerned. He believed that in the circumstances Tinder which the agreement had been come to the House was justified in doing all that it could to prevent its being accepted."Where any person sustains any damage by reason of the exercise of any of the powers of this Act in relation to any matter as to which he is not himself in default full compensation shall be made to such person by the local authority exercising such power."
said that in the Amendment there were questions raised which were more important than the Bill itself. They had to decide whether the Bill should be judged on its merits or on socialistic theories. The President of the Board of Trade had given very concisely and very fairly his reasons why the House should accept the Amendment. He had listened to the speeches of the opponents of the new clause, but he had heard nothing to upset any single part of the right hon. Gentleman's speech. The hon. Member for Denbigh had said that the public interest would be prejudicially affected by the Bill. That was an extraordinary statement, and neither the hon. Member nor any of his friends had brought forward any reason in support of it. He did not think it was right that the clause should be allowed to pass without a protest from that side of the House against wild statements of that kind being made against the two parties to the agreement. The hon. Member who had spoken from below the gangway on his own side of the House had said that he was unduly suspicious about the arrangement. He agreed with the hon. Member he was unduly suspicious. He thought it was very unfortunate that when two parties, containing on their boards men of the highest commercial ability, agreed to a clause of that kind, which was accepted by the Government, and therefore by the experts of the Board of Trade, hon. Gentlemen below the gangway on both sides of the House should ask the House to reject the clause on the ground that its acceptance would be prejudicial to the public interest, without giving any reasons in support of this statement. He only rose for the purpose of protesting against the statements made by hon. Members on both sides of the House, and having made that protest he appealed to the House to accept the new clause.
said that when he saw the Amendment for the first time on the Paper and knew that the Joint Committee had decided against it, it was his intention strongly to oppose its insertion in the Bill, but he felt that the House was bound to have regard to what had happened since. It seemed to him that it would be unwise not to have regard to the special circumstances of the case. He had listened to the speech of the right hon. Gentleman who moved the Amendment and who informed the House that the promoters had accepted it. He had ascertained since that the promoters had agreed to the Amendment because they desired to get the Bill through as quickly as possible, in order that they might get on with other Bills. When the promoters of a Bill accepted Amendments even for that reason there could not be so much in the Amendments to lead that House to set aside the agreement which had been come to, especially in view of the latest circumstances. The President of the Board of Trade, acting on behalf of the Govern- ment, after seeing both parties, and hearing what both the promoters of the Bill and those who wanted the Amendment had to say, had advised the House that the clause was not an unfair one. In view of the circumstances they would be straining their principles too far if they did not accept the situation. The hon. Member for Lancaster had spoken in regard to municipal authorities and clauses of the nature they were considering. His experience of Bills promoted by local authorities had been that it was very seldom that a local authority promoted a Bill without a railway company getting some protective clause inserted. He had seen many clauses in Bills promoted by the London County Council and other authorities which had been added after the Bills were introduced, and when he had asked what those clauses were for, he had been told that they were protective clauses for railway companies. When a railway company was promoting a Bill he supposed the Water Board would come along and want protective clauses against the railway company. It was the business of the House fairly to consider a matter of that kind, and he contended that they had given it consideration. When the President of the Board of Trade on the advice of his expert officers had supported the Amendment, and the promoters of the Bill had agreed to it—it might have been from Parliamentary pressure—the House ought to accept it. The Amendment could not be of vital importance to the promoters of the Bill; otherwise they would have had no right to accept it. The point that weighed with him, however, was that the agreement had been arrived at in conjunction with the responsible Government authority, who would not have taken the responsibility of asking the House to agree to an Amendment of that character if it were contrary to Parliamentary precedent. He hoped that they would not by delaying the passing of the Bill entitle people to describe them as being unreasonable.
said he had only one short point to raise. The railway companies and that particular Water Board had been working side by side for many years without the special powers, and he had heard nothing whatever which would justify the special powers being given in that hurry and at that late hour of the night. He was prepared to oppose the Amendment.
