§ MR. TALBOT (Oxford University)
To ask the President of the Board of Trade whether his attention has been called to the injury caused to vegetation and crops on the sides of railways by the fires proceeding from engine sparks; and, if so, whether he will communicate with the railway companies and urge them to adopt whatever measures may tend to the diminution of such injuries.
(Answered by Mr. Ailwyn Fellowes.) My right hon. friend has asked the Board of Agriculture and Fisheries to reply to this Question. Our attention has frequently been called to cases in which vegetation and crops have been injured by fire arising from sparks and cinders emitted by railway locomotives. It is clearly the duty of the companies concerned to do everything that is practicable to prevent occurrences of the kind, and our view has always been that it would be in the interest of the companies themselves to deal in a liberal and equitable spirit with any claims for 1215 damages which may be presented to them. We have, however, no statutory powers in the matter, and it is doubtful whether any advantage would be gained by our issuing any circular or other communication to the companies at the present time. My noble friend will, however, be happy to give further consideration to the suggestion.