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Clause 11—(Permanent Power To Maintain Government Oil Pipelines)

Volume 446: debated on Wednesday 28 January 1948

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I beg to move, in page 9, line 15, at the end, to insert:

"(5) Where the water supplied by any local authority or statutory undertakers is fouled by any Government pipeline or works accessory thereto or by the use thereof, the Minister of Works shall cause the said pipeline or works to be removed or diverted or moved to a new site, as the case may be."
This Amendment has been put down with a view to trying to ascertain from the Government spokesman what provision, if any, there may be in the existing law to protect water supplies from pollution when these pipelines are retained.

Clause 14 (4) gives the Treasury power to make certain regulations. Amongst the regulations they can make are regulations

"for requiring the Minister or other person entitled to the use thereof"—
that means the pipeline—
"to keep any such line and works in good repair, to take such steps as may be prescribed for restoring land where any such line or works are abandoned, and to indemnify persons against loss or damage caused by any failure to keep any such line or works in good repair.
The requisite regulations will be made in the first place to indemnify against loss or damage. True, the Clause does not impose an obligation to make the regulations, but there is the power, and it will be used. Under Subsections (4) and (5) of Clause 10 there is power to divert the pipeline in case of need. In general, no difficulty has been experienced with regard to the fouling of water in this way. There is constant inspection of these pipelines—on occasions the inspection has been every 24 hours—and therefore I do not think that any leakage would remain undetected for very long. If the Amendment were accepted, it would be difficult to expect that a pipe should necessarily be removed because there has been, for example, a single instance of fouling. There are the necessary powers under the Bill to make regulations dealing with this point, and we feel, having regard to past experience and in view of the practice it is proposed to adopt in regard to supervision and maintenance, that no difficulties are likely to arise in the future.

I am obliged for the explanation, which will, I think, enable me to withdraw the Amendment. I am aware that the Ministry of Health have these matters very much in mind, and that water undertakings, whether statutory or not, come under their watchful eye. I trust that that will continue to be the case. I beg to ask leave to withdraw the Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause ordered to stand part of the Bill.