HC Deb 24 July 1962 vol 663 cc1278-420



As amended (in the Standing Committee), considered.


.—(1) Provisions may be made by regulations with respect to any matter or thing with respect to which it appears to the Minister requisite or expedient to make provision for the purpose of securing the proper construction and safe operation of pipe-lines (or any class of pipe-lines) or the proper execution of pipeline works (or any class of such works).

(2) Regulations made by virtue of this section may make different provision with respect to different classes of pipe-lines or works and may make provision for any incidental or supplementary matters for which the Minister thinks it expedient for the purposes of the regulations to provide.

(3) A person who contravenes any provision of regulations made by virtue of this section shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable—

  1. (a) on summary conviction, to a fine not exceeding one hundred pounds or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding three months, or to both such fine and such imprisonment;
  2. (b) on conviction on indictment, to a fine or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years, or to both a fine and such imprisonment.

(4) Nothing in regulations made by virtue of this section shall be taken as operating to limit the exercise by the Minister (consistently with the regulations) of any power conferred on him by the foregoing provisions of this Act—[Mr. Wood.]

Brought up, and read the First time.

3.31 p.m.

The Minister of Power (Mr. Richard Wood)

I beg to move, That the Clause be read a Second time.

I hope that you will be willing, Mr. Speaker, that with this new Clause we might discuss the Amendment in Clause 20, page 21, line 30, at the beginning to insert: (1) The Minister shall have power (exercisable by statutory instrument) by order to make such regulations as appear to him necessary in the interests of safety to regulate the construction or operation of pipe-lines constructed pursuant to a pipe-line construction authorisation or in accordance with a notice given for the purposes of subsection (1) of section two of this Act.

Mr. Speaker

Certainly, if the House wishes.

Mr. Wood

There are several consequential Amendments to follow. Perhaps they might be discussed at the same time.

Mr. Speaker

We shall have to take them when we come to them, but let discussion range over the appropriate matter.

Mr. Wood

This new Clause and the consequential Amendments arise from the undertaking which I gave in Committee on 10th July that I would look again at the question of making safety regulations. As hon. Members who were members of the Committee will recall, I took the view that safety requirements could best be imposed under the Bill not by regulation but by notice. I held that the individual treatment of each pipeline project was the most effective method to ensure that all the necessary safety precautions were taken and better than the application of general regulations. This was the way in which the Bill was framed and this was the way I originally suggested that we should proceed.

Amendments were put down, notably by the hon. Member for Hamilton (Mr. T. Fraser) and the hon. Member for Newton (Mr. Lee), to give me the choice of imposing safety requirements either by notice—the way I had chosen—or by regulation. I said in the debate that I was impressed by the strength of feeling in the Committee that, although the method chosen in the Bill might be right for the present time, when we got more knowledge after things had developed the Minister might wish to impose a general set of regulations, and I promised to look into the matter again.

I have since done this and I have decided that a provision to make regulations should be written into the Bill as an additional power to be used at the Minister's discretion. However, I should make clear to the House that I do not at present see any prospect of any regulations being made in the immediate future, for the reasons which I explained in the Committee. However, I am perfectly ready and willing for a provision of this kind to be included in the Bill which would enable safety regulations to be made in due course if it were decided that this would be desirable and would be effective. I hope that this will meet the wishes of hon. Members.

Mr. Thomas Fraser (Hamilton)

All of us on this side are grateful to the Minister for submitting this new Clause for consideration, but he will not be surprised to learn that we are disappointed that he sees no immediate prospect of making regulations. In our view, it is desirable, for several reasons, for the Minister to lay down his safety provisions in the form of regulations. We appreciate that under Clause 20 the Minister has power to impose requirements in the interests of safety upon persons constructing pipelines or persons operating pipelines, but, inasmuch as those requirements are imposed upon individual applicants for a pipeline construction authorisation, it is likely that there will be negotiations or discussions between the Minister's advisers and representatives of the applicants.

We think it not unreasonable to assume that different requirements will be imposed on different applicants. In the circumstances, it is likely that some applicants will feel that more onerous requirements have been imposed on them than have been imposed on other successful applicants for pipeline construction authorisations. We think that that would be a bad thing. The safety provisions to be laid down by the Minister should generally be such as can be set out in regulations for all to see so that all applicants may see that they are being treated equally.

In our view, the whole purpose of the imposition by the Minister of safety requirements is in the public interest, and we think that those who seek to look after the public interest should be aware of the nature and extent of the safety requirements imposed by the Minister. The only way in which there can be such public knowledge of the safety provisions imposed by the Minister is to have them incorporated in regulations made by the Minister and approved by Parliament. The local authorities, which have expressed some apprehension at the passage of the Bill, will have their apprehensions at least partially met if the safety provisions to be laid down by the Minister are written into regulations approved by Parliament.