thought it should be understood that there would be no reflection whatever cast on the decision of the Committee if the House chose to accept the Amendment. If the proposal agreed to by the two parties had been made when the Bill was before the Committee the Committee would probably have
|Anson, Sir William Reynell||Hervey.F.W.F. (Bury SEdm'ds||Pease, J. A. (Saffron Walden)|
|Arkwright, John Stanhope||Hill, Sir Clement(Shrewsbury)||Rea, Walter Russell(Scarboro')|
|Banbury, Sir Frederick George||Hobart, Sir Robert||Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)|
|Banner, John S. Harmood-||Hobhouse, Charles E. H.||Roberts, John H. (Denbighs.)|
|Beck, A. Cecil||Holt, Richard Durning||Roberts,S.(Sheffield,Ecclesall)|
|Brotherton, Edward Allen||Howard, Hon. Geoffrey||Ronaldshay, Earl of|
|Carlile, E. Hildred||Hunt, Rowland||Scott, Sir S. (Marylebone, W.)|
|Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)||Kearley, Hudson E.||Simon, John Allsebrook|
|Cecil, Lord John P. Joicey-||Kennaway,Rt.Hon SirJohn H.||Smith, Hon. W. F. D. (Strand)|
|Cornwall, Sir Edwin A.||Keswick, William||Thompson, J.W.H.(Somerset,E|
|Courthope, G. Loyd||Lamont, Norman||Thomson,W. Mitchell-(Lanark)|
|Dalrymple, Viscount||Law, Andrew Bonar(Dulwich)||Turnour, Viscount|
|Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-||Lewis, John Herbert||Walrond, Hon. Lionel|
|Edwards, Sir Francis (Radnor)||Lloyd-George, Rt. Hon. David||Whiteley, George (York, W.R.)|
|Elibank, Master of||Lupton, Arnold||Whitley, John Henry (Halifax)|
|Ferens, T. R.||Maclean, Donald||Williams, Col. R. (Dorset, W.)|
|Fiennes, Hon. Eustace||MacVeagh, Jeremiah (Down,S.)||Younger, George|
|Forster, Henry William||M'Laren, Sir C. B. (Leicester)|
|Fuller, John Michael F.||Markham, Arthur Basil||Tellers foR the Ayes—Mr.|
|Gladstone, Rt. Hn.HerbertJohn||Meysey-Thompson, E. C.||Stuart - Wortley and Mr.|
|Haworth, Arthur A.||Morpeth, Viscount||Ainsworth.|
|Henry, Charles S.||Norton, Capt. Cecil William|
|Adkins, W. Ryland D.||Hay, Hon. Claude George||Richardson, A.|
|Braing,Godfrey(Isle of Wight)||Hedges, A. Paget||Roberts, G. H. (Norwich)|
|Barran, Rowland Hirst||Horniman, Emslie John||Sherwell, Arthur James|
|Bowerman, C. W.||Hudson, Walter||Silcock, Thomas Ball|
|Burnyeat, W. J. D.||Jones, Leif (Appleby)||Taylor, John W. (Durham)|
|Carr-Gomm, H. W.||Joyce, Michael||Toulmin, George|
|Clough, William||Kelley, George D.||Waterlow, D. S.|
|Cooper, G. J.||Layland-Barratt, Francis||Whitbread, Howard|
|Corbett,CH (Sussex,E.Grinst'd||Macdonald, J. R. (Leicester)||White, Luke (York, E.R.)|
|Duncan,C.(Barrow-in-Furness)||Macpherson, J. T.||Wilson, J. H. (Middlesbrough)|
|Dunn, A. Edward (Camborne)||Manfield, Harry (Northants)||Wilson, J. W.(Worcestersh.N.)|
|Edwards, Clement (Denbigh)||O'Grady, J.||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Flavin, Michael Joseph||O'Shee, James John|
|Gill, A. H.||Pickersgill, Edward Hare||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—Mr.|
|Goddard, Daniel Ford||Pirie, Duncan V.||Dickinson and Mr. Helme.|
|Gwynn, Stephen Lucius||Radford, G. H.|
said that he desired to move a new clause for the benefit and protection of the Heston and Isleworth and Twickenham Urban District Councils. accepted it at once in order to get on with other business. It seemed to him that it was perfectly in order that if an agreement could be arrived at by the parties concerned the House should agree to it. He hoped it would be clearly understood that those who voted as he proposed to do for the proposals of the right hon. Gentleman did so without casting any reflection at all on the Committee, but simply because the parties concerned had arrived at an agreement.
The House divided:—Ayes, 61; Noes, 44. (Division List No. 324.)
He regretted that at that hour of the night it was impossible to do justice to the clause. He wanted to be merciful to the House, and he would not go very fully into the details. But, without going into all the sections, he felt that there were two or three points which he might briefly mention. In the first place, the district councils of Heston, Isleworth and Twickenham asked for twenty-one days notice from the Water Board when any new mains were to be laid in their respective districts. They also asked that plans and sections of the works contemplated should be supplied to them. This was not provided for in the Waterworks Clauses Act, 1847, and he thought it was a simple request for the public authorities in question to make, more especially as there were as many as eight mains in some roads. Then the district councils asked that if any damage was done by the Board to the surface of the streets the Board should be responsible for it, and should make it good. They further asked that all pipes should be laid at least two feet below the surface of the roads. This was a very necessary provision, because he regretted to say that in some of the streets of Twickenham the collars of the pipes were to be seen projecting above the surface of the ground, and these of course, were a positive danger as well as an eyesore. The presence of the clause in the Bill would be of service to the public in the districts referred to in many ways. At present public traffic was stopped when pipes were being laid by the Water Board, and in some cases the stoppages had been for as long as six-months. That was a very serious matter, and all that the local authorities asked was that only one-half the width of the street should be taken up, and 100 yards dealt with at one time. He would not go into the other subsections of the clause, but would simply point out to the House that they were very simple and very reasonable terms. He knew that the clause had been considered by the Committee upstairs, but the same might be said of the Water Board (Charges) Bill, in the case of which it was well known that very satisfactory concessions were made after the measure had been sent back to the House. He appealed to the President of the Local Government Board to give the proposed clause his favourable consideration, and he hoped that it would be agreed to by the House, being confident that it contained only the most reasonable terms.
