(1) Section seven of the Third Schedule to the principal Act (which enables the undertakers to acquire easements for underground works) shall have effect as if for Subsection (1) of that Section there were substituted the following Subsection:
(1) Where the undertakers are authorised by the special Act to acquire any land compulsorily for the purpose of executing any underground works, they may, instead of purchasing the land, purchase only such easements and rights over or in the land as may be sufficient for the said purpose, and the Lands Clauses Acts, and the enactments relating to the compensation payable in respect of the compulsory acquisition of land, shall apply accordingly subject to any exceptions and modifications with which those enactments are incorporated with the special Act and to any other necessary adaptations.
(2) Section sixty-three of the Third Schedule to the principal Act (which enables the undertakers to repair supply pipes) shall have effect as if for Subsection (2) of that Section there were substituted the following Subsection:—
(2) Where several houses or other buildings in the occupation of different persons are supplied with water by one common supply pipe belonging to the owners or occupiers of the houses or buildings, the amount of any such expenses as aforesaid and any expenses reasonably incurred by the undertakers in the maintenance of that pipe may be recovered in manner aforesaid from the owners of those premises in such proportions as, in case of dispute, may be settled by the court, but without prejudice to the rights and obligations, as between themselves, of the owners and occupiers of those premises respectively.
§ (3) Subsection (1) of Section sixty-four of the said Third Schedule (which imposes penalties for waste of water by non-repair of water fittings) shall have effect as if for the words "If any person" there were substituted the words "If the owner or occupier of any premises," and for the words "water supplied to him" there were substituted the words "water supplied to those premises."—[Mr. J. Edwards.]
§ Brought up, and read the First time.
§ Mr. J. Edwards
I beg to move, "That the Clause be read a Second time."
We now come to the Clause which makes Amendments to the Third Schedule of the principal Act. It is, in a certain sense, consequential on what we have already decided on the acquisition of land. Subsection (1) of the Clause amends Section 7 of the Third Schedule of the principal Act, which provides, in effect, that where undertakers are empowered by the Act or Order with which it is incorporated to execute any underground work, they may, instead of acquiring compulsorily the land under which the works will lie, be authorised by compulsory purchase order to purchase only such easements and rights in or over the land as they will need for the purpose. It will be known that this is a common form provision, which has for a long time been in use in local Acts authorising compulsory purchase of land, and it does not therefore raise any new matters of principle.
Subsection (2) will remove doubts whether the undertakers can recover expenses incurred in discovering or repairing injury to or defect in a common supply pipe which may cause a waste of water or injury to personal property. These are matters covered by Section 63 of the Third Schedule, and the power will apply only to a common supply pipe for which owners of premises supplied are liable for repairs. Subsection (3) of the new Clause makes it clear that penalties for waste of water due to faulty pipes must be taken to apply to the person responsible for the maintenance of the fittings.
§ Clause read a Second time.
§ Mr. Berry
I beg to move, at the beginning, to insert:(1) In paragraph (b) of the definition of 'communication pipe,' in Section one of the Third Schedule to the principal Act the words of that part,' shall be inserted after the words, 'the boundary'."—[Mr. Berry.]1902 This Amendment is to clear up a doubt on one important point concerning a communication pipe. There are a number of doubts on this subject and I hope the Minister will accept the Amendment.
I have two other Amendments which speak for themselves—
At end of first Subsection, to add:
(2) Subsection (1) of Section thirty of the Third Schedule to the principal Act (which confers on owners or occupiers of premises the right on certain conditions to demand and receive a supply of water for domestic purposes) shall have effect as if, at the end of the proviso to that Subsection, there were-added the words or as requiring the undertakers to supply water for any premises in which any of the water fittings are not in accordance with the requirements of any bye-laws made under Section seventeen of the Water Act, 5945, or of any byelaws or regulations made under any other enactment for purposes similar to those for which byelaws may be made under the said Section seventeen, being byelaws or regulations applicable to those premises.'
At end of first Subsection, to add:
In Section forty-one (Laying of communication pipes, &c.) of the Third Schedule to the-principal Act the words 'service pipe,' shall be substituted for the words 'supply, pipe,' where those words first and secondly occur in the proviso to Subsection (1) of that Section and in both places where those words occur in the proviso to Subsection (3) of that Section.