Any person suffering injury to himself or to his property as a result of an accident occasioned by a burst or a leak from a pipeline will be entitled to know whether or not the pipeline constructor or operator has complied with the safety provisions laid down by the Minister. Any such person suffering injury could not possibly know whether the pipeline constructor or operator had complied with the safety requirements imposed by the Minister if it is done merely by notice. On the other hand, any such person, or his agent at law, would be able to check whether or not the constructor or operator was abiding by provisions set out in regulations. This is another overwhelming reason for the making of regulations as soon as may be.

While we are grateful to the Minister for proposing to write this power into the Bill, we cannot but be very dis- appointed that he has held out no hope of making regulations in the near future. This is particularly regrettable because the Minister himself gave us the impression on a number of occasions as the Bill went through Standing Committee that many applications are likely to be made immediately the Bill becomes law. It seems very likely that all the pipelines to be constructed for a number of years will be the subject of applications to the Minister immediately the Bill becomes law.

Therefore, notwithstanding that there will be a power in the Act for the Minister to make safety regulations which he will lay before Parliament, pipelines will be built for a number of years ahead without all the people I have mentioned having the satisfaction of knowing the kind of safety provisions being laid down by the Minister. I therefore beg the right hon. Gentleman to do what he can to give effect to the power which he is taking in this new Clause and to make regulations without undue delay.

I have assumed that the regulations, when made, will be covered by Clause 22. The Minister did not say that this was so. He said that there were some consequential Amendments, one of which is an Amendment to Clause 52 which provides that any regulations made under the Bill will be laid before Parliament and will be subject to the negative Resolution procedure. I ask the Minister to give me an assurance on that point before we give the new Clause a Second Reading.

Most important of all, I beg the Minister to modify what he has said about the period which must elapse before he makes regulations. The safety provisions which the Minister must by now be working out have been worked out for him by the petroleum and chemical industries. They have done all this work. They have set down in a code of practice the safety provisions which they think should be observed by all who construct and operate the kind of pipelines which we envisage will be constructed under the Bill. Since they have done so much of the work and the result of their labours is available to the Minister, it would not seem to be difficult for the Minister to make regulations which would stand up to criticism and would be practical in their application as soon as he is given the power under the Bill.

I ask the right hon. Gentleman to reconsider what he has said about the time which may elapse before he makes regulations.

3.45 p.m.

Mr. T. H. H. Skeet (Willesden, East)

I wish to endorse what the hon. Member for Hamilton (Mr. T. Fraser) has said about the regulations. When I moved a new Clause to this effect in Committee, I thought that my right hon. Friend would be a little more forthcoming and would not simply write into the Bill a Clause which seems to be empty from the outset. I mentioned to him the fact that codes of practice had been prepared by the Institute of Petroleum and by the British chemical manufacturers. I should have thought, therefore, that my right hon. Friend had the basic material with which to compile a suitable set of regulations. It seems to me that he has simply proposed a new Clause to which effect may be given some time in the indefinite future.

I support the wish of the hon. Member for Hamilton that the Minister will change his mind and will give earlier implementation to regulations than he has indicated. Will there be consultation with the two principal industries concerned, the petroleum and chemical industries, on what should be done? Would it not be more satisfactory to utilise these two codes which I have before me today as a basis for a set of regulations? Is industry to be placed in a situation in which it will be kept in the dark for some time not knowing what sort of code or regulations it will have to meet?

My right hon. Friend is rather keen on the policy of giving notice. Industry will not know in advance what that notice will be. Perhaps he will give one notice to one set of industries and another notice to a different set of industries. That would be rather perplexing. However, I find some consolation in subsection (2) of the new Clause, under which my right hon. Friend will make different provisions in respect of different classes of pipeline. I should have thought that the need for that was quite apparent from the outset and that he could isolate petroleum pipelines and chemical pipelines.

I proposed a Schedule to the new Clause which I moved in Committee to indicate how these regulations would be prepared in order to allow industry to make its observations. There is no such provision for preparation in my right hon. Friend's new Clause. All that will happen, I understand, is that he will give industry at some nebulous time in the future a set of regulations which it will be asked either to accept or reject. If I am wrong, I hope that my right hon. Friend will say so.

However, we must be extremely grateful to my right hon. Friend for the new Clause, but I hope—and I come back to my former point—that it will not be a dead letter and that if he does not want to implement it this year we shall have some idea as to when he will implement it. Will it be next year or the following year on the basis of the two memoranda which I have mentioned?

