HC Deb 14 July 1856 vol 143 cc735-6

wished to put a question to the right hon. Baronet the President of the Board of Public Works, with reference to the drainage of the metropolis. The Metropolitan Board of Works had sanctioned a plan by which the sewerage would have its outfall at Plumstead Marsh, eight miles from London. That Board could not carry out any plan of drainage without the previous sanction of the right hon. Baronet, and it appeared that he declined to assist them. The Act of Parliament, under which the Metropolitan Board of Works was constituted, provided that all plans were to be submitted to the Board of Public Works, and consequently a deputation from that Board had waited upon the right hon. Gentleman, and submitted the plans referred to for his consideration and approval. The right hon. Baronet, in reply, said that he would cause some experiments to be made before giving a definite answer. That had been done, and it appeared that there was a great difference of opinion between the right hon. Baronet and the Metropolitan Board. This was a most important question to the metropolis, and what he wished to know on the part of the ratepayers was, whether the experiments which had been made under the instructions of the right hon. Baronet had been made in consultation with the engineer of the Metropolitan Board of Works—whether any plans had been laid before him for preventing the discharge of the sewerage of the metropolis at an objectionable point of the Thames, and whether the right hon. Baronet had taken or would take such measures as would prevent so important a work as the drainage of the metropolis from standing over for another Session?


admitted that the questions were of great importance to the taxpayers of the metropolis, and he would state in a few words the course taken by the Metropolitan Board of Works, and the course he had felt it to be his duty to take under the circumstances. Under the Act of last Session the main sewerage of the metropolis was to be completed before the end of 1860, but before any plan could be proceeded with it must first be submitted to, and approved of by the First Commissioner of Works. Having been given to understand that a plan was to be submitted to him, founded on certain data taken by the Commissioners of Sewers in 1851, and being extremely anxious that the work should proceed with as little delay on his part as possible, he communicated to the Metropolitan Board of Works that he thought it would be desirable that some person should be appointed to test the accuracy of the data on which the plan was founded. Accordingly, he communicated with his right hon. Friend the First Lord of the Admiralty, and requested him to name some person for the purpose who was thoroughly conversant with the Thames. His right hon. Friend named Captain Burstow, and that Gentleman was appointed to inquire into the matter. On the 3rd of June, he (Sir B. Hall) received a deputation from the Metropolitan Board of Works, and, having presented their plan, they desired that he would approve of it. He told them that the plan should have immediate consideration, but that, before pronouncing an opinion upon it, he thought it would be much better to wait until he was in possession of Captain Burstow's report. That report was made on the 30th, and on the 2nd of July he communicated to the President of the Metropolitan Board of Works that the plan proposed was at variance with the intentions of the Legislature, as expressed in the Act of last Session, inasmuch as it would keep the sewerage of the metropolis oscillating between Plumstead and the metropolis, and that therefore he could not sanction it. At the same time he conveyed to the Metropolitan Board of Works that if they presented any other plans to the Government which were in conformity with the Act of last Session, they should receive immediate consideration.