§ LORD EDMOND FITZMAURICE
I beg to ask the President of the Board of Trade if any public local inquiry was held by the Board of Trade in regard to an application made by the Gloucestershire County Council for a warrant authorising the abandonment, under The Railway and Canal Traffic Act, 1888, of the Thames and Severn Canal prior to the issue of the said warrant, and why a notice of the issue of the abandonment warrant and of a Provisional Order embodying a scheme for the acquisition and management of the Thames and Severn Canal by the Gloucestershire County Council was not sent to the Wiltshire County Council, which, by the terms of The Thames and Severn Canal Act, 1895, is one of the guarantors of the revenue of the canal, and why that Council was thus deprived of any adequate opportunity of satisfying itself that the scheme of management as issued was not inconsistent with the conditions of their resolution of assent to an application for abandonment; and, seeing that immediately after the published general notice inserted in the Gloucestershire newspapers of the issue of the abandonment warrant and Provisional Order in the latter part of June, a Provisional Order Confirmation Bill was introduced by the Board of Trade into the House of Lords, and was thrown oat on 5th July as not complying with the Standing Orders of that House in regard to time, he will state whether the Board of Trade satisfied themselves, that the regulations as to the making of applications and the conduct of proceedings referred to in paragraph 45 (8) of the Railway and Canal Traffic Act, 1888, were adequately complied with, and if it is to be understood that abandonment, 27 warrants may in future be issued without a public local inquiry, and whether he is aware that since the issue of the warrant notice of opposition has been given to the Provisional Order Confirmation Bill by a landowner who complains that he had no opportunity of being heard before the matter was decided.
§ THE PRESIDENT OF THE BOAED OF TRADE (Mr. RITCHIE,) Croydon
No local inquiry was held in this case, as no objections to the scheme, which had been fully advertised, has been received. The Wiltshire County Council passed resolutions, which they communicated to the Board of Trade, that, subject to certain conditions, they did not object to the warrant or the Provisional Order. As these conditions were forgiven effect to no notice to the county council appeared to be necessary. Notice was given of a motion to suspend the Sessional Order to allow of the introduction of a Bill to confirm the Provisional Order, but upon objection being raised the motion was withdrawn, and the Bill was not introduced. The Board of Trade are satisfied that the provisions of the Act were complied with in this instance, but the question of the necessity of holding a local inquiry is one that must depend upon the circumstances of each case. I am not aware of any notice of objection or complaint on the part of a landowner on the ground that he had no opportunity of being heard.