Mr. Niall MacDermot (Derby, North)

I rise to point out something which my hon. Friend the Member for Hamilton (Mr. T. Fraser) was too modest to point out, namely, that the Minister's new Clause is an improved redraft of my hon. Friend's Amendment, which we are discussing with the new Clause. Any faults which there may be in my hon. Friend's drafting are not to be blamed on him. We warmly welcome the fact that the Minister has, in effect, accepted my hon. Friend's Amendment, and, bearing in mind all the things which were said when we were discussing the guillotine Motion, I hope that it is not out of place to point out that this is happening during our very first discussion on Report. Here is an example of one of the many really constructive proposals which we put forward in Committee and which consistently got nowhere. We are glad that the Minister has had second thoughts and that this is not the only Amendment which he has tabled to meet points which we made in committee.

I should like to say a word or two in support of what was said by my hon. Friend the Member for Hamilton and by the hon. Member for Willesden, East (Mr. Skeet) in urging the Minister to reflect again on whether it would be wise to make some regulations at a fairly early stage in the operation of the Bill. Of course, each pipeline will have to be considered from the safety point of view, and, even if the Minister made regulations, he might find it necessary to impose additional safety conditions in relation to a particular pipeline. But there are real advantages in publishing a code.

As the hon. Member for Willesden, East said, it is well known that there is an unofficial code in the two industries most concerned—the oil and chemical industries. There would be real advantages in having that code, or the broad outlines of it, put in the form of regulations. I am aware of one of the advantages referred to by my hon. Friend the Member for Hamilton from the legal point of view.

There are real difficulties in the way of a solicitor who is faced with trying to establish a case for negligence on a highly technical matter without the assistance of statutory regulations. It is not easy for him, and it is an expensive matter, to collect the evidence of one of the few engineering experts who may be available to advise him and to try to obtain information about what precautions are taken. It will not be until late in the proceedings, through discovery, that he will be able to find out what conditions were imposed by the Minister in the authorisation, whereas if a clear set of regulations have been published, and he can put his finger on one of them as being concerned in the accident, his task would be made much easier.

Secondly, another advantage of publicity is in enabling the code to be seen and discussed openly among engineers who are experts in this field. Suggestions can come forward from outside the industries from independent experts and safety consultants as to the ways in which the safety regulations might be improved. I hope that for these reasons, as well as those given by hon. Members who have spoken, the Minister can hold out a rather more constructive hope about the future use of this regulation-making power.

Mr. Wood

I have listened carefully to What has been said and I am grateful for the qualified welcome which has been given to the new Clause. I am certainly aware of the force of the arguments which have been put forward, particularly by the hon. Member for Hamilton (Mr. T. Fraser) and my hon. Friend the Member for Willesden, East (Mr. Skeet) about the wisdom of making regulations immediately.

In my opinion, however, the paramount objective, either with or without the regulations, is to try to ensure the maximum safety. It seems to me that at the beginning at least in our present state of knowledge, even with the power which subsection (2) of the new Clause gives me to differentiate between the different classes of pipeline, there will be great variations in the safety needs.

My conviction is that, as far ahead as I can see, the objective of safety will most easily be attained by tailor making the requirements for each individual pipeline. Certainly, I will bear in mind what has been said in the debate and I will consider it seriously when I believe Chat the time has arrived for the making of a more comprehensive set of regulations to cover a much more general field than the individual requirements will be designed to do.

In reply to the hon. Member for Derby, North (Mr. MacDermot), I freely acknowledge the important part played by his hon. Friends in this matter. I am grateful to the hon. Member for pointing out that the new Clause is an improvement on the Amendment put forward by his hon. Friend the Member for Hamilton.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause read a Second time, and added to the Bill.


  1. (1) Before commencing to execute works for the construction or diversion of a pipe-line, or for the maintenance, replacement, relaying or alteration, temporarily or permanently, of a pipe-line, the owner of the pipe-line or proposed pipe-line (as the case may be) shall give notice together with plans and sections to any sewerage authority within whose drainage area any works are to be carried out specifying those works; and if in the opinion of any such authority the proposed works will render necessary the execution of works (whether temporary or permanent) for the purpose of protecting any sewer vested in the authority, such authority may, within twenty-eight days from the date of the service of the notice, by counter-notice require the owner at his expense to execute such protective works as may be specified in the notice.
  2. 1287
  3. (2) Any difference arising under this section (other than a difference as to the meaning or construction of this section) between the owner of the pipe-line and a sewerage authority shall be referred to and determined by an arbitrator to be agreed upon between the parties in difference, or failing such agreement to be appointed on the application of either party (after notice in writing to the other of them) by the President of the Institution of Civil Engineers.—[Mr. Skeffington.]

Brought up, and read the First time.

Mr. Arthur Skeffington (Hayes and Harlington)

I beg to move, That the Clause be read a Second time.

Those hon. Members who served in the Standing Committee will recall that on several occasions I reported that a number of local authorities had expressed apprehension about the possible deleterious consequences if there should be an incident in connection with a pipeline conveying highly inflammable or dangerous materials under pressure. It was felt by such a responsible body as the London County Council that if liquid under pressure escaped in that way it would not only tend to remain in the vicinity of the leak or fracture, but would tend to spread out, either as a liquid or a vapour, and could easily become admitted to a sewerage system, thereby spreading considerable hazard over a wider area.

