HC Deb 14 December 1926 vol 200 cc2801-3

Lords Amendment: In page 32, line 26, at the end, insert new Sub-sections: 4.0 p.m. (2) Where the Board or any authorised undertakers have, in pursuance of powers conferred on them under Section twenty-two of the Electricity (Supply) Act, 1919, erected on any land supports for an electric line above ground, the Board or undertakers shall, for the purposes of Section eight of the Mines (Working Facilities and Support) Act, 1923, be deemed to be persons having an interest in the land on which such supports are erected. (3) Where an application has been made to the Minister of Transport for his consent to the placing of any electric line above ground, and representations are made that the line will prejudicially affect any ancient monument within the meaning of the Ancient Monuments (Consolidation and Amendment) Act, 1913, the Minister of Transport, in determining whether to give or withhold his consent, or to impose conditions, shall take into consideration any recommendations made to him by the Commissioners of Works with a view to preventing the ancient monument being prejudicially affected.

The MINISTER of TRANSPORT (Colonel Ashley)

I beg to move, "That this House cloth agree with the Lords in the said Amendment."

Sub-section (2) seeks to give power to the Board to secure that new transmission lines shall not disappear into the ground. The new transmission lines will be considerably heavier than the present overhead lines. This Sub-section gives power to the Board to go to the Railway and Canal Commission in order to secure that there shall be sufficient support for such transmission lines, and the Mines (Working Facilities and Support) Act, provides, where restrictions are imposed, that compensation is payable to the owner of the subsoil. So far as Subsection (3) is concerned, I move to agree with the Lords Amendment with some personal reluctance, because it might be held to be a censure on myself by Noble Lords in another place. It enacts a very excellent thing which I support, and it says that, where it has been represented to me that the erection of an overhead line would destroy the amenities of something which was scheduled as an ancient monument, then I must listen to representations made to me by my noble Friend the First Commissioner of Works. Evidently those in another place have very little confidence in me and in my artistic susceptibilities, but I would inform them that since I have been in office I have constantly given personal attention when demands have been made for the erection of an overhead line, and I have always looked to see whether they did adversely affect an ancient monument or indeed the beauty of the landscape. The House will appreciate that only in very special circumstances would an overhead line be allowed to cross, say, the gardens of Hampton Court Palace, though it costs two and a half times to put a line underground than it does above ground. I am asking the House to agree with the Lords in both Sub-sections and especially in Sub-section (3). I think for the first time it recognises that the Government of the day has some duty to preserve the beauties of the landscape and ancient monuments.


May I ask what is intended by the use of these words in Sub-section (2): deemed to be persons having an interest in the land on which such supports are erected. Why use those words?

Colonel ASHLEY

They are put in like that in order to give the Board a locus standi.


When such a position arises, will the Minister of Transport, representing the Government, take the same place as an owner of royalties under the Mines (Working Facilities and Support) Act?

Colonel ASHLEY

The Board take that position, not the Government.


Are we to understand that wherever this condition arises this will apply to everything in connection with the scheme, no matter whether it be a Royal ground or a Royal palace or anything else?

Colonel ASHLEY

Of course; it applies wherever the transmission line is carried across the surface.

Question put, and agreed to.

Lords Amendment In page 33, line 16, at the end, insert a new Clause: