HC Deb 17 March 1845 vol 78 cc953-6
Lord G. Somerset

brought up the Report of the Railway Clauses Consolidation Bill.

On the Question that it be received,

Mr. Hawes

drew attention to Clause 17, which gave power to the Admiralty to prohibit the execution of any works upon any shore of the sea, navigable river, &c. It seemed to him that this was an extraordinary power to give to the engineer of the Admiralty; and it was unfair, after a Bill had been fully discussed in private Committee, and a certain power given to such Committee, upon the evidence of eminent engineers, that the engineer to the Admiralty should, upon his sole responsibility, put his veto upon the further progress of the works. To prevent such an anomaly, he proposed, that after the word "company," the words "unless authorised by the special act," should be added.

Mr. Fitzroy

objected to the insertion of the words proposed. The power had long been vested in the Admiralty, and he did not see any reason for doing away with it now.

Mr. Henley

said, it was a very stringent clause; it gave the Admiralty the power of stopping works after they had actually commenced, and he thought it ought to be modified.

Lord Marsham

was of opinion that the clause was a very salutary one, as it made the companies aware that they must obtain the sanction of the Admiralty before they could attempt to interfere with any Admiralty works. It would be well if companies always received the sanction of the Admiralty prior to their bringing any Bill before Parliament, which would encroach upon navigable rivers, &c., which were exclusively under the management of the Admiralty.

Sir W. Clay

supported the Amendment. He thought it was very unfair, after allowing a company to go to the expense of surveying and beginning their works, to permit the Admiralty to interfere and put a stop to their further progress.

Sir G. Clerk

said, that the subject of the encroachments which had been made on navigable rivers, harbours, and creeks, had been brought under the consideration of the House by the hon. Member for Montrose, and a Commission had been issued to investigate the subject of the encroachments complained of. If the clause were allowed to pass as it stood, no Railway Bill would be introduced where it was necessary, in executing the proposed line, to cross a river, creek, &c., without the parties interested having first obtained the formal assent of the Admiralty. This he thought was absolutely necessary. The introduction of the words proposed would entirely destroy the effect of the clause. He must therefore oppose their introduction.

The House divided on the Question that the words be inserted:—Ayes 4; Noes 37: Majority 33.

List of the AYES.
Aldam, W.
Henley, J. W. TELLERS.
Lambton, H. Hawes, B.
Sibthorp, Col. Clay, Sir W.
List of the NOES.
Allix, J. P. Horsman, E.
Arkwright, G. Kemble, H.
Baring, rt. hn. W. B. Mahon, Visct.
Boldero, H. G. Marsham, Visct.
Bowles, Adm. Miles, W.
Brotherton, J. Neville, R.
Bruce, Lord E. Norreys, Sir D. J.
Clerk, rt. hon. Sir G. O'Brien, A. S.
Clive, Visct. Plumptre, J. P.
Dickinson, F. H. Rushbrooke, Col.
Dodd, G. Smith, rt. hn. T. B. C.
Egerton, W. T. Smollett, A.
Entwisle, W. Somerset, Lord G.
Fuller, A. E. Spooner, R.
Gaskell, J. Milnes Trotter, J.
Gladstone, rt. hn. W. E. Wellesley, Lord C.
Gordon, hon. Capt. Wortley, hon. J. S.
Greene, T. TELLERS.
Grimston, Visct. Lennox, Lord A.
Harris, hon. C. Fitzroy, hon. H.

Clause agreed to.

Sir W. Clay

wished to draw the attention of the noble Lord to Clause 18, which related to the interruption of the supply of gas and water by any railway company. He feared that at present the clause was too stringent, and would very materially interfere with the gas and water companies, and that much to their detriment. There were deputations in attendance outside the House from several large gas and water companies, and he knew that they were exceedingly anxious upon this point. He would recommend that the noble Lord should permit those persons to suggest some alteration in this clause which might be sufficient for the purpose they had in view; and he had no doubt, if allowed, that they would be able to propose such alterations as might be useful. It was quite true that they could put in special clauses in the special Bills; but it must be remembered that the projectors of every railway would be highly fortified in their position by being able to say, "Here is a Consolidation Bill. In it the Legislature gives every protection that they think necessary to every party, and why then should we attempt to introduce words into our Private Bill which the Legislature did not think necessary?"

Mr. Dodd

suggested that provisions should be made for the full supply of gas and water wherever the natural channel of supply was interrupted by any railway.

Mr. Kemble

hoped that the noble Lord would attend to the suggestions which had been made by the hon. Gentlemen who had addressed the House upon this subject. He had received communications from several gas and water companies, and he knew that they felt very strongly upon the matter.

Lord G. Somerset

certainly felt the difficulty with which he had to contend in the insertion of this clause. He had, however, no objection to the insertion of some such words as those recommended by the hon. Member for Maidstone (Mr. Dodd), but he should not like to go beyond that. It would be desirable in these cases that special companies should take care of their special interests, and it must not be imagined that this Bill was at all meant to interfere with special rights.

Consideration of the Amendment postponed.

Colonel Sibthorp

opposed the 27th Clause, and proposed as an Amendment, that the distances of five hundred and two hundred yards on each side of the line given by the clause as land which might be taken by the railway companies, for temporary occupation, should be limited, in each case, to one hundred yards.

The Amendment was not seconded, and the clause was agreed to.

Mr. Hawes

objected to Clause 31, and proposed its omission.

Lord G. Somerset

saw the objection to the clause; and if the hon. Gentleman would propose some Amendment, with the object of confining its meaning, and not altogether destroy it, he would be happy, if possible, to introduce it on the third reading on Wednesday next. Perhaps it would be better to allow the clause to pass in its present form, and propose an Amendment on the third reading.

Clause, with that understanding, was agreed to.

Report received.

Bill to be read a third time.

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