§ Again considered in Committee.
§ [Mr. JAMES HOPE in the Chair.]
§ Question again proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out, to the word 'a' in line 26, stand part of the Clause."
§ Mr. J. JONES
We, on these benches, do not agree with the idea of circumscribing a great national effort so far as transport is concerned. We have objected to this Bill from the beginning in various aspects, but so far as transport is concerned we are agreed that co-operation is essential, and that no local authority ought to have a right to prevent great developments taking place. Under the Bill at present every authority has the right to make objections if it considers it desirable. I hope the Minister of Transport will give us some information with regard to the great dock scheme that is under consideration and will be able to tell us something hopeful—
§ Mr. JONES
I want to say that we are supporting the Minister in his desire to have a great national scheme, providing local authorities get proper protection, but no local authority ought to be allowed to stand in the way of development in the interests of the people. Stoke Poges ought not to stand in the way of Westminster Abbey. Stoke Poges is perfectly historical, it has a national reputation, but it cannot stand in the way of Westminster Abbey and the House of Commons.
§ Mr. MARCH
I think all roads should be under the county authorities. We have heard a good deal from hon. Members opposite with regard to the efficiency of the urban district councils, but they have never said anything about the county councils' efficiency, and anybody who has travelled on the roads must admit that the county council roads are far superior to the urban council roads. The object of this Clause is to get these urban council roads developed in proportion to the county council roads. Some of the urban councils have not yet awakened to know that there is any road work to do, and our friends of Essex who have been 3103 praising the Essex urban councils have only just started to improve their roads. There is a great deal to be done there which could better be done by the county council. Go to Colchester and get on the way towards Harwich, and see the delay that has been caused there by the want of initiative on the part of the urban councils. They have not started taking off the corners in many instances. They all have different views as to what is necessary.
The main thing about the urban district councils has been s. d., and they have been trying to save money, leaving the roads to look after themselves. I think the Government are right in bringing forward this Clause, and I do not see why they should not have included in it a provision to the effect that the county councils should cover all the main roads, not allowing even the urban councils with 20,000 population to have charge at all. Anyone who travels the roads now can easily tell the difference in the substance of the surface of the roads. You can almost tell one urban council from another, and immediately you get off the county council roads you can tell that you are on an urban council road, because it is made of a material much cheaper than that found on the county council roads. I support this Clause, not because it goes all the way that we should like, but because it goes a proportion of the way to help bring about more uniformity than exists now in regard to the roads.
§ Mr. R. MORRISON
I hope the hon. Members opposite who put down the Amendment, having had the matter discussed, will not press it to a Division. If they do, quite a number of Members on this side intend to vote against it. I wish to ask the Minister of Transport if he will be good enough to answer a question that has been put by one or two Middlesex Members, as to the unique position in which the county of Middlesex would be placed under this Clause. I notice on the Order Paper that the Minister has already partly met the position of Middlesex in regard to arterial roads, but I am sure that I shall be speaking on behalf of the Middlesex Members of all parties if I say that we should be very much obliged if the Minister could give us a promise to keep an open mind in 3104 regard to the unique position of Middlesex, and see before the Report stage whether anything can be done to meet, that position.
§ Colonel ASHLEY
The particular circumstances of Middlesex raise an important aspect of the question. There is an Amendment on the Paper in my name and in that of other hon. Members which would, to a considerable extent, meet the position of Middlesex and also of Hertfordshire and other home counties. If this Bill passed in the form in which it was introduced, they would undoubtedly find themselves deprived of a very large proportion of the roads which they now maintain. I cannot go into the Amendment now, but broadly it provides that certain by-passes and main arteries which have been constructed with the help of the Road Fund and maintained by the county council will continue to be maintained by the county council. As to the special point in regard to Middlesex raised by the hon. Member opposite, I am not in a position to say anything definite now. The question has only recently been brought to my notice—three or four days ago—but I can promise consideration of the further point between now and the Report stage. What will emerge from that consideration I cannot say, but I will give it consideration, and I hope that may somewhat allay the fears, not only of the hon. Member opposite, but of the other hon. Members for Middlesex.