seconded the clause.
New Clause—" For the benefit and protection of the Heston and Isle-worth and Twickenham Urban District Councils (in this section called or referred to as 'the Urban District Councils'), the following provisions shall, notwithstanding anything in this Act contained or shown on the deposited plans and sections, unless otherwise agreed to in writing between the councils and the Board, have effect (that is to say):—( a) The Board shall not commence any of the said works to be executed by them so far as they affect any of the roads, footpaths, ways, sewers, drains, surface-water culverts, and water-courses belonging to or under the control of either of the said urban district councils until they shall have given to such urban district council at least twenty-one days' notice in writing of their intention to commence the same, by leaving the notice at the office for the time being of the clerk to such urban district council, with plans and sections of the said works, nor until such urban district council shall have signified its approval of the same, unless the said urban district council shall fail to signify in writing to the Board its approval or disapproval within twenty-one days after service of the said notice and delivery of the said plans and sections, in which event the Board may proceed forthwith with the said works in accordance with the said plans and sections, and in case, after such disapproval has been signified as afore said, any such plans and sections are not agreed upon, any difference between the Board and the said urban district council or councils with reference to the matters aforesaid shall be determined by arbitration as hereinafter provided; (b) Where the surface of any street or footpath or public place has been interfered with or disturbed by the Board in constructing the work or performing" the operations by this Act authorised, the Board shall forthwith well and
sufficiently, and to the reasonable satisfaction of such urban district council having control of the same, or its surveyor, restore the surfaces so interfered with or disturbed, and shall make good and repair for one year from any such restoration any sinking or subsidence of such street or footpaths caused by the execution of the said works; (c) No part of the works by this Act authorised shall unnecessarily interfere with the sewers, drains, or watercourses of or under the control of either of the urban district councils, and shall be so constructed that the upper surface of the conduits, mains, or lines of pipes shall throughout the entire length where they respectively pass through the lands, roads, or ways of such urban district council be not less than two feet below the present surface of the ground; ( d) The Board shall not without the consent of the urban district council having the control and management of any street referred to in Section 14 of this Act in any way during the progress of the works by this Act authorised stop, or impede, or obstruct the public traffic passing along more than one-half the width of any such street for a greater length than 100 yards at one time, and shall in the execution of such works comply with and conform to all reasonable directions and regulations of any such urban district council in reference to such interference with the said street, footpaths, or public places and the traffic; ( e) No sewer, drain, gas, or other main or pipe of or under the control of either of the urban district councils shall be raised, sunk, or otherwise altered in position so as to impair the efficiency of such sewer, drain, gas, or other main or pipe, or of any existing connection therewith, or so as to interfere with or increase the cost of any connection which may hereafter require to be made to such sewer, drain, gas, or other main or pipe by the owners or occupiers of any lands or premises in the district of either of such urban district councils; ( f) The Board shall from time to time and within six months from the time at which any new conduits mains, or lines of pipes authorised by this Act shall have been laid down or formed by the Board within the
district of any urban district council cause a map or plan to be made on a scale not more than 88 feet to the inch, and shall cause to be marked thereon the course and situation of such conduits, mains, or lines of pipes within the respective urban district council's district, and shall within six months from the making of any alterations or additions cause such map or plan to be from time to time corrected and such additions made thereto as may show the altered line and situation of such conduits, mains, or lines of pipes, and a copy of such map or plan with the date expressed thereon of the last time when the same shall have been so corrected as aforesaid shall be deposited at the offices of the respective urban district councils within one month from the making of such map or plan or any additions, alterations, or deviations; (g)Nothing in this Act shall take away or abridge any powers to open or break up any road along or across which any aqueducts, conduits, or lines of pipes for conveying water are laid, or any other power vested in any such urban district council for any of the purposes for which such urban district councils are respectively constituted, for the purpose of laying down, repairing, altering, or removing any pipes, drains, or sewers, or any tubes, wires, or apparatus for electric lighting, telegraphic, or other purposes, but in the exercise of such power every such urban district council shall be subject to the following restrictions (that is to say):—(1) They shall cause as little detriment or inconvenience to the Board as circumstances admit; (2)Before they commence any work whereby the flow of water along any aqueduct, conduit, or lines of pipes will be interrupted they shall (except in cases of urgency, in which cases no notice shall be necessary) give to the Board notice of their intention to commence such work, specifying the time at which they will begin to do so, such notice to be given seven days at least before the commencement of the work;(3)They shall not be liable to pay to the Board any compensation for injury done to the aqueducts, conduits, or lines of pipes for conveying water by the execution of such work, or for the
