§ Mr. Renton
On a point of Order. May I suggest that the Minister's next Amendment—in page 12, line 34, to leave out "crossing of such roads," and insert "use of such roads, at crossing places,"—should be taken with that in the name of my hon. Friends and myself, in page 12, line 34, to leave out from "roads." to "subject." in line 35?
§ Mr. Deputy-Speaker (Major Milner)
I think that if the right hon. Gentleman's Amendment is carried, the Amendment in the name of the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for West Derby (Sir D. Maxwell Fyfe), to which the hon. Gentleman has referred, will fall to the ground.
§ Mr. Renton
I am merely asking that they should be discussed together. We take the view that the Minister's Amendment, although it has the same purpose as our Amendment, does not in itself sufficiently achieve that purpose, and that it is necessary to add our Amendment to the Minister's.
§ Mr. Callaghan
I beg to move, in page 12, line 34, to leave out "crossing of such roads," and to insert "use of such roads, at crossing places."
This Amendment has been put down by my right hon. Friend as a result of a trio we had in Standing Committee. Before the hon. Member for Huntingdon (Mr. Renton) spoke just now, I thought that this Amendment would be received with bouquets. The hon. and learned Member for the Combined English Universities (Mr. H. Strauss) pointed out during the discussion that there might be some conflict in the interpretation of Subsection (2, a) and Subsection (2, b)—that the words in Subsection (2, a)"roads may be used" may form the antithesis of the words in Subsection (2, b) "crossing of such roads." He took the view that the courts might hold that "use," in Subsection (2, a) did not include "crossing" as used in Subsection (2, b). The purpose of the Amendment, therefore, is to insert the word "use" in both Subsections, and to make it quite clear that the Minister is empowered to authorise traffic, which is empowered to use the road by virtue of the scheme also to cross the road, as well as to authorise traffic, which is not empowered to use the road, to cross the road. I trust that is clear. I made it clear to myself and I hope it is to everyone else. That is what our Amendment is designed to achieve.
§ Mr. H. Strauss
But the hon. Gentleman still leaves in the words "other than such traffic as aforesaid." If he leaves those words, clearly he will not achieve the object about which he has told the House.
§ Mr. Callaghan
It is true that it is proposed to leave in the words "other than such traffic as aforesaid." Subsection (2, b) will read:(b) authorise the use of such roads, at crossing places by traffic, other than such traffic as aforesaid, subject to such conditions as may be prescribed by the regulations.That refers back to Subsection (2, a) and the traffic as aforesaid, which is the traffic which is authorised by means of the scheme to use the roads. The purpose of this Amendment is to ensure that other traffic which is not authorised by the scheme to use the road may now be authorised to cross the road.
I think that the Amendment of the right hon. and learned Member for West Derby (Sir D. Maxwell Fyfe), to which the hon. Member for Huntingdon referred, is objectionable purely on drafting grounds. As I see it, that Amendment would apply paragraph (b) both to unauthorised and to authorised traffic, and since authorised traffic is dealt with in paragraph (a)—I am back on the old point—we should be duplicating in paragraph (b) the provisions which are already made in paragraph (a). It is a very technical little point. I have tried to make it as clear as I can.
§ Mr. Renton
With great respect to the Parliamentary Secretary, I think he has misconstrued the wording of this Clause. The difficulty we found in Committee arose from the words which, as my hon. and learned Friend the Member for the Combined English Universities (Mr. H. Strauss) pointed out, the Government propose to leave in. Let me examine the effect of those words. They are the words in line 34, "other than such traffic as aforesaid." When we try to find out what "such traffic as aforesaid" is, we find that it is the class of traffic—there is some importance in those words—authorised to use special roads.
The net effect, therefore, is that traffic which is of a class authorised to cross the road will not be permitted to cross it, and that appears to us to make nonsense. Supposing ordinary motor traffic—private cars, goods vehicles and passenger vehicles—are authorised to cross the road, if the Government Amendment is accepted and the words to which I am referring in line 34 are kept in, those vehicles will not be allowed either to cross 1425 the road or to use the crossing places. Surely that cannot be intended. As the hon. Member for Twickenham (Mr. Keeling) pointed out in Committee, the difficulty also arises in those cases in which the Government decide to allow the use of the road to, say, cyclists on a track. Obviously, cyclists who are to be allowed to use the track going along the side of the road, must at some time be permitted to get to the other side of the road, if they require to do so, but by retaining the wordsother than such traffic as aforesaid,they will, I think, be prohibited. I cannot accept the Parliamentary Secretary's explanation that by reading paragraphs (a) and (b) together we then have the position that they will be allowed to do so. For those reasons, I regret to have to point out that, however good the intentions of the Parliamentary Secretary in these matters—and I think that they are good—his Amendment does not fulfil his own intentions or ours on the point which we raised in Committee.
