§ Order for Second Reading read.
§ *COLONEL SANDYS (Lancashire, S.W., Bootle)
I have put a notice on the Paper in reference to this Bill, because I wished to draw the attention of the House to it, seeing that it involves matters of considerable importance to that part of the country with which it proposes to deal. There is also alongside of it another Bill (the Barrow-in-Furness Corporation Bill), which practically forms part of the same scheme. I do not intend, however, to put the House to the trouble of a division, because, considering the composition of the Committee to whom it will necessarily be referred, and also the fact that the whole question turns very much upon technical and engineering evidence, as well as local matters, it is probable that the House at this stage would not be willing to depart from its usual course. Therefore, although I am prepared to go into the question fully, I do not propose to embark upon any lengthened opposition. I may say that the reason why I oppose 470 the Bill and take an objection to the Second Reading is that the river Duddon forms part of a fishery district, consisting of five rivers, under the control of the Fishery Board, of which I am the Chairman, and I have been asked by my Board to see what can be done in the matter. Only this morning I have received a protest stating that the Bill ought not to be proceeded with at this moment, as the question is under consideration in various quarters. We have been told that it is before the Board of Trade, but we have received no information as to the questions which have been considered by the Board of Trade or the provisions recommended by them, and it is quite impossible for my Board to accept the Bill as it stands. At the same time, I am quite sure that every question will be threshed out before the Select Committee, and that all the details will be thoroughly gone into. Moreover, should the Bill when it comes hack from the Committee be such as we cannot accept, it will be competent for me, on behalf of the Fishery Board, to move the rejection of the measure on the Third Reading. Therefore I will not trouble the House with entering into any details, but will simply say a few words on those provisions of the Bill which appear to me to be objectionable. In the first place, I consider that under this Bill it would be possible for the Steel Company to drain entirely the river Duddon. At certain times—the driest months in the year—it would be possible to take away all the water from the stream, and the river would become absolutely dry just at that period of the year in the summer when the salmon are running up the river to spawn. Another objectionable point is one with which the Fishery Board are not so much concerned, that it is proposed to throw a weir or dam across the river Duddon, 471 the effect of which will be to diminish the flow of water down to the estuary for something like 17 miles, the present flow being of the utmost importance in keeping the river open as a navigable channel. If the flow of water be materially diminished, the effect will be to prevent vessels from getting up at all. Another point to which I take exception is that the Corporation of Barrow do not require this water for the needs of the inhabitants. And in that contention I am supported by a letter which has been addressed to me by some of the ratepayers living on the spot. I also complain that the Corporation are asking for powers to apply the provisions of an Act which they obtained in 1875 in regard to the water shed to an entirely different water shed, and that they have not yet exhausted the water shed then granted to them. For these reasons I strongly object to the Bill, but I do not propose to trouble the House with a Division upon it at this stage.
Question "That the Bill be now read a second time," put, and agreed to.