HC Deb 28 May 1924 vol 174 cc424-31
Lieut.-Colonel HOWARD-BURY

I beg to move That leave be given to introduce a Bill to provide for the licensing of petrol pumps by highway authorities. The object of this Bill is to enable highway authorities to permit of the erection of petrol supply pumps on the edge of the roadway. This has already been done in the case of lamp-posts, electric standards, water-cart stand pipes and other installations, but the present position in regard to petrol pumps is most unsatisfactory. No local authority and no body or person is vested with the power to approve or disapprove of the installation of petrol pumps. Local authorities have no power to acquiesce in the erection of such installations on lands which are part of the public highway, and any person erecting such pump and even the local authority itself would be liable to an action for damages in the event of any injury being caused to a person or to a person's business by obstruction. So great is the convenience of these installations to all classes of motor users that many local authorities, in spite of the illegality, have allowed the erection of these kerb-side pumps. Manchester, Bristol, Nottingham, Northampton, Swansea and many other large centres have permitted them to be set up, and this Bill is founded on the recommendation of a Select Committee of the House of Lords which dealt with the Petroleum Bill last July. That recommendation is as follows: Power should be given by a general Act, enabling local authorities to license at their discretion roadside pumps of a type approved by the central authority for the supply of motor spirit to vehicles. In giving evidence before that Committee, Sir John Anderson, the Permanent Secretary to the Home Office, said he had no objection whatever to such pumps, as far as public safety was concerned, if they were under some sort of control. The Chief Inspector of Explosives under the Home Office urged before the same Committee that, even on the kerb, these pumps might be encouraged and licensed. This Bill is supported by nearly all the motoring associations in the country, by the Automobile Society, the Motor Trade Association, the Scottish Motor Trade Association, the Auto-Cycle Union, and many others. I understand the only reason for any objection is the idea of obstruction. Let Me point out that a standard only occupies space of 15 inches square, and four cars can be filled at one of these pumps in the same time that it took to fill one car by the antiquated system of bringing cans of petrol out from a garage. It only takes eight seconds per gallon in the case of the one-gallon pump to put petrol into the car, and in the case of the five-gallon pump it only takes four seconds per gallon. In that way obstruction will be lessened by the use of the pumps. The Bill is a simple one. The first Clause gives the highway authority power to license, and where the highway authority is not the local government authority, permission has to be obtained from the local government authority.

Supposing that owing to a change of routes there should be congestion in a particular road, the local authority has power to take away the permit, and anyone who considers hmiself aggrieved has power to appeal to the Ministry of Transport. The highway authority may charge a fee up to £1 and every pump and pipe licensed by the highway authority shall be so designed and constructed as to comply with the safeguards against fire and explosion prescribed by the Home Secretary, and shall be approved by the Board of Trade. Any person not complying with these Regulations will be liable to a penalty not exceeding £5. Many authorities in view of the prospect of legislation, though knowing the illegality of their proceedings up to now, have not ordered these pumps to be dismantled. Manchester, Monmouth, Chichester, and other big towns have been holding on, knowing that some legislation must be brought in in order to legalise these pumps which to-day are becoming a necessity. This is only a small Bill and it is not contentious. We have to look forward to the future. Motor-cars are going to increase every year, and the provision of these pumps will mean an avoidance of obstruction. It is in the interest of hundreds of thousands of motor users that these should be legalised, and I hope the House will look favourably on this Bill, which is only an attempt to put right a state of affairs at present most unsatisfactory to all parties concerned.

Colonel ASHLEY

I wish to say a few words on this proposal, and am afraid that I cannot see my way to agree with the ideas put forward by my hon. and gallant Friend. What is the history of this Measure? For the first time, last Session three corporations inserted in their private Bills a proposal that they should be allowed to legalise these pumps, and my noble Friend the Member for South Battersea (Viscount Curzon), on 3rd July, put a question to the then Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Transport on the subject, and the following official answer was given: I am advised that local authorities have no power to sanction, or even to acquiesce in, the erection of petrol pumps or similar installations on lands dedicated to a public highway. It seems to me very desirable that petrol pumps should, wherever possible, be erected on private property adjacent to the highway, in such a manner as to enable vehicles to draw up to the pump without causing obstruction either in the carriageway or on the footpath. I am not prepared"— The Parliamentary Secretary went on to say— to support any Clauses in any private Bills intended to confer powers on local authorities to authorise such installations on lands dedicated to the public highway."—[OFFTMAL REPORT, 3rd July, 1923; cols. 235–6, Vol. 166.] After that declaration, two out of the three corporations withdrew their suggested Clause, but one corporation persisted. It was then referred to the Local Legislation Committee of this House, who went very fully into the matter, and the Chairman, in communicating his decision to the promoters, said: The decision of the Committee is that this power ought not to be granted. The feeling of the Committee is that an authority allowing these pumps to be erected without consent is neglecting its duty in not causing their removal, and if, in fact, it is allowing them to be erected with consent it is acting beyond its legal powers. The Clause must be struck out. Last year, at any rate, both the appropriate Government Department who had charge of such petrol pumps and our Local Legislation Committee were not in agreement with the views expressed by my hon. and gallant Friend who sits behind me. Let the House consider for a moment the question of obstructions on the highway. They are increasing. We have already for public purposes pillar boxes, lamp posts, electric transformer pillars, telegraph and telephone posts, notices of omnibus stops, refuges for pedestrians, water troughs, sand bins, and many others. I do submit, in all seriousness that, unless for most cogent reasons, we ought not to increase these obstructions. From the point of view of street and road widening, which I am pleased to say is going on at an increasing rate, every obstruction adds considerably to the cost.

