HC Deb 17 July 1866 vol 184 cc933-7

(Mr. Milner Gibson, Mr. Monsell.)


Leave to the Committee to sit till Four of the Clock, and report at Six of the Clock.

Bill considered in Committee.

(In the Committee.)

Clause 6 (One of the Five Conservators to be appointed by the Board of Trade.)


said, he wished to call attention to the fact that no compensation was provided under the Bill for certain persons who had property on the Thames which would be largely affected, and in some cases confiscated, if the provisions of the measure were carried out. He therefore trusted some means would be taken to remedy the defect to which he alluded. He also thought that this being a hybrid Bill, the petitioners against it had been put to an unfair expense.


said, that the Bill was a Public Bill, and having passed through a Select Committee upstairs, it was now going through a Committee of the Whole House in the ordinary way. The question at present before the Committee was that Clause 6, which provided for the appointment of a Conservator by the Board of Trade, should stand part of the Bill.


said, it was important that the inhabitants of the metropolis should in some way or other be represented on the Board, in order that their interests might be protected. He therefore proposed to leave out all the words after "appointed," and insert— By the Metropolitan Board of Works, who shall be at liberty from time to time to revoke any appointments made by them and to appoint another Conservator instead, when and as they may think St. The Metropolitan Board of Works represented the ratepayers, and he thought they were more entitled to a voice in the matter than the Board of Trade, who were empowered by the Bill in its present form to appoint five Conservators.


said, he regretted the necessary absence of the President of the Board of Trade. He did not think that the inhabitants of the metropolis had much to complain of in this matter as the expenses were defrayed out of the tolls of the upper navigation, and the London Water Companies had agreed to contribute £5,000 a year towards the expenses. The Government were of opinion that the clause should stand as it was, inasmuch as the Select Committee, who had carefully considered this subject, had come to the conclusion that there was no reason why the Metropolitan Board of Works should be represented on the Board.


said, that the Bill simply transferred to the Thames Conservancy Board the jurisdiction over the Upper Thames from Staines to Oxford. The Metropolitan Board had no authority over the navigation of the Lower Thames, and it would, therefore, be anomalous to connect them with the Conservancy Board, and give them a jurisdiction over the Upper Thames. There was no more reason why the Metropolitan Board of Works should be represented on the Conservancy Board, than there was that the Conservancy Board should have a seat on the Board of Works. The navigation of the Thames was a public right, and was best placed in the hands of the Board of Trade, which had a general superintendence over the navigation of the Thames as had been suggested by the Select Committee.


said, the Metropolitan Board of Works might be an excellent body, but he objected to appointments of this kind being made by public bodies, as in case of bad appointments it was difficult to put the finger on those who had made an injudicious selection.


said, that the ratepayers of the metropolis had to sustain the expense of the upper navigation, and ought therefore to be represented. But as the Government opposed the Amendment, he had no alternative but to allow it to be negatived.


thought the appointments should rest with the Board of Trade. The ratepayers of the metropolis merely sustained a share of the general burden.


said, the Select Committee had carefully considered this subject, and they had come to the conclusion that the Metropolitan Board of Works had no valid claim to be represented on the Conservancy Board.

Amendment negatived.

Clause agreed to.

Clauses 7 to 14, inclusive, agreed to.

Clause 15 (Votes for the election of Conservators should be given either personally or by proxy.)


said, that considering the scattered nature of the constituency, he thought it would be better that the election of Conservators should be by voting papers instead of by proxies.


said, that the proposal was a good one.


said, he would move that the clause be struck out with the view of framing a new clause on the Report in conformity with the suggestion of his right hon. Friend the Member for Oxfordshire.

Clause struck out.

Clauses 16 to 42, inclusive, agreed to.

Clause 43 (Conservators to repair Dams, &c., in lieu of Millowners, &c.)


moved an Amendment in order to prevent persons being compelled to repair certain locks, dams, and weirs after they had no longer become of use for navigable purposes.


said, he would support the clause in its present form, inasmuch as it merely enacted that no locks, dams, and weirs should be removed unless by lawful authority.


said, that he would consent to consider the subject of giving power to the Conservators to remove the weirs, because under the clause as it at present stood no such power existed, and so long as the wiers were not removed, the persons using them were bound to keep them in repair.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause agreed to.

Clauses 44 to 57, inclusive, agreed to.

Clause 58 (Contributions of £1,000 a year by each of the five Water Companies of London.)


said, that this clause would never have been introduced if the late President of the Board of Trade had acted with a due regard to the rights of the public. He did not see why the metropolis should be taxed to provide the funds necessary for this Act.


said, that the Water Companies were quite willing to pay the sum in question, for they would derive the greatest benefit from the purification of the river effected by means of the Bill. The hon. Member for the Tower Hamlets spoke of the metropolis being taxed as if the Water Companies intended to raise their rates in order to defray this sum. He could speak with authority, however, for two of these Companies—the Grand Junction and the Lambeth Water Companies —and he believed he might speak with equal certainty of the other Companies, that they had never thought of raising their rates for this purpose. The inhabitants of London would not be required to pay a farthing more for their water, although they might expect it to be of purer quality.


said, that the Metropolitan Water Companies had a direct interest in the purity of the stream from which they drew their supplies, because it relieved them from the danger of possible competition. He feared that the Thames would be in danger of becoming an open sewer unless this Bill passed.


observed, that the Bill enacted that no new drains were to be opened into the Thames, and it would preserve the water at least as pure as it was now.


It does more than that.

Clause agreed to.

Clauses 59 to 61, inclusive, agreed to.

Clause 62 (Provision for Compensation to Robert Danbe.)


said, that the Select Committee had recognized the claim of Mr. Danbe alone to compensation, although a claim was set up on behalf of Lincoln College, Oxford, which appeared to be equally worthy of consideration. He moved to leave out the words "Robert Danbe," in order to insert the words "any person or persons." This would enable the claims of other parties to be determined by the arbitrator.


said, that all the owners of tolls upon the upper navigation agreed to give up their claims except Mr. Danbe, Lincoln College, and Captain Phillimore. The latter claim was made too late before the Committee, but it would be heard before a Committee of the House of Lords. The Committee were averse from making any exception, but after hearing counsel they were of opinion that there were reasons for making an exception in Mr. Danbe's favour, which, however, did not apply to Lincoln College.


said, that Mr. Danbe and Lincoln College claimed the tolls in question by an ancient title prior to any Act of Parliament on the subject, but confirmed by Acts of Parliament. They were entitled to these tolls between Oxford and Abingdon in equal moieties, and those tolls were increasing with the increase of population. It seemed very extraordinary that, although they were joint owners, full compensation was to be given to Mr. Danbe, while Lincoln College was left out of the clause.


said, the Committee was informed that Lincoln College, being the owners of a mill, had certain obligations in regard to conserving the river which they would now be relieved from. Mr. Danbe, on the contrary, received his tolls as private property, without any corresponding duty being imposed upon him, so that the two cases were not identical.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause agreed to.

House resumed.

Committee report Progress; to sit again this day.

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