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Clause 4—(Flood Prevention Schemes)

Volume 643: debated on Tuesday 4 July 1961

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Lords Amendment: In page 4, line 7, at end insert:

"and, where in connection with any such operations it is intended that operations for the diversion of a sewer or a water-main shall he carried out by a sewerage or water authority (whether a different authority from the local authority or not, the scheme shall also specify those last-mentioned operations."

8.0 p.m.

I beg to move, That this House doth agree with the Lords in the said Amendment.

The purpose of this Amendment is to facilitate the reading and understanding of the Bill by those who have to operate it. It is perhaps a disadvantage that it is necessary or it would be necessary without this Amendment to go as far as Clause 12 before it became evident that work on sewers and water mains came within the scope of the Bill. I am anxious to avoid any possible misunderstanding and this Amendment has been introduced virtually as a signpost in Clause 4 indicating what is to follow in Clause 12 about sewers and water mains.

I am grateful to the two hon. Members who suggested this Amendment. I think that it will be helpful to those who have to read and deal with the Bill.

I thank the Joint Under-Secretary for having heeded our words of wisdom during the Report stage, although he will recall that he was not very favourably disposed to those words of wisdom at that time and practically ignored them. I do not think that he even promised us at the time that he would look at our suggestion. He treated it in a sort of off-hand discourteous manner that in coming from my hon. Friend the Member for Kilmarnock (Mr. Ross) and the hon. Member for Edinburgh, East (Mr. Willis) it was not worth bothering about.

I am glad that the hon. Gentleman has now had the wisdom to see that it is worth while. If he would look at our suggestions rather more thoroughly I am sure that he would find much more in them than he thinks there is. I hope that this will be a sort of precedent that he will in future give our suggestions the consideration they deserve. I am sure that, if he does that, all his Bills will be improved, as this one is by the addition of these words.

We should be grateful to the Joint Under-Secretary or to someone else who takes the trouble to read what we say even though at the time the Joint Under-Secretary did not think there was any great merit in what we had to say. The question of sewers was one of the matters that got him rather heated during the discussion of the Bill. We were very interested indeed to hear him say that local authorities were very responsible people. It was in relation to this Clause and the subject of sewers, that he talked about unscrupulous local authorities trying to get an extra £ or two from the Secretary of State for Scotland. We are grateful for this belated acceptance of our suggestion and that he has heeded the advice of my hon. Friend the Member for Edinburgh, East (Mr. Willis), who made this suggestion during the Report stage. He tried to get the hon. Gentleman to put something into Clause 2, but my hon. Friend was brushed off on that occasion. This belated acceptance heartens us, and we look forward to a repetition of this process on other Bills.

Question put and agreed to.