If we agree to allowing a private individual to put on a highway something on which he is going to make a profit, we cannot confine it only to petrol pumps. Obviously and logically, we should have to allow water pumps for steam vehicles, standards for feeding oil-tank wagons, and last, but not least, standards for supplying beer in bulk. I am not imagining that Last year, a local authority had an appli-

cation made by an enterprising publican to provide beer in bulk by means of a pump. It opens up a great vista of further obstructions on the highway. In my opinion, the right and proper way of providing for the needs of motorists is for the private trader to erect his pump on his own private land adjacent to the highway with a proper draw-off, or to erect the pump on his own premises. You see up and down the country many of these pumps erected on private land adjacent to the highway. There is a fine installation just the other side of Westminster Bridge. In my opinion, it is on those lines that you ought to proceed to provide for the public need. This is a matter of principle. It is a claim by a private individual to make use of the highway by means of an obstruction for personal profit. That seems to me to be entirely wrong. The public highway has been constructed and is being maintained by public money. If you once admit the principle that a private individual may obstruct the public highway for his own personal profit, you will have no end to such demands.

Question put, "That leave be given to bring in a Bill to provide for the licensing of petrol pumps by highway authorities."

The House divided: Ayes, 208; Noes, 112.

Division No. 85.] AYES. [4.8 p.m.
Adamson, W. M. (Staff., Cannock) Clynes, Rt. Hon. John R. Greenwood, A. (Nelson and Coine)
Allen, R. Wilberforce (Leicester, S.) Cockerill, Brigadler-General G. K. Greenwood, William (Stockport)
Alstead, R. Cohen, Major J. Brunel Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan)
Amery, Rt. Hon. Leopold C. M. S. Compton, Joseph Groves, T.
Astor, Viscountess Cope, Major William Guest, Dr. L. Haden (Southwark, N.)
Baird, Major Rt. Hon. Sir John L. Costello, L. W. J. Hacking, Captain Douglas H.
Barclay, R. Noton Cowan, D. M. (Scottish Universities) Hall, F. (York, W. R., Normanton)
Barnett, Major Richard W. Crittall, V. G. Hall, G. H. (Merthyr Tydvil)
Barrie, Sir Charles Coupar (Banff) Crooke, J. Smedley (Deritend) Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry
Beilairs, Commander Carlyon W. Davies, Ellis (Denbigh, Denbigh) Harbord, Arthur
Benn, Sir A. S. (Plymouth, Drake) Davies, Evan (Ebbw Vale) Harland, A.
Benn, Captain Wedgwood (Leith) Davies, Sir Thomas (Cirencester) Harris, John (Hackney, North)
Berkeley, Captain Reginald Davison, Sir W. H. (Kensington, S.) Harris, Percy A.
Birchall, Major J. Dearman Dickie, Captain J. P. Hartshorn, Rt. Hon. Vernon
Blundell, F. N. Dixey, A. C. Harvey, T. E. (Dewsbury)
Bonwick, A. Dixon, Herbert Hayday, Arthur
Bowyer, Capt. G. E. W. Dodds, S. B. Hayes, John Henry
Bramsdon, Sir Thomas Dukes, C. Healy, Cahir
Brass, Captain W. Eden, Captain Anthony Hemmerde, E. G.
Brassey, Sir Leonard Ednam, Viscount Henderson. A. (Cardiff, South)
Briant, Frank Edwards, C. (Monmouth, Bedwelity) Henderson, W. W.(Middlesex, Enfield)
Brittain, Sir Harry Edwards, John H. (Accrington) Henn, Sir Sydney H.
Broad, F. A. Emlyn-Jones, J. E. (Dorset, N.) Hennessy, Major J. R. G.
Brown, A. E. (Warwick, Rugby) Falconer, J Hindle, F.