That is a danger which has been considered by the authorities, who still feel quite unsatisfied by the replies which have been given by the Government at various stages when we discussed the matter upstairs. Indeed, that apprehension has marked the passage of the Bill from the very beginning, not only in this House, but in another place, where Amendments to the former Clause 14 were moved. On that occasion, the Government said, and they have subsequently taken the view, that adequate safety concerning sewers and pipelines in streets would be afforded by the Public Utilities Street Works Act, 1950, and by the code of regulations thereunder.

My first point on that argument is that Clause 16 of the Bill contains certain modifications of that Act the full import of which I do not understand. This probably applies also to my hon. Friends. We have had no discussion of Clause 16 and, therefore, we have not the faintest idea of its effect on the 1950 Act. It is not an easy matter to under- stand. I hope that I may be fortunate enough to raise the matter at a later stage, so that we may have some explanation. At the moment, however, the effect of the Public Utilities Street Works Act, 1950, in relation to pipelines is certainly not clear.

Even supposing, however, that adequate protection is given to sewerage authorities in so far as their sewers run in streets by virtue of the protective Schedule in the Public Utilities Street Works Act, the fact remains that that Act is no way helps towards safety when a sewer is not laid in or adjacent to a street.

If one thinks of the sewerage system in London, one realises that the vast systems north and south of the river for a great many miles are not laid in streets. In their journeys out of East London, hon. Members will have seen the northern outfall works and, similarly, the southern outfall works. To borrow a phrase from the Bill, we have there cross-country sewers which certainly do not go along a normal road. Consequently, it seems that the protection which it was pleaded in the House of Lords would be given to sewerage authorities is not available.

Other cases in London readily come to mind. There is the viaduct across a considerable section of the River Wandle. It seems to me that that cannot possibly be protected by the 1950 Act from pipelines if laid in that neighbourhood. There is the Garratt Lane viaduct, to name another instance which comes to mind. Therefore, there is very considerable apprehension as to what the future safety of the sewerage system in London is likely to be with considerable pipeline development. I have no doubt—indeed, I have evidence from which to know— that similar fears have been expressed by other authorities, certainly by the County Councils' Association.

4.0 p.m.

The purpose of the new Clause, therefore, is to make protection of sewers essential in the construction and laying down of pipelines in cases where the 1950 Act could not, by its very terms, operate. It is thought proper that such measures which have been taken to ensure safety for the sewerage authorities should be at the cost, of course, of those who are building the pipeline. Those are the two purposes of the Clause. I hope that they commend themselves to the Government and to the House because they are intended to cover a gap which many people think exists in safety measures for sewers.

I just want to re-emphasise the point by the practical example which I have already given, and which shows that it is important to remember that an accident could assume serious proportions were there not safety measures. The instance which I gave occurred two years ago, in Essex. In a few short hours, from a corrosive hole in a pipeline of only 16 in. diameter, 4,000 gallons of petrol escaped, high octane petrol, which, had it got into the sewerage system in a densely built-up area would have constituted a hazard of unknown but terrifying proportions. The Clause therefore seeks to give some protection to the systems of the sewerage authorities.

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Power (Mr. John Peyton)

The hon. Gentleman the Member for Hayes and Harlington (Mr. Skeffington) has moved this Clause with a good deal of knowledge, as I appreciate. He has referred to a hazard, which we are bound to face, to the sewerage system. He has also expressed a genuine apprehension which is felt by a number of authorities. One of the fears he has expressed is that a sewerage authority will not get adequate protection from the street works code.

There is one point I should like to deal with at once. The hon. Member referred to the fact that not all pipelines would be laid in or along or in the neighbourhood of a street and, therefore, they would not get any protection at all from this code. I think that it would be quite wrong to extend over a very much wider area the restrictions which apply to a street. One of the purposes of the Bill is to get some pipelines laid. If we were indefinitely to extend restrictions and hedge pipeline operations about with restrictions in the way which would be involved if we extended this code to areas other than streets, I think that the progress would be bound to be very small or negligible.

I do not think I could possibly advise the House to accept the Clause. The reasons are these. First, I do not think that there are any grounds for giving sewerage authorities preferential treatment. Except in very exceptional circumstances no other authorities have been given this special treatment in the Bill. Examples are Clause 39, dealing with the equipment of the Post Office, and the powers of street authorities under Clause 15. I do not think that we would be justified in giving sewerage authorities preference which could equally well be claimed by, say, gas or electricity or water undertakings.

