HC Deb 29 May 1935 vol 302 cc1183-6
The SOLICITOR - GENERAL (Sir Donald Somervell)

I beg to move, in page 65, line22, at the end, to insert: Apparatus 'means sewers, drains, culverts, watercourses, mains, pipes, valves, tubes, cables, wires, transformers, and other apparatus laid down or used for or in con-. nection with the carrying, conveying, or supplying to any premises of a supply of water, water for hydraulic power, gas or electricity, and standards and brackets carrying streetlamps. This definition is consequential upon the new Clause which the House has passed giving compensation to statutory undertakers, and it is necessary to define "apparatus" for the purposes of the Clause.

5.58 p.m.


I beg to move, as an Amendment to the proposed Amendment, in line 3, after "premises," to insert "or any part thereof."

This Amendment is indirectly a compensation Amendment. The conjoint conference of public utility associations, at whose request I have tabled the Amendment to the proposed Amendment, take the view that, if there is compensation, it ought to cover the whole of the property of the public utility. As some of the property of the public utility is in fact inside the premises, and is not merely cables and all the rest of it out side, compensation ought to be extended to cover the whole of their property. That is the sole object of moving my Amendment, and I trust that I have made the matter clear.


I beg to second the Amendment to the proposed Amendment.


I think that the suggestion contained in the Amendment to the proposed Amendment which I have put upon the Order Paper—in line 5, at the end, to add: but does not include any such apparatus lying within the curtilage of the premises. —is covered by the words as they now stand, in which case I have no desire to move my Amendment, but I invite the Solicitor-General to be good enough to make the point clear.

5.59 p.m.


This point was discussed to some extent when the new Clause was under consideration. The Clause gives compensation to statutory undertakers whose apparatus is interfered with or removed by the local authority in carrying out their powers or making a deviation of streets. When the Clause was discussed in Committee the hon. and learned Member for East Bristol (Sir S. Cripps) took the view that this was not really a proper case for compensation. He said that if an electricity company laid its cables down a road, it took the risk of the road having to be stopped up or diverted. My hon. Friend the Member for South Croydon (Mr. H. Williams) took the opposite view and was grateful for the compensation offered in the Clause, but wanted to extend it to apparatus which one of the undertakers might have put inside the house. Now my hon. Friend the Member for North Lambeth (Mr. G. R. Strauss) constituency>wants to exclude any apparatus lying within the curtilage. Therefore, there is a. variety of propositions before the House. We think that we have come to a fair solution. This is a novel form of compensation, but we think that it is plainly just to provide the compensation with in the limits of the Clause. With regard to apparatus actually within the house, the risk was taken that the house might be pulled down, and while we sympathise with those who sustain losses in such circumstances, we did not think that it would be right to extend the Clause to cover such a case. So far as the curtilage is concerned, in our view apparatus within the curtilage may be included. I understand that the curtilage means the garden. The words in the Clause are "to the premises," and we think that those are the right words. It may be that in some cases the under takers' apparatus ends in the garden, or, it maybe, at the meter. We think that the words "to the premises" are the proper words to direct attention to the point at which the apparatus supplied by the undertakers normally ends and the domestic apparatus of the house begins. For these reasons, I am afraid that we cannot accept the Amendment of my hon. Friend the Member for South Croydon.


I am very grateful for the explanation, and I beg to ask leave to withdrawmy Amendment to the proposed Amendment.

Amendment to the proposed Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Proposed words there inserted in the Bill.

6.4 p.m.


I beg to move, in page 66, line 6, at the end, to insert: Statutory undertakers' means any per sons authorised by an enactment or by an order, rule or regulation made under un an enactment, to construct, work or carry on a railway, canal, inland navigation, dock, harbour, tramway, gas, electricity, water, or other public undertaking. In our discussion upstairs it was pointed out that the words "statutory undertakers," were obsolete and taken from old Acts which had been prepared before the days of electricity, and that it was desirable that a new definition, up to date, should be substituted.

Amendment agreed to.