HC Deb 20 July 1933 vol 280 cc2040-3

5.40 p.m.


I beg to move, in page 24, line 32, after the word "user," to insert the words "or access to premises."

This Amendment is made in response to an appeal from my hon. Friend the Member for Wrexham (Mr. A. Roberts) to make it clear that we should have power, if we make these orders in respect of roads, to deal with access to premises which may be situated upon them.

Amendment agreed to.

5.41 p.m.


I beg to move, in page 24, line 33, to leave out the words "all roads of any such class," and to insert instead thereof the words "such unclassified roads."


On a point of Order. Is it your intention, Sir, to leave out the Amendment standing in the name of the hon. Gentleman, and the names of two other hon. Gentlemen to Clause 23—in page 24, line 17, to leave out from the word "prejudice," to the word "to," in line 18?

Mr. DEPUTY-SPEAKER (Sir Dennis Herbert)

My instructions are that Mr. Speaker has not selected that Amendment.


The object of the Amendment which I have just moved is to confine the operation of the Clause to unclassified roads. The point does not need any elaboration. It was discussed fully in Committee upstairs, and was resisted by the Minister. There is a very important principle involved which is, that the main roads in the country should be as free as possible from any restriction even by the Minister of Transport himself. There may be justification for the operation of the Clause on unclassified roads, but excessive wear and tear of the highway does not apply to the main roads as it does to the unclassified roads. Thanks to the great improvement in the standard of road engineering in recent years, the main roads can stand up to the wear and tear of ordinary traffic without any appreciable damage being done. That fact is obvious to all users of the King's highway. The case is different with regard to the unclassified roads.


I beg to second the Amendment.

5.44 p.m.


I am afraid that I cannot draw this great division of principle between classified and unclassified roads. They are both the King's high-way, and, as far as is consistent with the public interest, they both ought to be as free as possible. Therefore, I can see no ground of principle for excluding one and including the other within the scope of the powers, not of the Minister, as my hon. Friend said in moving the Amendment, but of this House and of another place, because I introduced an Amendment in Committee which makes the order of the Minister dependent upon an affirmative Resolution in both Houses of Parliament. When my hon. Friends realise that that order can only eventuate after consultation with the new Transport Advisory Council, upon which local authorities, as well as users of the road, are largely represented, I think they will feel that the safeguards attached to the use of this necessary power are ample for the protection of the users of the road.

5.45 p.m.


The question was raised originally in Committee very seriously, but most of us were entirely satisfied by the way the Minister met us. It is well to emphasise the point that the matter is left in the hands of this House to be decided. I do not think that anyone could desire anything better than that.


In view of the Minister's explanation, I beg to ask leave to with-draw the Amendment, but before doing so, I should like to say—


I am afraid that the hon. Member has already asked leave to withdraw the Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

5 46 p.m.


I beg to move, in page 25, line 9, at the end, to insert the words: shall be laid before both Houses of Parliament, and". An Amendment similar to this was moved in Committee by my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Lowestoft (Sir G. Rentoul). Although I sym- pathised entirely with his intention, which is to ensure that this House and another place shall get full notice of these orders before they are asked to pass a Resolution confirming them, I pointed out that there was a contrary precedent in the Road Traffic Act, and I thought it would be a pity to depart from it. I must confess that my hon. and learned Friend was able to show me a precedent in the Road Traffic Act, 1930, which was entirely on all fours with the Amendment he was moving. In those circumstances, as it is possible that whichever way we word it we shall not differ from the Road Traffic Act, 1930, I have put down this Amendment to meet my hon. and learned Friend.

Amendment agreed to.

Further Amendments made: In page 25, line 16, leave out the words "in the case of a first offence";

In line 18, leave out the word "offence," and insert instead thereof the word "conviction."—[Mr. Stanley.]

5.48 p.m.


I beg to move, in page 26, line 3, after the word "section," to insert the words: including the giving of public notice by the council of their intention to make an order. This is a very necessary Amendment. It would do no harm to the Bill, but would provide a very valuable safeguard by making public the intention of the council that they propose to make an order. I commend it to the Minister, and I hope he will see his way to accept it.


I beg to second the Amendment.

5.49 p.m.

Lieut.-Colonel HEADLAM

The question of procedure in connection with these orders made by local authorities was very fully discussed in Committee, and it was generally agreed that an Amendment such as this was not required. It is not so much a question of the Amendment doing no harm, but whether it is any good, and it seems to me that it would be a mistake to lay down certain procedure with regard to one point, which is to be settled by the local authorities, and not to another. The matter will be dealt with by regulations, and the regulations will provide for the giving of proper notice by the council of their intention to make an order. It must be remembered that if objections to any order made by a council are taken by a sufficient number of persons, the objection will come to the Minister, and if he considers it desirable a public inquiry will be held. I do not think that this Amendment is required. We could not accept it in any case in its present form.

Amendment negatived.