Another reason which, I think, we have to give due weight to is the actual procedures laid down in the Bill. The hon. Gentleman is very much more familiar with the detailed contents of the Bill than I am, for he has been with it longer. As he knows, a cross-country pipeline has got to be notified under the procedure laid down in the First Schedule to the Bill, and projects will then be notified automatically to planning authorities. In the case of local pipelines planning permission will be required from planning authorities. It is thought, and I think that it is a reasonable assumption to make, that as the result of such procedures sewerage authorities will receive very full information of the pipelines.

The hon. Gentleman and the House will be aware that if objection is made by the sewerage authority to a project— here, I am referring particularly to a cross-country pipeline—my right hon. Friend will be obliged to hold either an inquiry or a hearing in order to make a decision on the matter. If he decides to approve the application he can make his approval subject to modification of the proposed route, or alternatively refuse it altogether.

The third reason which I particularly commend to the hon. Gentleman is that if works do cause damage to the equipment of a sewerage authority the authority will, of course, have its remedy at common law. I do not say this particularly because I think that it will satisfy the hon. Gentleman's argument, but I put it forward because it is clear to any pipeline undertaker that if he is putting a pipeline anywhere near a sewerage operation he is facing a considerable hazard. He knows the liability he will be under at common law, and that it will be up to him to be careful.

The hon. Gentleman raised the question of the street works code, and this applies to all undertakers' works—a horrible phrase. I do not think that I have ever heard a more grim, nasty expression. Still, we have got to live with it now. As soon as a pipeline is laid in a street it becomes, I understand, a piece of undertakers' works, and, as such, is within the jurisdiction of the street works code.

I do not want to seem unsympathetic to the arguments which the hon. Gentleman has put forward, but the last point I want to make is the one which I made at the beginning, namely, that it is hoped to make progress with the establishment of a network of pipelines which will be of commercial use to this country, and that it would, in the opinion of the Government, be a hazard to the whole operation if we were to hedge it round with excessive restrictions, and I venture to think that these would be excessive. I therefore ask the House to refuse the Clause a Second Reading.

Mr. Frederick Lee (Newton)

The Parliamentary Secretary has not done justice to the new Clause which has been proposed by my hon. Friend the Member for Hayes and Harlington (Mr. Skeffington). Like the hon. Member, my hon. Friends and I also wish to see a pipelines system introduced on a more comprehensive scale, but it is not good enough to use that as an excuse for neglecting safety. I should have thought that the fact that we are agreed about the need for a comprehensive pipelines system was an excellent reason for ensuring that the widening of our present system did not increase danger to the public.

Mr. Peyton

Perhaps there was a deficiency in my remarks. There is something that I should have said. My right hon. Friend is the authority responsible for safety in everything that goes on under the Bill, and every application which reaches him will immediately, and primarily, be considered from the point of view of safety before anything else can go forward.

Mr. Lee

I appreciate that this is so, but during the Committee stage we pointed out to the Minister the need for a wide knowledge on the part of not only sewerage authorities, but a whole range of other parties of the problems which they would meet in carrying out their obligations if they were not informed of the dangers which might result from the pipeline development. This general subject occupied a considerable time in Committee. Although the Minister did not go a long way to meet us, I think that he appreciated the dangers.

The Parliamentary Secretary has now said that sewerage authorities should not have preference over other authorities. We are not asking for that. We are saying that a whole list of authorities, including sewerage authorities, should have proper notification of new pipeline developments so that they may take the necessary precautions against danger. Subsection (1) of the Clause makes clear the reason for tabling the Clause—that wherever there is pipeline development, or certification of development agreed by the Minister, it is extremely important that the sewerage authorities should be aware of it.

The hon. Gentleman suggested that, in some way which is not clear from the Bill, the sewerage authorities would be bound to know that that was so. I should like to be told how they would know. There is provision for the laying of plans with one authority, but it could be that sewerage authorities would not necessarily have the same geographical area as a local authority, and the local authority would have knowledge of the development but the sewerage authority might not. What method is there to ensure that where a pipeline authorisation is given and development can be expected the sewerage authority is aware of what is taking place? This seems to me to be one of the essentials which the Minister suggested he wished to ensure. This should not be allowed to lead to increased danger to people living in built-up areas.

My hon. Friend referred to Clause 16. I do not pretend to have legal knowledge of this, but that Clause seems rather to set aside certain powers which sewerage authorities now have. Is this so? If it is, it means that increased dangers can result from the setting aside of the Public Utilities Street Works Act, 1950, while at the same time we are increasing the dangers which ought to be dealt with under that legislation. My hon. Friend, who has legal knowledge, said he was not certain whether that was the case, but on a reading of Clause 16 I should have thought that that was what would happen.