Burman, J. B. Ferguson, H. Hobhouse, A. L.
Burney, Lieut.-Com. Charles D. Fletcher, Lieut.-Com. H. T. H. Hogbin, Henry Cairns
Burnie, Major J. (Bootle) Foot, Isaac Hogge, James Myles
Caine, Gordon Hall Franklin, L. B. Hood, Sir Joseph
Cape, Thomas Frece, Sir Walter de Hore-Belisha, Major Leslie
Chadwick, Sir Robert Burton Gavan-Duffy, Thomas Isaacs, G. A.
Chapman, Sir S. George, Major G. L. (Pembroke) James, Lieut.-Colonel Hon. Cuthbert
Clarry, Reginald George Gibbins, Joseph Jenkins, W. A. (Brecon and Radnor)
Clayton, G. C. Gibbs, Cat. Rt. Hon. George Abraham Jephcott, A. R.
Clusc, W. S. Gould, Frederick (Somerset, Frome) Jewson, Dorothea
John, William (Rhondda, West) Perkins, Colonel E. K. Spero, Dr. G. E.
Johnstone, Harcourt (Willesden, East) Pethick-Lawrence, F. W. Spoor, B. G.
Jones, C. Sydney (Liverpool, W. Derby) Phillipps, Vivian Stanley, Lord
Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth) Pilkington, R. R. Stephen, Campbell
Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly) Pownall, Lieut.-Colonel Assheton Stewart, J. (St. Rollox)
Jones, T. I. Mardy (Pontypridd) Pringle, W. M. R. Stewart, Maj. R. S.(Stockton-on-Tees)
Jowett, Rt. Hon. F. W. (Bradford, E.) Raffan, P. W. Stranger, Innes Harold
Kay, Sir R. Newbald Raffety, F. W. Sueter, Rear-Admiral Murray Fraser
Keens, T. Raine, W. Sunlight, J.
Kennedy, T. Rawson, Alfred Cooper Sutherland, Rt. Hon. Sir William
Kenworthy, Lt. Com. Hon. Joseph M. Rea, W. Russell Thompson, Piers G. (Torquay)
Kenyon, Barnet Rees, Capt. J. T. (Devon, Barnstaple) Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton, E.)
King, Captain Henry Dcu[...]las Remnant, Sir James Thornton, Maxwell R.
Lambert, Rt. Hon. George Rentoul, G. S. Toole, J.
Lansbury, George Richardson, Lt.-Col. Sir P. (Chertsey) Turner, Ben
Lawrence, Susan (East Ham, North) Ritson, J. Vaughan-Morgan, Col. K. P.
Leach, W. Robertson, T. A. Wallhead, Richard C.
Linflerd, F. C. Robinson, S. W. (Essex, Cheimsford) Walsh, Rt. Hon. Stephen
Lloyd-Greame, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip Romeril, H. G. Ward, Lt.-Col. A.L.(Kingston-on-Hull)
Lowe, Sir Francis William Royce, William Stapleton Warrender, Sir Victor
Lumley, L. R. Royle, C. Watson, Sir F. (Pudsey and Otiey)
Lynn, Sir R. J. Rudkin, Lieut.-Colonel C. M. G. Watts-Morgan, Lt.-Col. D. (Rhondda)
McCrae, Sir George Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth) Webb, Rt. Hon. Sidney
Macpherson, Rt. Hon. James I. Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham) Weston, John Wakefield
Maden, H. Samuel, H. Walter (Swansea, West) Wheatley, Rt. Hon. J.
Mansel, Sir Courtenay Sassoon, Sir Philip Albert Gustave D. White, H. G. (Birkenhead, E.)
March, S. Savery, S. S. Williams, A. (York, W.R., Sowerby)
Marks, Sir George Croydon Scrymgeour, E. Williams, David (Swansea, E.)
Martin, F. (Aberd'n & Kinc'dlne, E.) Scurr, John Williams, Col. P. (Middlesbrough, E.)
Masterman, Rt. Hon. C. F. G. Seely, H. M. (Norfolk, Eastern) Williams, Maj. A.S.(Kent, Sevenoaks)
Millar, J. D. Seely,Rt.Hn.Maj.-Gen.J.E.B.(I.of W.) Wilson, Sir Charles H. (Leeds, Central)
Milne, J. S. Wardlaw Sexton, James Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George
Morris, R. H. Shaw, Rt. Hon. Thomas (Preston) Wintringham, Margaret
Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, North) Sheffield, Sir Berkeley Wise, Sir Fredric
Morrison Bell, Major Sir A. C. (Honlton) Shepperson, E. W. Wolmer, Viscount
