HC Deb 24 June 1931 vol 254 cc427-8

asked the Minister of Transport whether in view of his warrant authorising the abandonment by the London Midland and Scottish Railway Company of a total length of five miles or thereabouts of the St. Helens Canal and of his Order, dated 21st May, 1931, ordering that the company shall be released from all liability to maintain the said portion of St. Helens Canal and from other statutory obligations he has made or proposes to make any Order preserving the responsibility of the company or imposing on any other person or authority responsibility for damage by escape of water through, under, or over the canal banks, or for accidents owing to the unprotected state of the canal, or the ruinous state of locks, or for other injuries arising in consequence of such abandonment?

The MINISTER of TRANSPORT (Mr. Herbert Morrison)

I have no power to make any Order with regard to the matters to which the hon. Member refers in the last part of his question.


Did the right hon. Gentleman consider, when he made his Order of the 21st May, 1931, the danger it would cause by leaving five miles of canal without anybody being responsible for keeping it in order. Is he not aware that there has been a considerable amount of apprehension about it in the neighbourhood?


I understand that to be so, but I have no power in the matter. I am informed that disputes in regard to the matter referred to would fall to be determined, if necessary, by the courts.


Are we to understand that a stretch of a canal of this character is to be left as part of "no man's land," and that any damage which may arise will not fall upon the present owners?


I cannot say that it is to be presumed that any particular decision would be come to by the courts.


Is not this necessarily the result of the Order made by the Minister?


I do not think that that should be assumed, or that it necessarily follows.

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