Why its the Minister not willing under these conditions to ensure every possible degree of safety that he can contain within the Bill? He 'argues that this is not necessary. We say that it is. My ban. Friend mentioned the petrol leakage incident which foe recounted in Committee—no answer was given to it —and spoke of the dangers which undoubtedly arose on that occasion through seepage of hundreds of tons over a certain area. Might it not be that leakage of sewage might set up certain gas pressures which could have a most injurious effect on people in the vicinity? Surely the Government cannot possibly say chat no danger could arise. We think that there is very real danger. The Government think that the danger is exaggerated; but they cannot possibly say that under such conditions no danger could arise.

Therefore, I should have thought that, to be on the safe side, it would be as well to include the new Clause or its sentiments. Unless the Minister can tell us that no such danger could possibly arise through not notifying sewerage authorities, the onus is on them to accept some form of words to ensure that safety is maintained at as high a level as possible. Frankly, I do not believe that either of them would dare to say that in case their words were falsified by a serious accident within a short space of time.

As we are going into what amounts to a new transport system, safety is a vitally important question, and as my hon. Friends and I are most concerned about the preservation of safety in respect of people in the areas concerned, I advise my hon. Friends to go into the Lobby in support of the Clause.

4.15 p.m.

Mr. E. G. Willis (Edinburgh, East)

The interest taken in the Committee proceedings on the Bill is shown by the fact that on all occasions we had more hon. Members in the Committee than there are in the Chamber now. Whether that was due to the effectiveness of the Government Whip or not, I do not know, but it is an interesting contrast. I think that it is a tribute to the interest in the work of the Committee.

I agree with what has been said about the need for every possible measure to ensure safety. That is of overriding importance. It is also true that it is not our job in Parliament to make the work of local authorities more difficult. I should have thought Chat our job was to make local authority work simpler and to assist local authorities in carrying out their duties.

The arguments used by the Parliamentary Secretary did not pay much attention to the position of sewerage authorities and went no way to helping them in the performance of their tasks. The Parliamentary Secretary said that we should not extend the provisions of the Bill too much—that, after all, it was pipelines which were wanted and we must not put too many difficulties in the way.

But all that this Clause seeks to do is to ensure that a notice and plan should be given to the local sewerage authority when a pipeline is to be constructed in its area. That is not asking a great deal. It will not hold up construction, for the company is bound to draw up notices and plans at the start. All we suggest is that an extra copy should be turned out and sent to the sewerage authority concerned.

The hon. Gentleman also argued that we must not give preferential treatment to sewerage authorities, but that is a nonsensical argument. Other authorities should also be given information of this kind and it is not enough to rebut our case by saying that if we gave this notice to one authority others might want it. If other authorities want it and it would do them good, why should they not have it?

In Standing Committee there was a very long debate When we suggested that plans should be sent to all public authorities concerned. We were turned down with the plea that it would be better to lodge the plans with one organisation like a county council or a town council, where the maps could be consulted. I then gave a description of the experiences of a man who might be trying to trace a pipeline running from Musselburgh, with the local plans in the care of the town council, to Lanarkshire, with the plans in the care of the county council, and trickling all the way down to Edinburgh, where he would have to consult the city corporation.

All the people concerned should have plans of pipelines in their areas if safety and the efficient functioning of the services for which they are responsible may be involved. The hon. Gentleman's argument that we should not give preferential treatment is nonsense. We heard a lot of nonsense from the Government in Committee, but it was never as bad as all that.

The hon. Gentleman also said that the local planning authority would know of the plans, but there might be two different authorities involved. What is wrong with a sewerage authority having a copy of the plans and a notice of work? This would save it having to run round to where the maps were lodged. In any case, the maps might be in the possession of three or four different local authorities, which would involve much more work. Our job, surely, is to assist local authorities to do their jobs efficiently and expeditiously.

The Parliamentary Secretary said that the First Schedule to the Bill made it possible for anyone to object and for the Minister to consider those objections. But why should a sewerage authority have to go through all this procedure, when, by the simple lodging of a map, trouble could be avoided? Why pile work on sewerage and other authorties when there is no need to do so?

Hon. Members opposite talk a lot about building up bureaucracy, but one of the ways in which bureaucracy is built up is by the creation of unnecessary work for it. Staffs of local authorities will have to be enlarged because the Government, in their wisdom, refuse to try to help the local authorities to do their jobs with the minimum of trouble. If a sewerage authority had a map in the first place, it could go to the pipeline owner and tell him if the construction as planned would interfere with a sewer and ask him to avoid this. That would be businesslike, and I would have thought that that at least would have appealed to the hon. Gentleman.

The Parliamentary Secretary's final excuse—I cannot call them arguments— was that if anything happened the sewerage authority could obtain compensation or payment by going to common law. But why should a local authority have to do all this? Why should we create more work for lawyers? I am very much against that. Already, the courts cannot get through the work waiting for them in Parliament House in Edinburgh. Scotland is a judge short, mainly because the Government do not find it politically expedient to appoint one. I see you looking at me, Mr. Deputy-Speaker. I am sorry. I do not wish to stray into the political misdemeanours of the Government.

