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Clause 17—(Keeping Of Plans)

Volume 529: debated on Thursday 1 July 1954

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I beg to move, in page 11, line 11, to leave out paragraph (a), and to insert:

"(a) accurate plans of—
  • (i) all the workings in the mine (whether abandoned or not) or such of them as ma) be prescribed: and
  • (ii) all other workings (whether abandoned or not) within the boundaries of the mine or within the prescribed distance outside any boundary of the mine (measured from an) point on the boundary in a straight line on any plane) or such of them as may be prescribed;
  • This Amendment is made in response to a rather technical but helpful suggestion proposed during the Committee stage by my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for South Fylde (Colonel Lancaster). He pointed out that if the vertical distance between workings in adjacent mines exceeds a certain figure, it ought not to be, necessary to have plans for those workings in each mine showing the workings in the other mine.

    The object of this Amendment is to make that clear, and it will avoid the necessity of having those two sets of plans in each mine when there is no danger of an accident occurring owing to the amount of vertical distance.

    Will the Minister explain one point about this sensible Amendment, which I am not criticising? What is the meaning of the words "or such of them as may be prescribed"? Do they not vitiate the whole proposal? It seems to me that if we put in those words we shall lose the utility of the Clause. These terms are very dear to Parliamentary draftsmen, because one feels that they are designed to cover the possibility of their having failed to think of something, but they seem to me to be negative.

    That is the way in which we prescribe the distance above which the workings need not be put into the plans.

    But none would be prescribed if the workings were all outside the prescribed distance.

    On a point of order, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, I am not speaking twice. I rose to put a question to the Minister. I have sat through Report stages for nearly 10 years and have never before heard it suggested from the Chair that a mere intervention to elucidate a few words was a speech.

    I mistook the hon. Gentleman, I thought he was making a speech. As long as he is only asking a question, he is in order.

    I do not want to labour the point, but it may be important. After leaving out paragraph (a) we insert the words:

    "accurate plans of—(i) all the workings in the mine (whether abandoned or not) or such of them as may be prescribed."
    That does not refer to distance or to size or to anything else. Again, paragraph (ii) says:
    "all other workings (whether abandoned or not) within the boundaries of the mine or within the prescribed distance …"
    That is, all other workings except such of them as may be prescribed. I may be wrong, but it seems to me that the Parliamentary Secretary might look at this again.

    It is quite possible that the words "all other workings" in paragraph (ii) may mean workings not in the mine in question, but in one in proximity to it.

    Amendment agreed to.

    Further Amendments made: In page 11, line 17, leave out "so far as practicable."

    In line 19, leave out "and," and insert:

    "or, as the case may be."

    In line 21, leave out from "may," to "require," in line 23.

    In line 27, leave out "the workings, and insert:

    "workings delineated thereon."

    In line 40, leave out "to which the plans relate," and insert:

    "delineated on the plans."—.[Mr. Joynson-Hicks.]