§ Mr. B. SMITH
The Minister will know that the London Traffic Advisory Committee have had the very greatest difficulty with borough councils, all of which will exceed the 20,000 limit, in the creation of alternative routes, whereas if the point mentioned by my hon. Friend the Member for North Tottenham (Mr. R. Morrison) receives favourable consideration from the Minister, it might put the power definitely in the hands of the larger authority, so that work which has been held up for many years could be proceeded with, thus giving greater fluidity to London's traffic, coupled with the fact that we should have only one authority to deal with, and not many opposing authorities as at present.
§ Mr. SOMERVILLE
Will the Minister of Transport answer this question? Under the Bill, will a borough with a 3105 population under 20,000 have the option to apply to the county council for power to continue to maintain its main roads, and will the county council have the power to delegate that right to the borough?
§ Colonel ASHLEY
Certainly. If an urban district council applies to a county council that it should delegate to that urban district council the care and maintenance of its classified roads, then it is entirely in the option of the county council whether or not it should grant
§ it. When it is over 20,000 the claim is a matter of right; when it is under 20,000 the delegation is at the option of the county council.
§ Question put, "That the words proposed to be left out, to the word 'a' in line 26, stand part of the Clause."
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 225; Noes, 128.3107
|Division No. 95.]||AYES.||[6. 42 p.m.|
|Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel||Dawson, Sir Philip||Lister, Cunliffe, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip|
|Alexander, E. E. (Ley ton)||Dean, Arthur Wellesley||Little, Dr. E. Graham|
|Alien, Sir J. Sandeman||Dixon, Captain Rt. Hon. Herbert||Lloyd, Cyril E. (Dudley)|
|Applin, Colonel R. V. K.||Eden, Captain Anthony||Locker-Lampson, Rt. Hon. Godfrey|
|Apsley, Lord||Edmondson, Major A. J.||Locker-Lampson, Com. O. (Handsw'th)|
|Ashley, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Wlllrld W.||Elliot, Major Walter E.||Loder, J. de V.|
|Atkinson, C.||Erskine, Lord (Somerset, Weston s. M.)||Lougher, Lewis|
|Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley||Erskine, James Malcolm Monteith||Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh Vere|
|Balfour, George (Hampstead)||Evans, Captain A. (Cardifl, South)||Luce, Major-Gen. Sir Richard Harman|
|Balniel, Lord||Everard, W. Lindsay||Lumley, L. R.|
|Barclay-Harvey, C. M.||Falle, Sir Bertram G.||Lynn, Sir R. J.|
|Barnett. Major Sir Richard||Fanshawe, Captain G. D.||Macintyre, Ian|
|Benn, sir A. S. (Plymouth, Drake)||Fenby, T. D,||Macmillan, Captain H.|
|Bennett, A. J.||Fielden, E. B.||Macpherson, Rt. Hon. James 1.|
|Berry, sir George||Forestler-Walker, Sir L.||MacRobert, Alexander M.|
|Bethel, A.||Foster, Sir Harry S.||Maitland, A. (Kent, Faversham)|
|Betterton, Henry B.||Foxcroft, Captain C. T.||Maitland, Sir Arthur D. Steel.|
|Bowyer, Capt. G. E. W.||Fremantle, Lieut.-Colonel Francis E.||Malone, Major P. B.|
|Braithwalte, Major A. N.||Gadle, Lieut.-Col. Anthony||Manningham-Buller, Sir Mervyn|
|Brass. Captain W.||Galbraith, J. F. W.||March, S.|
