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Air Navigation Bill Hl

Volume 40: debated on Tuesday 22 June 1920

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Amendments reported (according to Order).

had an Amendment on the Paper, after Clause 9, to insert the following new clause—

".Where an aircraft is flown in such a manner as to be the cause of unnecessary danger to any person or property on land or sea, the pilot or the person in charge of the aircraft, and also the owner thereof, unless he proves to the satisfaction of the court that the aircraft was so flown without his actual fault or privity, shall be liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding two hundred pounds or to imprisonment with or without hard labour for a term not exceeding six months or to both such imprisonment and fine.
"For the purposes of this section, the expression 'owner' in relation to an aircraft includes any person by whom the aircraft is hired at the time of the offence."

The noble Marquess said: My Lords, I desire to move to insert a new clause in accordance with an undertaking which I gave on the Committee stage, following remarks which were made by Lord Salisbury and Lord Montagu, in regard to making it clear that dangerous flying would come under almost the severest penalties of the law. The proposed new clause is to that effect, and I think it will meet the object of those noble Lords. I do not know that there is any need for me to go into details, as the clause speaks for itself.

Amendment moved—

After Clause 9 insert the said now clause.— (The Marquess of Londonderry.)

I accept, with great pleasure, what the noble Marquess has said, and I think the clause which he has put upon the Paper carries out exactly the undertaking which he entered into. It reminds me of Clause 1 of the Motor Car Act. There is just one point which I should like to refer to. I understand that at the present moment any one can fly at any height. That being so, I think the time will come very shortly, if flying becomes more general, when low flying over populous places, and the consequent disturbance of His Majesty's liege subjects, will become a serious question. I will not, however, further trouble your Lordships with that matter to-day. I merely thank the noble Marquess for the new clause, which I am sure will reassure many people in the country who are anxious on the point.

On Question, Amendment agreed to.