As I was saying, the Scottish judges cannot get through the work already waiting for them, yet here the Government want to pile more on. That could be avoided by the simple expedient of this Clause. The Government must now either accept or reject this proposal. They cannot just accept it in spirit as they might have done in Standing Committee. It is a good Clause. I understand that I am now one of the Minister's drafting staff.

Mr. Wood

An honorary member.

Mr. Willis

I noticed that there was no salary attached to the job.

The Clause seems to be worded clearly. I presume that my hon. Friend the Member for Hayes and Harlington (Mr. Skeffington), who is experienced in legal matters and a man to whom I always listen with great respect, has been advised by the local authorities. The Clause is wanted by the local authorities, who are not fools in this matter. They know the sort of things against which they need protection. The County Councils Association and the L.C.C. are authoritative bodies. The arguments in favour of the Clause are good and those against very poor. I hope that the Government will accept the Clause. If they do not, we should certainly go into the Lobby.

Mr. E. L. Mallalieu (Brigg)

My hon. Friend the Member for Edinburgh, East (Mr. Willis) referred to one of the justifications made by the Parliamentary Secretary for refusing to accept the Clause. The hon. Gentleman said that sewerage authorities would not be given preference and my hon. Friend dealt with it. We do not want preference given to sewerage authorities over and above the ordinary things given to other local authorities. I want to draw attention to the underlying philosophy of the remark that sewerage authorities must not be given preference.

4.30 p.m.

Here is a Bill which allows private companies not only to interfere with the rights of individuals, but to trespass in areas controlled for certain purposes by a public authority, such as a sewerage authority, and we are told that they should not be given full information as to exactly what is to happen. This is incredible. If we allow this sort of thing to be done by a private company, or by a public authority, if we allow this incursion into an area controlled for certain purposes by other bodies, the onus is on the people who make the disturbance to do everything possible to see that no ill-effects follow from that disturbance. This is not being done, and the only excuse put forward by the hon. Gentleman is that we need these pipelines in such a hurry that a few extra notices cannot be provided.

I am sure that the hon. Gentleman would be the first to be upstanding in the defence of private owners of property if their rights were being interfered with, and surely the onus is on the interferer to give notice of everything that is to happen to the person whose rights are to be interfered with, and whose property is being entered in a way which might damage the works which he has a right to carry out in that area? What conceivable reason can there be for this haste? It would mean a delay of possibly not more than a few days, and I cannot see what conceivable argument the hon. Gentleman can put forward in support of the contention that such a delay would be wrong, remembering that it is proposed to give these companies the right to interfere with existing works and perhaps damage them.

This is another example of the way in which the Government are only too happy to assist big business which is all out to make big profits and to disregard the rights established in property by private individuals, by public corporations, or by other authorities. The hon. Gentleman has given no reason for this haste, and no reason why the slight delay of a day or so would be so detrimental to the cause that he has in mind.

Mr. William Small (Glasgow, Scotstoun)

I hope that the Minister will reconsider his decision and accept the new Clause. The Government have been too tender towards pipeline promoters and must now give some protection to sewerage authorities. Pipelines are a new development. Once a pipeline is laid, it is more or less abandoned, for it is left untouched for a very long time. Sewerage authorities, on the other hand, continue to develop and improve sewerage systems. The new Clause suggests only that before commencing to execute any works the constructor of a pipeline should inform the sewerage authorities concerned how much land is likely to be sterilised by the pipeline.

Sewerage authorities are constantly developing and extending their systems to enable them to drain larger areas of land or to enable more development work to take place, perhaps combining to do so. The sterilisation of land by pipeline laying may be extremely important to them. The new Clause reasonably suggests merely that plans for the pipeline should be deposited with the sewerage authorities for the areas concerned so that they will readily know what is proposed.

It is essential that notice should be given to all the authorities concerned because someone who is a member of a planning authority may not necessarily be a member of the local sewerage authority. If all the authorities concerned are given notice of what is proposed, the necessity for inquiries between authorities will be avoided. Sewerage authorities have existed for 200 years or more, while pipeline operators are comparative newcomers. It is only reasonable that the newcomers should notify the old established authorities of their plans, especially when those plans may affect long established plans for the public benefit. I hope that the Minister will accept the new Clause.

Mr. William Ross (Kilmarnock)

I hope that the Minister will think again about this new Clause. I did not have the good fortune to be a member of the Committee which considered the Bill, and I know that I missed a great deal, but one of the things which I have learnt by being a member of other Committees is that there is a certain measure of carry-over in relation to the same problem being dealt with in different Bills.

I can remember how concerned we were about the problem of flood prevention in Scotland. Once an effort is made to prevent flooding, it means that work has to be undertaken both in and out of towns, and very often the rights of individuals, of local authorities, and of sewerage authorities, are interfered with to a certain extent.