§ Mr. J. Edwards
I understood, Sir Robert, that it was proposed to take these three Amendments together, and to have a general discussion on them. In respect of the first and third Amendments, I must say at once that I must resist them for reasons which I will give to my hon. Friend the Member for West Woolwich (Mr. Berry). The questions raised in the first and third Amendments are really all concerned with what is meant in the Statute by the words:The boundary of the part of the street in which the main is laid.It is possible to interpret those words as though the rest of the street where the main is not laid is non-existent. On this interpretation, a service pipe which is laid in the part of the street beyond that in which the main is laid does not fall within the definition of a communication pipe, and is therefore a supply pipe. Accordingly, it does not vest in and is not repairable by the undertakers under Section 44 of the Third Schedule. Moreover, on this interpretation, Section 41 of the 1903 Third Schedule, which provides for the construction of a main in lieu of so much of a supply pipe as is to be laid in the street, fits into the picture. I hope that is clear to the Committee.
If we take the view, as I put it at first, then it keys in with, and is consistent with, the provision in Section 41 of the Third Schedule where it is permissible to provide a main, instead of so much of the supply pipe as is to be laid in the street. The two things fit in, and this interpretation is the one which was intended by the Central Water Advisory Committee. If one wants the exact reference, it is the Milne Committee Report, Cmd. 5986, page 27. I hope I have carried the Committee with me so far. On this interpretation, the statute fits together neatly, and the interpretation is borne out by the Second Report of the Milne Committee.
The other interpretation which I think must be behind the mind of my hon. Friend, although, in fact, he did not say so is that the wordsBoundary of the street in which the main is laidinclude the boundary of the extension of the street beyond the point where the main ends. In other words, if we regard this Chamber as a street, and if we think of a main which runs through the Speaker's Chair and ends at this Box, then, on the interpretation which lies behind the Amendment, the boundary of the street is carried forward to the end of the Chamber if, for example, we suppose there is a house by the Serjeant at Arms' Chair. On the interpretation which I gave first, the boundary is to be regarded as the sides of the street where the main ends. I think that the interpretation which lies behind the mind of my hon. Friend is one which, if we were to try to put it into the statute, would cause a good deal of confusion. I feel that if we were to try to add to the definition in the way now suggested, we should have one part of the Act which was inconsistent with another part. I would prefer, therefore, to take the view that we should keep the definition as it stands, rather than try to deal with this rather intricate provision in the way my hon. Friend suggests.
Finally, I think the water undertakings will be better off if the definition is left 1904 alone and if they rely on the construction of it which was intended by the Milne Committee, and accepted by the Minister, and, I think, is consistent with that construed in other parts of the Act. I cannot hope to have made this very difficult and technical matter absolutely clear, but I would ask the Committee to take my word for it that, if they were to embark on the definition which my hon. Friend has put down, we should land ourselves in greater difficulties. The intention of the Milne Committee is perfectly clear. Their view is the view which is accepted by the Minister, and that view is consistent with the construction to be placed on the other parts of the Act. I hope that my hon. Friend will not wish to persist in this Amendment, and in the third Amendment which I think is consequential on it.
May I turn my attention to the second of my hon. Friend's Amendments? Section 30 of the Third Schedule of the principal Act enables an owner or an occupier to demand a supply for domestic purposes if he lays the supply pipe and pays or tenders the water rate. The effect of this Amendment will be that a supply cannot be demanded unless the water fittings, as defined in Section 1 of the Third Schedule, comply with the undertakers' byelaws or regulations applicable to the premises. I think that is a perfectly reasonable proposal, and I shall be quite happy to accept it, if it is the decision of the Committee, but, in respect of the first of my hon. Friend's Amendments, I hope he will feel able to withdraw it in the light of the statement I made. If he cannot, I must ask the Committee to reject it.
§ Mr. Joynson-Hicks
I would like to ask the Parliamentary Secretary a question on the second Amendment, which he is prepared to accept. It seems to be altogether admirable, but the point which occurs to me is what is the immediate intention, or the present situation, with regard to the provision of Subsection (1) of Section 30 of the Third Schedule of the principle Act, when applied to the provision of other public utilities, as electricity, when that right of the occupier to have the service brought to his house, when the main is passing by the house, has just been abrogated under statutory rule and order. Can the hon. Gentleman tell us if he is proposing to insert this and have it taken away by statutory rule and order?
§ Mr. Edwards
I will look into the point which the hon. Gentleman raised, but I cannot answer it now.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Amendment made: At the end of Subsection (1) to add:
(2) Subsection (1) of Section thirty of the Third Schedule to the principal Act (which confers on owners or occupiers of premises the right on certain conditions to demand and receive a supply of water for domestic purposes) shall have effect as if, at the end of the proviso to that subsection, there were added the words 'or as requiring the undertakers to supply water for any premises in which any of the water fittings are not in accordance with the requirements of any byelaws made under Section seventeen of the Water Act, 1945, or of any byelaws or regulations made under any other enactment for purposes similar to those for which byelaws may be made under the said Section seventeen, being byelaws or regulations applicable to those premises.'"—[Mr. Berry.]
§ Clause, as amended, added to the Bill.