|Bridgeman, Rt. Hon. William Cilve||Ganzonl, Sir John||Marriott, Sir J. A. R.|
|Briggs, J. Harold||Gates, Percy||Mason, Colonel Glyn K.|
|Briscoe, Richard George||Gault, Lieut.-Col. Andrew Hamilton||Merriman, Sir F. Boyd|
|Brittain. Sir Harry||Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John||Mitchell. S. (Lanark, Lanark)|
|Broad, F. A.||Grace, John||Monsell, Eyres, Com. Rt. Hon. B. M.|
|Brocklebank, C. E. R.||Greaves-Lord, Sir Walter||Moore, Lieut.-Colonel T. C. R. (Ayr)|
|Brooke, Brigadier-General C. R. I.||Griffith, F. Kingsley||Morrison, H. (Wilts. Salisbury)|
|Brown, Col. D. C. (N'th'l'd., Hexham)||Guinness, Rt. Hon. Walter E.||Nall, Colonel Sir Joseph|
|Brown. Brig.-Gen. H. C. (Berks, Newb'y)||Gunston, Captain D. W.||Neville. Sir Reginald J.|
|Brown, Ernest (Leith)||Hacking, Douglas H.||Nicholson, O. (Westminster)|
|Buchan, John||Hall, Lieut.-Col. Sir F. (Dulwich)||Nicholson, Col. Rt. Hn. W. G. (Ptrsf'ld.)|
|Bull. Rt. Hon. Sir William James||Hanbury, C.||Nield, Rt. Hon. Sir Herbert|
|Bullock. Captain M.||Harris, Percy A.||Nuttall, Ellis|
|Burman, J. B.||Harrison, G. J. C.||O'Connor, T. J. (Bedford, Luton)|
|Burton, Colonel H. W.||Hartington, Marquess of||Ormsby-Gore, Rt. Hon. William|
|Campbell, E. T.||Harvey, G. (Lambeth, Kennington)||Owen, Major G.|
|Carver, Major w. H.||Headlam, Lieut.-Colonel C. M.||Pennefather, Sir John|
|Cautley, Sir Henry S.||Henderson, Capt. R. R. (Oxf'd, Henley)||Penny, Frederick George|
|Cayzer, Sir C. (Chester, City)||Henderson, Lieut.-Col. Sir Vivian||Percy, Lord Eustace (Hastings)|
|Cayzer, Maj. Sir Herbt. R. (Prtsmth.S.)||Henn, Sir Sydney H.||Peto, Sir Basil E. (Devon, Barnstaple)|
|Cazalet, Captain Victor A.||Hennessy, Major Sir G. R. J,||Pliditch. Sir Philip|
|Cecil. Rt. Hon. Sir Evelyn (Aston)||Hills. Major John Waller||Power, Sir John Cecil|
|Chamberlain. Rt. Hon. N. (Ladywood)||Hohler, Sir Gerald Fltzroy||Pownall, Sir Assheton|
|Chapman, Sir S.||Holbrook, Sir Arthur Richard||Price, Major C. W. M.|
|Christie. J. A.||Hope, Sir Harry (Forlar)||Radford, E. A.|
|Cobb, Sir Cyril||Hopkins, J. W. W.||Rains, Sir Walter|
|Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D.||Hopkinson, A. (Lancaster, Mossley)||Ramsden, E.|
|Cockerill, Brig.-General Sir George||Howard-Bury, Colonel C. K,||Reid, Capt. Cunningham (Warrington)|
|Colman, N. C. D.||Hume, Sir G. H.||Remer, J. R.|
|Cope, Major Sir William||Hurst, Gerald B.||Rhys, Hon. C. A. U.|
|Courtauld, Major J. S.||Iveagh, Countess of||Richardson. Sir P. W. (Sur'y, Ch'ti'y)|
|Cowan, D. M. (Scottish Universities)||Jackson, Sir H. (Wandsworth. Cen'l)||Rodd, Rt. Hon. Sir James Rennell|
|Craig, Sir Ernest (Chester, Crewe)||Jones, Sir G. W. H. (Stoke New'gton)||Ropner, Major L.|
|Crawfurd, H. E.||Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth)||Ruggles-Brise, Lieut.-Colonel E. A.|
|Croft, Brigadier-General Sir H.||Kennedy. A. R. (Preston)||Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)|
|Crooke, J. Smedley (Deritend)||Kindersley, Major G. M.||Salmon, Major I.|
|Crookshank, Cpt. H. (Lindsey, Gainsbro)||King, Commodore Henry Douglas||Samuel. A M. (Surrey, Farnham)|
|Cunliffe, Sir Herbert||Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement||Sandeman, N. Stewart|
|Curzon, Captain viscount||Knox, Sir Alfred||Sanders, Sir Robert A.|
|Davies, Maj. Geo. F. (Somerset, Yeovil)||Lamb, J. O.||Sassoon, Sir Philip Albert Guttave D.|
