HC Deb 22 July 1897 vol 51 cc833-6

Where any such sewer shall pass under or across, or in any way affect any railway or canal, or any bridge, tunnel, or other work in connection therewith, the following provisions for the protection of such railway or canal, or bridge, tunnel, or other work, shall apply and have effect:—

  1. (1.) The whole works connected with such sewer, so far as affecting any railway or canal, or bridge, tunnel, or other work, shall be executed and thereafter maintained under the superintendence and to the reasonable satisfaction of the engineer of the railway or canal company, and according to plans and specifications to be previously submitted to such engineer and approved by him in writing. Provided that if such engineer shall not have expressed his approval or disapproval of such plans and specifications within fourteen days after the same shall have been submitted to Lim, he shall be deemed to have approved thereof;
  2. (2.) Such works, and any alteration which it may at any time be necessary to make in such works, may be executed either by the local authority or by the railway or canal company at the option of the engineer of the railway or canal company;
  3. (3.) In the event of the local authority and the engineer of time railway or canal company differing in opinion in regard to any works affecting the railway, or canal, or bridge, tunnel, or other work, or as to the mode of carrying out such works, or otherwise in relation thereto, such difference shall, on the application of the local authority, or of the railway or canal company, be referred to an engineer to be appointed by the sheriff, and shall be decided by the sheriff upon the report of such engineer, and such decision shall be final.


moved to leave out the clause. He said that this clause embodied a very novel principle which had not been seen in any Public Health Act before. Other kinds of property required as much protection as railways, and there was no reason why it should be confined exclusively to railway property.


submitted that it was only just that the railway company should have the supervision of the work that the safety of the public might be safeguarded.


contended that the local authority should he the master of the situation and should not have to obtain the approval of the railway company. The companies had already far too much power.


argued that the existing law was sufficient to protect not only railway companies, but those whose interests were of greater importance. The clause was totally unnecessary. There was no such law in England; there had never hitherto been such a law in Scotland, and he did not see why it should be introduced now.


desired to say a word. It was admitted that this principle was entirely novel both in Scotch and in English legislation. They might have the local authority and all concerned agreeing as to the expediency of a system of drainage which included the construction of a sewer under a railway; yet the whole scheme might be paralysed by a decision of the sheriff, whose decision might block the drainage of an entire district. That was a serious matter, and he should like to know what was the reason for the introduction of this novel scheme.


did not think the difficulty suggested by the hon. Member who bad just spoken would arise, because the whole question that would come before the sheriff would be as to the exact engineering method that was to be adopted. He did not intend to rise, as it seemed to him that the Lord Advocate had fully stated the case; but in view of what had been said, he might state briefly the history of the clause. The clause really arose out of a case in which the authorities of Glasgow and Partick, acting together, wanted to go under the North British Railway; and the case went before Sheriff Perry, who gave judgment just on the general lines of this clause, and then, the point being in the minds of both the burgh authorities and the railway people, they were anxious to get some line laid down; this clause had been before both the railway officials and the association of burgh officials. The latter fully accepted the scheme, and said they would a great deal rather the railway company did the work than that they themselves had the responsibility.


Who is to pay for it?


Not the railway directors.


I have their criticisms of the sub-section, and the only criticism the burgh officials make is that there is no obligation on the local authority to pay when the railway chooses the option of making the drain.


said he thought the clause a reasonable one, and la: spoke from some experience of engineering. He could not see how they could do otherwise than put such a clause in the Bill. The engineers employed by local authorities were not the most capable, from want of experience, of carrying sewers under railways and canals. The railway engineer was by far the more suitable man for designing these works; at any rate, for seeing that they were properly designed. There might be extreme danger—hon. Member; had minimised the danger; a danger not so much to the railway companies as to the general public—in carrying a sewer under a railway or canal, and such a clause was in his opinion, absolutely necessary. An hon. Member had said that the sheriff would decide the case. But he would draw his attention to the fact that the sheriff only decided the case after an engineer had been appointed, an independent engineer who gave an independent report. He did not think, therefore, that there would be any difficulty or any harm done in connection with that matter, or in connection with the working of the whole clause as it stood.


considered that there was too great an option given in this matter. He thought that instead of going through the business in a semi-satisfactory way they should take time by the forelock, and put off further discussion on this important point, especially seeing that they had reached the hour of half-past Two o'clock.

Question put, "That Clause 107 stand part of the Bill."

The House divided:—Ayes, 95; Noes 22.—(Division List, No. 328.)


moved the adjournment of the Debate, hoping that hon. Gentlemen would do their best to expedite progress when the Bill came on again.

Further proceeding on consideration, as amended, adjourned. Bill to be further considered upon Monday next.