§ MR. KIMBER (Wandsworth)
I beg to ask the President of the Board of Trade whether his attention has been called to five railway Private Bills which have been introduced to this House, containing provisions authorising the respective railway companies to enter upon, take, and use the sub-soil and under-surface of any street for the purposes of their railways without making any payment or compensation to the owners of the soil so taken; and whether the Government propose to take any steps in the matter.
§ MR. GERALD BALFOUR
My attention has been directed to this. subject. The point is not a new one and has received the consideration of Committees on Private Bills as well as of two Joint Committees of both Houses. I would refer the hon. Member to the Reports of those Committees dated 1892 and 1901 respectively. The recommendations made therein have, I believe, been followed by the Private Bill Committees, which have dealt with particular schemes. I express no opinion on the legal point as to whether owners of adjoining house property are entitled to compensation for sub-soil taken from the streets in front of 1565 their property, but I understand that it is contended on authority that no such right exists. Committees have, on the other hand, given owners of property special clauses providing for their protection in case of damage to property. The matter is, I think, one for Committees to deal with, and does not call for the intervention of the Government.