|Davies, Sir Thomas (Cirencester)||Lansbury, George||Savery, S. S.|
|Sheffield, Sir Berkeley||Tinne, J. A.||Wiggins, William Martin|
|Shepperson, E. W.||Titchfield, Major the Marquess of||Williams, A. M. (Cornwall, Northern)|
|Sinclair, Major St. A. (Caithness)||Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement||Williams, Herbert G. (Reading)|
|Spencer, G. A. (Broxtowe)||Turton, Sir Edmund Russborough||Wilson, C. H. (Sheffield, Attercliffe)|
|Spender-Clay, Colonel H.||Vaughan-Morgan, Col. K. P.||Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl|
|Stanley, Lieut.-Colonel Rt. Hon. G. F.||Viant, S. P.||Withers, John James|
|Storry-Deans, R,||Waddington, R.||Womersley, W, J.|
|Stott, Lieut.-Colonel W. H.||Ward. Lt.-Col. A. L. (Kingston-on-Hull)||Wood, E. (Chest'r, Stalyb'ge & Hyde)|
|Strauss, E. A.||Warner, Brigadier-General W. W.||Wood, Rt. Hon. Sir Kingsley|
|Streattelld, Captain S. R.||Warrender, Sir Victor||Worthington-Evans, Rt. Hon. Sir L.|
|Sueter, Rear-Admiral Murray Fraser||Waterhouse, Captain Charles||Wragg, Herbert|
|Tasker, R. Inlgo.||Watson, Rt. Hon. W. (Carlisle)||Wright. Brig-General W. D.|
|Templeton, W. P.||Wayland, Sir William A.|
|Thorn, Lt.-Col. J. G. (Dumbarton)||Wells, S. R.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Thomson, F. C. (Aberdeen, South)||White, Lieut.-Col. Sir G. Dairymple.||Captain Margesson and Captain Wallace.|
|Adamson, Rt. Hon. W. (Fife, West)||Harney, E. A.||Saklatvala, Shapurji|
|Adamson, W. M. (Stall., Cannock)||Hayday, Arthur||Salter, Dr. Alfred|
|Alexander, A. V. (Sheffield, Hillsbro')||Henderson, Right Hon. A. (Burnley)||Scurr, John|
|Amnion, Charles George||Henderson, T. (Glasgow)||Shaw, Rt. Hon. Thomas (Preston)|
|Baker, J. (Wolverhampton, Bilston)||Hirst, G. H.||Shepherd, Arthur Lewis|
|Baker, Walter||Hirst, W. (Bradford, South)||Shiels, Dr. Drummond|
|Barker, G. (Monmouth, Abertillery)||Hudson, J. H. (Hudderifield)||Shinwell, E.|
|Barnes, A.||Hurd, Percy A.||Sitch, Charles H.|
|Beckett, John (Gateshead)||Hutchison, Sir Robert (Montrose)||Slesser, Sir Henry H.|
|Bellamy, A.||Jenkins, W. (Glamorgan, Neath)||Smillie, Robert|
|Bowerman, Rt. Hon. Charles W.||John, William (Rhondda, West)||Smith, Rennie (Penistone)|
|Briant, Frank||Jones, J. J. (West Ham, Silver-town)||Smith-Carington, Neville w.|
|Bromneld, William||Jones, T. I. Mardy (Pontypridd)||Somervlile, A. A. (Windsor)|
|Brown, James (Ayr and Bute)||Kelly, W. T.||Southby, Commander A. R. J.|
|Buchanan, G.||Kennedy, T.||Stamford, T. W.|
|Cape, Thomas||Kirk wood. D.||Stephen. Campbell|
|Charleton, H. C.||Lawrence, Susan||Stewart, J. (St. Rollox)|
|Cluse. w. S.||Lawson, John James||Sullivan, J.|
|Clynes, Rt. Hon. John R.||Lee, F.||Sutton, J. E.|
|Connolly, M.||Longbottom, A. W.||Taylor, R. A.|
|Cove, W. G.||Lowth, T.||Thomas, Rt. Hon. James H. (Derby)|
|Dalton, Hugh||Lunn, William||Thorne, W. (West Ham, Plaistow)|
|Davies, Ellis (Denbigh, Denbigh)||MacDonald, Rt. Hon. J. R. (Aberavon)||Tinker, John Joseph|
|Davies, Evan (Ebbw Vale)||Mackinder, W.||Tomilnson, R. P.|
|Davies, Dr. Vernon||Malone, C. L'Estrange (N'thampton)||Townend, A. E.|
|Day, Harry||Maxton, James||Trevelyan, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles|
|Dennison, R.||Morris, R. H.||Wallhead, Richard C|
|Duncan, C.||Mosley, Sir Oswald||Walsh, Rt. Hon. Stephen|
