HC Deb 27 July 1936 vol 315 cc1261-3

12.6 a.m.

Lieut.-Colonel HENEAGE

I beg to move, in page 76, line 27, to leave out from "within," to "establishes," in line 31, and to insert "the district of a local authority."

The object of this Amendment and the following Amendments, which are consequential to it, is to give rural districts power to deal with offensive trades. Urban districts and others have such powers, and I should have thought that when the law was being consolidated rural districts might have had the same authority extended to them. Many rural districts are fully urban in character, and often have as big a population as urban areas and are quite as much entitled to these powers. Further, it is most desirable that effective means should be in the possession of the rural authorities to preserve the amenities and the beauty of the countryside so that townspeople may enjoy them. While urban districts can prevent a factory where an offensive trade is to be carried on from being erected in the district, or relegate it to some part of the district, where it will not be a nuisance, rural districts have no such power, and a factory might be started which would entirely ruin the rural character of an area. I should like to know what are the powers of rural districts under the existing law. How is the authority in a rural area to know that it is proposed to start a factory there? Has any notice to be given to the rural authority? This is important because a rural authority apparently have certain powers under the Public Health Act, 1875, provided the Minister declares that the provisions of Section 112 of that Act have been put into force there.

I only wish to add that there has been considerable opposition from outside to the request I am now making, especially from the Federation of British Industries. I was sorry to hear of that, because the members of that great organisation, both collectively and individually, have done a great deal to preserve the beauties of the countryside. I am sorry, too, that other associations who are keenly interested in this question and in many instances are members of the Council for the Preservation of Rural England, should not associate themselves with the endeavours of the rural districts to maintain the beauty of the countryside. If the Minister could give a reassuring reply that the matter could be dealt with by future legislation it would be possible for the Federation of British Industries and the rural district councils to get together to talk things over.

12.9 a.m.


I am sorry that we cannot accept this or any of the consequential Amendments to which the hon. and gallant Member referred. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear!"] That volume of "Hear, hears" shows how controversial the Amendment is, quite apart from its merits. This is a consolidation Bill. The points the hon. and gallant Member has put forward were not even submitted by rural district councils and their association before the Joint Select Committee. Clearly I cannot give the hon. and gallant Member a reply on the question of future legislation, but let me give him this assurance. He referred to rural districts becoming urbanised. The Minister is always sympathetic in such cases, and if they apply for urban powers and make good their case, I give the assurance that their applications will be treated sympathetically.

Lieut.-Colonel HENEAGE

I thank the Parliamentary Secretary. I only wish to add that the Rural District Councils put their case to the Ministry of Health and trusted the Ministry of Health to do what they had done in many similar cases. I beg to ask leave to withdraw the Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Amendment made: In page 77, line 29, leave out the second "by."—[Mr. Shakespeare.]

Clause, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clauses 108 to 160, ordered to stand part of the Bill.