HC Deb 21 April 1939 vol 346 cc724-8

2.12 p.m.

Mr. Creech Jones

I beg to move, in page 9, line 19, to leave out from the beginning, to "no," in line 22.

This is a drafting Amendment which makes the Clause more clear and intelligible.

Mr. Marshall

I beg to Second the Amendment.

Amendment agreed to.

Further Amendment made: In page 9, line 24, leave out "the land," and insert, "any land to which this Act applies." — [Mr. Creech Jones.]

2.15 p.m.

Mr. Turton

I beg to move, in page 9, line 35, to leave out from "water" to the end of the paragraph.

The prohibition in this Clause deals with bathing. The promoters suggest that it should be a subject of a penalty if you bathe in non-tidal waters in contravention of a notice displayed near the water prohibiting bathing. My object is to keep the beauty of the country-side, and for that reason I want to delete this allusion to notice boards. We are dealing with moorland scenery. It is the moorland stream that we want to protect. I know that in many cases people do no harm by bathing in a moorland stream, but I am equally certain that in many cases it is most inadvisable. It would be a monstrous thing if we had to dot up and town the streams prohibition notices saying "You must not bathe." If the promoters wish that to be done half the beauty of rural England is to disappear. In my part of the country there is no difficulty in dealing with the problems of hikers and ramblers. We let people bathe in certain parts and in other parts we explain politely to them that they had better not bathe there because of fishing or because the water supply of some neighbouring village is affected. It is important for us to keep the purity of our streams.

I am not casting aspersions on bathers, but it is better that such streams should not be used as bathing places. [HON. MEMBERS: "Why not? "] In many country places the water from these moorland streams is drunk. Personally, I should never think of bathing in the Don. I would far rather bathe in some moorland stream. But we are not here involved in the question of the Don; we are involved in a simple issue, whether the promoter's idea of plastering notice boards over this moorland scenery is right or wrong? If the House is right no doubt the House will keep in these words, but if we are to have a prohibition from bathing in non-tidal water, and it is already in the Bill, the notice boards should be deleted.

Mr. Stephen

Why not delete the whole Sub-section?

Mr. Turton

The hon. Member says gaily, "Delete the whole Sub-section." But he represents Scotland, which does not come into this Bill at all. He wants to prevent access to mountains.

Mr. Stephen

I want to get complete access to the mountains of Scotland and the moorlands of this country, which is what the hon. Member is trying to prevent.

Mr. Turton

I understood the hon. Member was a very keen supporter of the Bill, but he has on the Paper an Amendment which makes the Bill not apply to Scotland. Therefore I think I am justified in drawing the conclusion I have drawn. I am asking, in the interests of villagers and of rural scenery, that the allusion to notice boards should be cut out of the Bill.

Lieut.-Colonel Heneage

I beg to second the Amendment

2.19 p.m.

Mr. Creech Jones

The wording of this Sub-section was very carefully considered in the discussions and negotiations which went on with the respective landowning interests, and it is the form of words which met with general agreement because it was felt that no harm was likely to be done by the person who was taking exercise across a moor on a hot day if sometimes he bathed his feet or entered a stream.

Mr. Turton

Does the hon. Member envisage that water being the drinking water of some neighbouring village?

Mr. Creech Jones

Under the scheme of the Bill provision is made to safeguard the public against water pollution, and all that the promoters are asking is that a Clause which has the general good will and agreement of the landowners themselves should not now be deleted. It is a very small point that the hon. Member has raised, and I hope he will not press the Amendment.

Mr. Silverman

I really do not understand what this paragraph means. It says it will be an offence to bathe in any non-tidal water in contravention of a notice displayed near the water prohibiting bathing. Does that mean the whole length of the non-tidal water, or is there some point within a specified distance of the notice board where bathing is not an offence? If so, how near to the notice can the bather go, or how far from the notice must the bather be before he can bathe in a mountain stream without committing an offence?

Mr. Deputy-Speaker

That is not the Amendment we are discussing. The hon. Member must confine himself solely to the Amendment.

2.22 p.m.

Mr. Mander

I hope the House will reject the Amendment. I think that a good many of these Regulations are objectionable, and I am sorry they are in the Bill. I regret that it is here proposed to create new offences. Do not let us fine people £2 for doing other things in addition to what is already in the Bill. The Bill is bad enough already.

Mr. Stephen

I appeal to the Mover of the Amendment not to press it. The Amendment would make matters worse than they are. The hon. Member has referred to an Amendment to another Clause, which stands on the Paper in my name. I have already said that I am not at all enthusiastic about the Bill, and the possibility is that I shall vote against the Third Reading. The ramblers' associations regard the Bill in its present form as objectionable, and the hon. Member is now seeking to make it worse still.

Amendment negatived.

Mr. Turton

I beg to move, in page 10, line 12, after "hedge," to insert "fence or wall."

In Yorkshire there are no hedges and we have fences or walls. If we are to have a proviso dealing with damage and protecting hedges, we must also include fences and walls. It was probably through a slip in Committee that these words were omitted.

Major Mills

I beg to second the Amendment.

Amendment agreed to.