|Dunnico, H.||Murnin, H.||Warne. G. H.|
|Edge, Sir William||Naylor, T. E.||Watson, W. M. (Dunfermline)|
|Edwards, C. (Monmouth, Bedwellty)||Oliver, George Harold||Wedgwood, Rt. Hon. Josiah|
|Edwards, J. Hugh (Accrington)||Palin, John Henry||Wellock, Willred|
|Evans, Capt. Ernest (Welsh Univer.)||Paling, W.||Welsh. J. C|
|Forrest, W.||Parkinson, John Allen (Wigan)||Whiteley, W.|
|Gardner, J. P.||Pethick-Lawrence, F. W.||Wilkinson, Ellen C.|
|Gibbins, Joseph||Ponsonby, Arthur||Williams, David (Swansea, East)|
|Gillett, George M.||Potts, John S.||Williams, Dr. J. H. (Lianelly)|
|Graham, D. M. (Lanark, Hamilton)||Rees, Sir Beddoe||Wilson, R. J. (Jarrow)|
|Graham, Rt. Hon. Wm. (Edin., Cent.)||Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring)||Wright, W.|
|Gretton, Colonel Rt. Hon. John||Riley, Ben||Young, Robert (Lancaster, Newton)|
|Grundy, T. W.||Ritson, J.|
|Hill, F. (York, W. R., Normanton)||Roberts, Rt. Hon. F. O. (W. Bromwich)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Hall, G. H. (Merthyr Tydvll)||Runciman, Hilda (Cornwall,St.Ives)||Mr. Looker and Mr. T. Williams.|
|Hardle, George D.||Runciman, Rt. Hon. Walter|
Question, "That Clauses 32 to 38 stand part of the Bill," put, and agreed to.
§ Captain MACMILLAN
I beg to move, in page 25, line 26, to leave out the word "a," and to insert instead thereof the words "an estimated."
Although this Amendment raises a small point, it is one of some substance. The question under the Clause is whether an urban district may or may not make a claim, and the deciding factor is that it has to have a population exceeding 20,000 according to the last census. There are a considerable number of urban dis- 3108 tricts which were under 20,000 in 1921, and which have reached that figure now, and the object of this Amendment is to secure that the question whether or not they may claim the rights under this Clause will depend on whether on the appointed day they have an estimated population of over 20,000. I hope that the Minister will look favourably upon the Amendment, for it will have the effect that we shall deal with the actual present population figures, and not with the figures as they existed in the census of 1921.
§ Colonel ASHLEY
I confess that there seems to me a great deal in this Amendment. The last census was taken in 1921, and there must be a very substantial number of urban districts which were under 20,000 in that year, and are now well over 20,000, and it seems hard that they should, be debarred from getting the right of claiming, and have to wait for two years, until 1931. The Government accept the substance of the Amendment, but, we cannot arrange that the estimated population for 1929 should be taken. The position is that the estimate of the Registrar-General for the previous year does not come out until July or August of the succeeding year. The appointed day in this case is 1st April, 1930, so that the estimated population will have to be that of the year 1928. As regard the periods afterwards, my right hon. Friend the Minister of Health informs me that he has in contemplation a five-year census instead of a 10-year census. If that be so, that will enable the revision to take place every five years instead of every 10 years. If my hon. Friend will withdraw his Amendment, I will, before the Report stage, have it put in proper order.