reasonable exercise of the powers so vested in them as aforesaid;(4) Whenever, for the purpose of enabling them to execute such work, either of the urban district councils shall so require, the Board shall either stop the flow of water along the aqueduct, conduit, or lines of pipes to which the notice shall refer, where it would otherwise interfere with such work, or shore up and secure the same at their own risk and cost during the execution of the work there: Provided that such work shall always be completed by the urban district councils, or either of them, with all reasonable expedition; (5) Neither of the urban district councils shall execute such work, so far as it immediately affects the aqueducts, conduits, or lines of pipes, except under the superintendence of the Board, unless they refuse or neglect to give such superintendence at the time specified in the notice for the commencement of the work, or discontinue the same during the progress of the work, and they shall execute such work at their own expense and to the reasonable satisfaction of the Board: Provided that any additional expense imposed upon any urban district council by reason of the existence of the aqueducts conduits, or lines of pipes in any road or place where any such pipes, drains or sewers, tubes, wires, or apparatus shall have been laid before the construction of such aqueducts, conduits, or lines of pipes for conveying water shall be borne by the Board."
Brought up, and read the first time.
Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the clause be read a second time."
said that this clause was brought before the Joint Committee along with a similar clause brought forward by other district councils. After hearing evidence on the point and considering the whole matter the Joint Committee came to the conclusion that the Twickenham Council, as well as other councils, were amply protected by the Waterworks Clauses Act, and accordingly they disallowed the clause. It was very significant that from the entire area of the Water Board there should be only one local authority asking for those special powers.
said that the special clause was asked for on account of so many mains being laid in the roads or streets. He should have thought that if any local authority within the area of the Metropolitan Water Board required such a clause as this it would be the City of London, but, as a matter of fact, none of the other authorities required it. All the authorities throughout the area were protested by the Waterworks Clauses Act, and he asked the House to support the Committee in disallowing the clause.
I say ditto to the hon. Member who has just sat down and I hope the House will say the same;
said that as the feeling of the House seemed to be against him on the subject he saw no reason why he should press the clause to a division.
Motion and clause, by leave, with drawn.
"In page 22, lines 11 and 12, to leave out the words 'of water supply,' and to insert the words 'from which the Board are for the time being authorised to take water.' "
"In page 22, line 12, after the word 'their,' to insert the word 'authorised.' "
Amendments agreed to—
moved to leave out Clause 36. He said that his Motion was made to express the feeling of a number of his constituents who were not satisfied with the site selected. The urban councils of East and West Molesey and Walton-on-Thames were opposed to the proposed site at Molesey. The locality was not adapted for the construction of a reservoir. It was too late in the night to enter into all the points which might be brought forward, but he earnestly hoped a promise might be given that a clause would be inserted by which the protection of the property of the people in East Molesey would be safe-guarded.
thought he might say the point raised by his hon. friend had never been considered by the Committee, which dealt with the subject in a general way. It was desired to retain under this clause certain powers conferred by the London Waterworks Act of 1900. Those powers were confined to London and specially to the locality of Lambeth. Now it was sought by the clause to give the powers which were originally given to Lambeth to the whole of London, which would make the local circumstances of East Molesey intolerable. Even the technical advisers of the Water Board said that the reservoir which would be created under this clause would be totally inadequate, they being of opinion, he was sure, that both money would be saved and local feeling better consulted by making the reservoir at another point. It seemed to him the House should delete that clause because it did not form part of the general framework of the Bill, but was merely a clause swept in under the general powers which were being given over to the Water Board.
Amendment proposed:—" To leave out Clause 36."
said it was a misapprehension that the Joint Committee did not consider the matter. The Joint Committee not only heard counsel with regard to this particular point, but they heard a great many witnesses with regard to the reservoir, to which they gave special attention. They con- sidered most carefully the evidence brought before them, and came to the unanimous conclusion that in view of the action of Parliament in 1900, in connection with the reservoir, the Water Board should have the extension of time that was necessary in the interests of the water supply of London. He asked the House to affirm the decision of the Committee. It was absolutely necessary that the powers of the clause should be given. The Committee went into all the details and no harm could be done to anyone.
Question, proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Bill,"
Question put, and agreed to.
Bill to be read the third time.