§ Mr. Manningham-Buller
Has the Amendment before the House been seconded, and does it not require to be seconded, Major Milner?
§ Mr. Deputy-Speaker
The position is that when a Motion is moved by a Minister, a seconder is dispensed with.
§ Mr. Keeling
It is the considered opinion of myself and some of my hon. Friends that this Amendment does not meet our point and that the effect of the Clause, even with this Government Amendment, will be that motorways may be an impenetrable barrier to any existing footpaths which intersect the route of the motorways. I should like to repeat the simple explanation of that point which I made in the Standing Committee. Supposing that the green space between the Table and the Bar is the motorway, and the strip of red and green carpet over which one must not step when making a speech is an authorised footpath running along the motorway, and supposing the Gangway is an existing footpath, the effect of the Clause even with the Government's Amendment will be that there will be no access from the footpath along the Gangway to the new authorised footpath along the motorway. It does not make any difference whether we talk as paragraph (b) does about the crossing of such roads, or, as the Amend- 1426 ment does, about the use of such roads at crossings. It does not make a halfpenny of difference. The Minister admitted that our Amendment covers the point but he said that it was too wide. As the whole Clause is merely permissive, I cannot see how it can be too wide.
It seems to me that the draftsman has made the task of understanding this Clause quite unnecessarily difficult. I want to make this constructive suggestion. I suggest that the Government should consider before the Bill reaches another place whether they will not combine paragraphs (a) and (b) and let them say simply that the regulations may regulate the manner in which, and the conditions subject to which, such roads may be used and crossed. The whole Clause is permissive and that should make the whole matter perfectly clear. I ask the Government to consider that suggestion before the Bill goes to another place.
§ Mr. P. Thorneycroft
I do not want to repeat the arguments used by my hon. Friends. I think I know what has happened in the Minister's mind, which is a remarkable thing to know. I think that he and his advisers had firmly in their heads what they intended to do, but their intentions have not been fulfilled. They intended that paragraph (a) should deal with the authorised traffic and paragraph (b) with the unauthorised traffic. Unfortunately, in the way in which they have worded the Clause, paragraph (a) deals with the traffic going along the road and paragraph (b) deals with the traffic crossing the road. The words which the Government have inserted do not alter that. Paragraph (a) reads:regulate the manner in which and the conditions subject to which roads may be used by traffic of the classes authorised.and anyone reading that would think that it related to the manner of driving along the road and had nothing to do with crossing it. It is paragraph (b) which is concerned with the crossing of roads. It some Amendment on the lines of that moved from this side of the House is accepted by the Government, it cannot hurt the Minister; it can only widen his powers. I am not going to press for the Amendment—it is in the Minister's own interest, and I am not going to try to do good to him against his will—but we 1427 think that, on the whole, it would be a more workable proposition if he looked at this matter in this light and accepted some Amendment such as we have proposed.
§ Mr. H. Strauss
I will not follow the example of my hon. Friends by endeavouring to draft an Amendment at this moment without the most close consideration. I think that the Parliamentary Secretary and his advisers have endeavoured to meet the points put before them in Committee, but I think they have not been entirely successful. I gather from the speech of the Minister—and I am grateful to him for making a point which I admit I had not noticed when I first read the Amendment—that he thinks that under paragraph (a) it will be possible to provide for the crossing of the road by any of the classes of traffic entitled to go along it. I will not say that that may not be technically so, but I think that the effect of drafting it in this way makes the Clause extremely clumsy, and that the Amendment which he proposes to introduce in paragraph (b) may have, even from his own point of view, a slightly unfortunate effect in certain circumstances. He speaks of "crossing places." The natural interpretation of that is that there are particular places on the road where one is allowed to cross from one side to the other.
It is quite possible that the right hon. Gentleman may wish to provide, in the case of some traffic which enjoys an ancient right to cross the line of the road, for it to enter at one spot and leave at a spot a little further along. If he does, the expression:At crossing placesis not a very happy one. I am certain that the right hon. Gentleman will be consulting his own interests if he carefully reads the points which we raised in Committee and tries to draft in a simpler form something which will quite clearly meet the requirements to which we drew his attention, and which will not have any of the defects which, I believe, the drafting he now suggests will have.