§ Captain MACMILLAN
I am prepared to withdraw the Amendment, and I wish to thank my right hon. and gallant Friend for the way he has met my point.
§ Mr. B. SMITH
Are we to understand that there is to be a quinquennial. census in respect of the general census?
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Mr. LOOKER
I beg to move, in page 25, line 29, to leave out the words "exercise the functions of maintenance and repair of," and to insert instead thereof the words "be the highway authority as respects."
The purpose of this Amendment may be shortly stated to be to give an urban district council which has claimed their right to exercise highway functions under this portion of the Bill, the full powers of a highway authority, and, in fact, to constitute them a highway authority in respect of the roads which they have to look after, owing to their having made this claim. Unless they get the full powers of a highway authority, they will not get some of these powers under the 3110 Bill, and it is necessary, if they are to exercise any functions whatever over these roads, that they should have all the rights of a highway authority which they had before in respect to the work which they are doing. I do not want to go into those rights in detail, but they comprise the right of receiving notice in respect of the breaking up of roads, and numerous other rights of a kindred nature. The question whether they should not have these rights is one that is worthy of the consideration of the Minister.
§ Colonel ASHLEY
The Government cannot accept this Amendment. On general merits, as the County Council finds the money, they should remain the highway authority. It is true that the roads vest in these urban district councils, and they have the privilege of maintaining and repairing and improving the roads, but as the County Council is the authority that has to find the money, I think that it ought to have the honour, such as it is, of being the highway authority. We do not propose to change the principles that have existed since 1888, and therefore I can see no reason to accept the Amendment, and to change what is now the present practice.
§ Mr. LOOKER
Is the right hon. and gallant Gentleman satisfied that the urban districts which make the claim, will have all the powers that they ought to have over roads which are covered by that claim, in order to enable them to exercise their functions in a proper way?
§ 7.0 p.m.
§ Lieut.-Colonel HENEAGE
Perhaps the right hon. and gallant Gentleman would accept the Amendment if the words were altered, and if it were made a little wider. What is going to happen if local authorities want to alter their roads, by widening them for example? Will they have any power whatsoever If the Minister cannot see his way lo make them the highway authority, will he see between now and the Report stage if he can alter these words so as to meet the wishes of the urban authorities and give them powers to widen for instance?
§ Colonel ASHLEY
My hon. and gallant Friend need pot be under any fear that the urban authorities are in any way badly treated. If he will turn to the Clause, he will see that it says:and the road shall vest in that council"—that is to say the urban council—and for the purpose of the maintenance repair and improvement of any such road that council shall have the same functions as if the road were an ordinary road vested in them.I submit that the people who have the power to maintain, repair and improve the road have all reasonable powers.
§ Lord APSLEY
What power of control will the county councils have over the urban district councils if they do not approve of alterations in the road, or of the materials which are being used, or of the method which is being adopted by the urban district councils? Can they say they will withhold the money if they do not approve?
§ Colonel ASHLEY
If we get on fast enough to deal with Clause 30, the answer will be given to my Noble Friend.
§ Mr. B. SMITH
If there are two authorities, one for the maintenance of the road and the other for the other functions, and a, person is injured through lack of maintenance, which of them will be responsible?
§ Amendment negatived
§ Sir E. TURTON
I beg to move, in page 25, line 30, after the word "road," to insert the words "(excluding any county bridges thereon)."
It is an obviously necessary Amendment.
§ Colonel ASHLEY
I would ask my hon. Friend to withdraw the Amendment. Ho will see that later on I have an Amendment on the Paper dealing with the point.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.3112
§ Colonel ASHLEY
I beg to move, in page 26, line 11, at the end, to insert the words:(c) in the case of an order being made constituting a new urban district or adding an area to an existing urban district, in consequence whereof the urban district becomes an urban district of which the population exceeds 20,000 according to the last census for the time being, within 12 months after the date when the order takes effect.This is an Amendment which I hope will meet with the approval of the Committee. It deals with a point which has been raised by two hon. Members opposite. If the Committee will turn to Clause 29 they will see that this claim must be made, according to subsection (2), firstly in the case where the population of the urban district exceeds 20,000 according to the census of 1921 and, secondly, where the population of the urban district is found by the Registrar-General's preliminary Report on any subsequent census to exceed 20,000. This Amendment provides for a third case. I hope this explanation will satisfy the Committee.