Naylor, T. E. Short, Alfred (Wednesday) Wood, Major Rt. Hon. Edward F. L.
Newton, Sir D. G. C. (Cambridge) Simon, E. D.(Manchester, Withington) Wood, Major M. M. (Aberdeen, C.)
Nixon, H. Simpson, J. Hope Woodwark, Lieut.-Colonel G. G.
O'Grady, Captain James Sitch, Charles H. Yerburgh, Major Robert D. T.
O'Neill, John Joseph Smith, Ben (Bermondsey, Rotherhithe)
Ormsby-Gore, Hon. William Smith, W. R. (Norwich) TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Owen, Major G. Spears, Brig.-Gen. E. L. Lieut.-Colonel Howard-Bury and
Parry, Thomas Henry Spencer, George A. (Broxtowe) Captain Viscount Curzon.
Penny, Frederick George
Acland, Rt. Hon. Francis Dyke Hardie, George D. Parkinson, John Allen (Wlgan)
Adamson, Rt. Hon. William Harmsworth, Hon. E. C. (Kent) Perry, S. F.
Alexander, A. V. (Sheffield, Hillsbro') Harvey,C.M.B.(Aberd'n & Kincardne) Potts, John S.
Ammon, Charles George Haycock, A. W. Raynes, W. R.
Attlee, Major Clement R. Henderson, T. (Glasgow) Richards, R.
Ayles, W. H. Hirst, G. H. Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring)
Banton, G. Hodges, Frank Roundell, Colonel R. F.
Barker, G. (Monmouth, Abertillery) Hoffman, P. C. Shinwell, Emanuel
Barnes, A. Horne, Sir R. S. (Glasgow, Hillhead) Smillie, Robert
Barnston, Major Sir Harry Howard, Hn. D.(Cumberland, Northn) Smith-Carington, Neville W.
Batey, Joseph Hudson, J. H. Snell, Harry
Beckett, Sir Gervase Jackson, R. F. (Ipswich) Spence, R.
Berry, Sir George Johnston, Thomas (Stirling) Steel, Samuel Strang
Bondfield, Margaret Kirkwood, D. Stuart, Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn)
Bowerman, Rt. Hon. Charles W. Lamb, J. Q. Sutton, J. E.
Briscoe, Captain Richard George Law, A. Thomson, Sir W.Mitchell- (Croydon,S.)
Buckle, J. Lee, F. Thorne, W. (West Ham, Plaistow)
Butler, Sir Geoffrey Locker-Lampson, G. (Wood Green) Thurtie, E.
Cautley, Sir Henry S. Lowth, T. Tinker, John Joseph
Cayzer, Maj. Sir Herbt. R. (Prtsmth.S.) Lunn, William Tout, W. J.
Clarke, A. Maclean, Neil (Glasgow, Govan) Turton, Edmund Russborough
Cobb, Sir Cyril Makins, Brigadier-General E. Viant, S. P.
Colfox, Major Wm. Phillips Marriott, Sir J. A. R. Vivian, H.
Cove, W. G. Maxton, James Waddington, R.
Cowan, Sir Wm. Henry (Islington, N.) Mills, J. E. Ward, Col. J. (Stoke upon Trent)
Craik, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry Moore-Brabazon, Lieut.-Col. J. T. C Warne, G. H.
Dickson, T. Morden, Coionel Walter Grant Watson, W. M. (Dunfermline)
Duncan, C. Morel, E. D. Weir, L. M.
Edwards, G. (Norfolk, Southern) Mosley, Oswald Wells, S. R.
Egan, W. H. Muir, John W. Whiteley, W.
Elveden, Viscount Murray, Robert Wignall, James
England, Colonel A. Nail, Lieut.-Colonel Sir Joseph Wilson, Colonel M. J. (Richmond)
Eyres-Monsell, Com. Rt. Hon. B. M. Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. L. (Exeter) Wilson, R. J. (Jarrow)
FitzRoy, Capt. Rt. Hon. Edward A. Nichol, Robert Windsor, Walter
Gardner, B. W. (West Ham, Upton) Nicholson, William G. (Petcrsfield) Wright, W
Gilmour, Colonel Rt. Hon. Sir John O'Connor, Thomas P.
Graham, D. M. (Lanark, Hamilton) Oliver, George Harold TELLERS FOR THE NOES.
Grundy, T. W. Palmer, E. T. Colonel Ashley and Mr. Sullivan.
Gwynne, Rupert S.

Question put, and agreed to.

Bill ordered to be brought in by Lieut.-Colonel Howard-Bury, Captain Viscount Curzon, Sir William Lane Mitchell, Lieut.-Colonel Pownall, Mr. Bonwick, Mr. John Harris, Mr. Linfield, Mr. Toole, Mr. Benjamin Smith, and Mr. Tillett.