HC Deb 25 July 1958 vol 592 cc914-6

Amendments made: In page 7, line 18, after "authority", insert "and river board".

In page 7, line 25, leave out from beginning to end of line 28.—[Mr. Bevins.]

3.53 p.m.

Mr. Bevins

I beg to move, That the Bill be now read the Third time.

At this hour, I have no wish to inflict a speech on the House which knows perfectly well the contents of this very useful and small Bill, but I should like to pay my tribute to hon. Members on both sides of the House who served on the Standing Committee and who made several useful suggestions for the improvement of the Bill.

3.54 p.m.

Mr. du Cann

In view of the hour, I shall suit my remarks to the time. I should like to pay a tribute to the Government for introducing the Bill and to my hon. and right hon. Friends for the way in which they dealt with it in Committee and accepted a number of suggestions put forward by back benchers on both sides. I will say no more; I hope that my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Secretary will take it all as having been said.

I have one comment about Clause 1 (5), which gives the Minister very wide discretion, as we know, particularly in regard to pollution. There is a conflict of interest here between the river boards, on the one hand, whose proper duty it is to keep rivers clean from pollution—a very difficult job which they do extremely well, and more power to their elbow—and, on the other hand, the local authorities and factory people who have a natural anxiety that they should not be in jeopardy as a result of the fact that, in three years' time, the protection which they now have is likely to go. These points were made in Committee, and I do not think that it is necessary to expand them now. I ask my hon. Friend to keep them in mind.

3.55 p.m.

Mr. Mitchison

We are glad to see the replacement of Defence Regulations by permanent legislation. We should not be in order at this stage in saying that we wished the Bill had made provision for even other emergencies. So far as it goes, we regard it as a fair compromise between an emergency which does not give time for notice and so forth as fully as one would otherwise wish and the due regard which must be had for the interests of water consumers as against local authorities and other water undertakers who have to cope with an emergency.

Putting it very shortly, the times of notice and so forth are short, but that only goes with the character of the Bill.

Question put and agreed to.

Bill accordingly read the Third time and passed, with Amendments.

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