§ Mr. Callaghan
I wish I could be as sure as the hon. Member for Huntingdon (Mr. Renton) when he said that as he sees this Subsection authorised traffic may not cross the road. I cannot be so 1428 certain as that. Indeed, I would take the other point of view, that the word "use" includes the word "cross"; as the hon. and learned Member for the Combined English Universities. (Mr. H. Strauss) said, that is the point upon which I relied. The hon. Member for Monmouth (Mr. P. Thorneycroft) is quite right in saying that it was as a result of our considerations in Committee and the point of view then put that we have tried to introduce into paragraph (b) the words which distinguished "use" from "cross"; that is the only reason why I did not say straight away that we would accept the next proposed Amendment—in page 12, line 34, to leave out from "roads" to "subject" in line 35—because in my view in would have been tautological. I do not like tautology, but I do like simplicity, and therefore I should like to take up the suggestion of the hon. Member for Twickenham (Mr. Keeling) and have another look at paragraphs (a) and (b) to see whether there is some alternative form of wording, either by combining them or in some other way, to enable us to make the intention quite clear. We both want to achieve the same objective here: the only question is who is right and who is, perhaps, not quite so right. In order that I might consider the wording again, I beg to ask leave to withdraw the Amendment.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Mr. Barnes
I beg to move, in page 12. line 39, after "emergency," to insert:or for the purpose of securing access to premises abutting on or adjacent to the roads.This Amendment concerns the regulations that may be applied to green tracks. In the event of a green track being taken over, it is possible that the line might have been used by the vehicles of a farm to obtain access to the normal road system. That would represent an occasional, limited traffic, and would not in any way destroy the purpose of the green track as a special road. But here obviously the Minister should have powers in his regulation to avoid the necessity of building a special link road, connecting link or alternative link for a limited traffic of that kind. He should have the powers to deal with a limited problem of that kind, and this Amendment will provide that opportunity. I am very anxious that these green tracks should form part of our special road facilities, and in the powers taken 1429 in this connection under the Bill I should like to remove potential opposition in the way of access or convenience.
§ 5.45 p.m.
§ Mr. Janner
I rise only to ask my right hon. Friend to make it perfectly clear that this Amendment does not to some extent defeat the intention to build special roads to serve a specific purpose. So far as Class I traffic is concerned, this Amendment appears to act against the principles on which the construction of these roads is based, and if a large number of buildings adjacent to or adjoining the road are to be approached from the special road itself, that would obviously defeat the purpose of the special road. As I understand it, the purpose of these motorways is to give more convenient and extensive opportunities to traffic, but it is clear that if, adjacent to or adjoining the road, there were a large number——
§ Mr. Janner
I appreciate that, but the Amendment does not say so. The trouble is that the interpretation of a Clause of this kind as given in the House will not, as my right hon. Friend very well knows, necessarily be the interpretation given to it in other quarters. Indeed, that was one of the things I had in mind when speaking a few moments ago on a previous Amendment. If it is desired to have these roads for the purpose intended under the Bill, then clearly there will have to be some land on which it may be necessary to put buildings some distance from the road. I hope that the Minister will make it clear by some words which will confine the purpose to the one he indicated in the course of his speech, or if not in that way by some other method, that it is not intended to give opportunities for defeating the objects of the Bill as a whole.
§ Mr. H. Strauss
I think that the Minister made quite clear that what he had in mind in moving this Amendment were the green roads, to which I alluded several times in Committee. Since the proposed new Clause standing in my name—(Power to restrict use of vehicles on specified roads)—was not called, I am particularly eager that the powers which the Minister is convinced will enable him 1430 to do what I want—with which I think he has a good deal of sympathy—shall be clearly available. This Amendment is designed to meet a defect which I pointed out to the Minister, and for that reason I am very grateful to him for looking into the matter and putting down an Amendment to fill a gap which I am sure would otherwise exist.
The only purpose of my rising now is to ask the Minister to consider whether he has quite adequately done what I am sure he seeks to do. My doubt is whether the word "premises" is sufficient. To take the example of the Berkshire Ridgeway, the traffic which it is here quite clearly intended to provide for, if the Ridgeway is to be restricted to pedestrians and riders of horses, must be given access, not only to such few premises as there are, but to farms and agricultural land. I should like the Minister to see whether it is quite certain that access to and use of agricultural land is included in the words "access to premises" or whether something further is needēed. If anything further is found to be necessary, I am quite certain that he will be willing to introduce it in another place.
§ Mr. Barnes
All these points are dealt with by regulation. Hon. Members must leave the dealing with specific problems from time to time to the framing of these regulations, rather than widening the powers of the Minister to make regulations. I do not think there will be any trouble in administration.
§ Mr. Strauss
By leave of the House, may I say that my last point, if a good one, is a point of substance, and if the Minister's words are insufficient, it will hamper him hereafter.
§ Amendment agreed to.
§ Mr. Barnes
I beg to move in page 13. line 19, after "Minister," to insert:and certain local authorities.I agreed in Standing Committee to the insertion of the wordsand Section twenty-nine of the Road and Rail Traffic Act,This is a drafting Amendment in connection with that.
§ Amendment agreed to.