§ Amendment agreed to.
§ Lieut.-Colonel FREMANTLE
I beg to move, in page 26, line 24, at the end, to insert the words:Provided that as respects such county roads as may be declared by the Minister of Transport to he roads towards the construction and improvement of which advances have been made to the county council under the Development and Road Improvement Funds Act, 1909, as amended by any subsequent enactment, and to be roads the maintenance and repair of which should having regard to the best means of promoting economy and efficiency in highway administration, remain vested in the county council, the date as from which the right of maintenance and repair claimed under this Section shall be exercisable shall be deferred until such date as the Minister may determine.I beg to move the Amendment which was down in my name before the Minister yielded to the pressure of the back benches and added his name to it. It is an Amendment to except from the power of the urban district councils to run their own roads the arterial roads. That includes the county bridges which have been referred to. It is clear that an arterial road which passes through six different urban districts, as in the ease cited by an hon. Member to-night, would be a very uncomfortable road to travel on if it were kept up by six different 3113 authorities at intervals and by the county councils in between. The same thing, which applies to Middlesex in that ease, applies to Hertfordshire in the case of one of the new roads that travels through Watford. Therefore, I suggest that the roads which are declared by the Minister of Transport to be arterial roads in this way as having been constructed by advances from the Government to the county council in recent years and in future years shall be excepted, but only in cases where the Minister agrees that it would be for efficiency and economy that that should be the case. If so, the way the Amendment is drafted is not so as to remove rights from the urban authorities, but simply to defer the day when their rights shall be exercised by them in respect of those roads. That is in itself a convenient way of dealing with the case. It does not take away rights, but at the same time it gives the Minister of Transport complete power in the matter.
§ Colonel ASHLEY
I hope the Committee will accept this Amendment. Indeed, it is considered almost vital by some of the county councils in the vicinity of London. Middlesex, for instance, might, unless the Amendment is passed, cease to be the highway authority in the proper sense of carrying out works on many of their roads owing to the fact that the whole of their area is covered by a network of urban councils and, if they exercise the right given to the large majority of them under this Bill of claiming their main roads, then few will be left to the county council. No one wants that. They are an efficient county council. To a lesser degree the malady would extend into Hertfordshire, Surrey and all the counties lying round the Metropolis where great works have been undertaken in the last few years by the road authorities with assistance from the Road Fund, to which works the urban authorities in the large majority of cases have not contributed a penny. The money has been almost entirely found by the ratepayers of the county council and by the Government. Therefore it seems to us it is not unfair in these cases, where the county councils found all or the majority of the money with the help of the Road Fund, that these roads, whether by-passes or main arteries of traffic, should be excluded from the ambit of the Clause and left in the charge 3114 of the authorities who are so well able to deal with them. I do not see any hardship to the urban authorities who have not got charge of these roads. From the point of view of justice and also of efficiency and economy, this Amendment is perfectly right and should be supported.
§ Amendment agreed to.
§ Colonel ASHLEY
I beg to move, in page 27, line 14, at the end, to add the words:(6) For the purposes of this Section, the expression 'road' does not include county bridges.This is the Amendment which I indicated would be moved when my hon. Friend the Member for Thirsk and Malton (Sir E. Turton) moved his Amendment. This does not deal with any of the 'bridges which are brought within the jurisdiction of the urban councils by the Act of 1888, but it seeks to exclude from the operations of this Clause bridges which are termed county bridges which are being maintained by the county and have in many cases been maintained by the county for 100 or 150 years. It seems to us that it would be unfair that such bridges, which very often span a river separating two counties, bridges which are historical structures, which have always been looked after by the county authorities, should be taken away from the control of the county council. Therefore, I hope the Committee will agree to this Amendment and that these county bridges will remain as they are now.
§ Clause, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.