HC Deb 04 August 1891 vol 356 cc1249-50

I beg to ask the President of the Board of Trade whether representations have been made to him that the law relating to the enforcement of gratings on mills in England, to prevent salmon entering the watercourses of mills, has been proved to be ineffective for the purpose; and, if so, is it on account of the deficiency or want of funds on the part of Boards of Conservators to erect such gratings, or whether the English Board have sufficient funds to erect and maintain them; whether millowners in England have offered any opposition to put up such gratings on streams frequented by salmon; what is the general nature or character of the working power of the mills in England, that is, whether worked by bucket wheels or turbines; where gratings have been put, what has been their character, at whose expense have they been erected, and in what places, or at what mills in England; have they been proved injurious to the effective working power of the mill; if any complaint that they would, or do, who decides the matter; is there any appeal; and, if so, to what Court; and have any complaints been made by any Boards of Conservators, or any other persons interested, against the insufficiency of the present laws in England bearing on this subject; and, if so, what is the nature of the complaints or the reasons given by them that the law is insufficient or ineffective?


I am informed that the Boards of Conservators in England and Wales complain generally of difficulties which they experience in the erection of gratings at mills under the provisions of the Salmon Fishery Acts, in consequence of the absence of a means of determining beforehand the differences which frequently arise between themselves and the occupiers of mills on the subject, and that, in many cases, they abstain from erecting gratings from fear of the expensive litigation which might ensue, their funds being in most cases limited. In the event of a decision being sought on the point whether a grating which had been erected was injurious to the milling power, it might be obtained by the occupier of the mill under the 54th section of the Salmon Fishery Act, 1873. I am not aware of any case in which the question has been tried. The mills are in the majority of cases worked by wheels, either overshot or undershot, but of late years, in many instances, turbines have been introduced. A Return of all the gratings which have been erected could only be obtained by application to each Board of Conservators, and it does not appear that the utility of such a Return would be at all commensurate with the labour involved in its preparation. I am not aware that any gratings injurious to the milling power are maintained.