As I listened to the new Clause being so ably moved by my hon. Friend the Member for Hayes and Harlington (Mr. Skeffington), I decided to look at the Flood Prevention (Scotland) Act, 1961. I discovered that before a local authority could present its proposals to the Secretary of State for Scotland it had to take certain action, not merely in relation to individuals, but also to statutory authorities.

I appreciate the Minister's difficulties. We are dealing with larger-scale operations than one meets in flood prevention schemes which may be confined to the area covered by a small local authority. The important point is that work carried out under this Bill will be a duplication of what is done to prevent flooding, but on a larger scale. We have no right to ignore the rights of local authorities or the rights of statutory undertakers merely because this is a large-scale operation. In fact, the Minister has all the more responsibility for ensuring that in his desire to get something done he does not over-ride the rights of individuals.

The weakest part of the hon. Gentleman's argument was to say that in the interest of speed he could not accept the new Clause. The provisions of the new Clause are covered in this Scottish flood prevention legislation, and I am willing to wager that they are equally covered in the English legislation. I ask the hon. Gentleman to look at the obligation which we lay on a local authority which wishes to do something for the benefit of the community, and to con- sider what it is required to do before it submits a proposal to the Secretary of State for Scotland for approval.

I noticed in the speech of the right hon. Gentleman on the guillotine Motion that he did not seem to think very much about, or have much knowledge of, what interests in land meant in Scotland. The Parliamentary Secretary seemed amused when there was a reference to the "land superior". In Scotland, the person with the first interest in land is the land superior. If the hon. Gentleman owned as much land in Scotland as he probably does in England, he would know that. The others to be informed in Scottish flood prevention schemes are any other local authority and any statutory body the exercise of whose functions may be affected by any of the operations.

That is what we are dealing with here and doing so in the only way we can— by citing individual difficulties. It is not only sewerage authorities who will be affected. We are later to deal with highway authorities. If the Minister's only objection is that the Clause singles out only one authority, let him promise to consider including others.

Mr. Skeffington

All hon. Members on this side of the House will share my disappointment that, on the first occasion on which he has been involved in these battles, the Parliamentary Secretary should have done so in such a negative fashion. I was astonished to hear the argument that we could not have pipelines hedged around with all sorts of restrictions. If that argument were taken to its logical conclusion, we would not have safety precautions for anything— not for electricity cables, for instance. It is not a serious argument and it is not good enough as an answer to the very weighty contributions which have been made in support of the Clause.

If there are known to be practical hazards, and I think that I have shown that there are, then the House is entitled to demand the maximum safety consonant with what is practical in all the circumstances. I cannot understand the argument that the safety code of the Public Utilities Street Works Act is all right fox the streets, but that the moment the streets are left behind, no protection is necessary. Hon. Members should think of the great sewers north and south of the river, some of them in open country for a period, but others running through heavily industrialised areas. I ask them to think of the Wandle and Garratt Lane viaducts, in densely populated areas. It is clear that the hazards are just the same as they are in the streets, and that part of the argument was quite irrelevant.

We have not put forward this new Clause to benefit only the sewerage authorities. We have proposed it in order as far as possible to prevent danger to property and to people. It is almost laughable to suggest that if there is damage, those who are damaged have common law remedies. We want to prevent these things from happening. The Parliamentary Secretary used the curious word "undertakers" in the technical sense, but I am very much afraid that "undertakers" may be used in the more common sense if the safety provisions of the Clause are not accepted.

There is one reason why sewerage authorities are more deserving of protection in this matter than anyone else on behalf of the public. It is because

their systems are so widespread, certainly more widespread than the gas system, for instance. No doubt there are dangers in connection with electricity, but they are not of the same character as those which may be present when underneath great centres of population there are complicated systems of pipes going into every house. If there is serious seepage, there could be either vapour or inflammable material over wide areas considerable distances from She pipelines.

I am extremely disappointed that the Government should be so blind to the perils. I would be content with an undertaking that the Clause would have to be amended but that its principle would be accepted, but as this is the last opportunity which the House will have of inserting a precaution which many local and sewerage authorities think necessary, then, if we cannot have such an undertaking, we shall have to show our protest in the ordinary way.

Question put, That the Clause be read a Second time:—

The House divided: Ayes 155, Noes 212.

Division No. 251.] AYES [4.45 p.m.
Abse, Leo Foot, Michael (Ebbw Vale) Lever, L. M. (Ardwick)
Ainsley, William Forman, J. C. Lewis, Arthur (West Ham, N.)
Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.) Fraser, Thomas (Hamilton) MacDermot, Niall
Awbery, Stan Gaitskell, Rt. Hon. Hugh McInnes, James
Beaney, Alan Ginsburg, David McKay, John (Wallsend)
Benson, Sir George Gordon Walker, Rt. Hon. P. C. McLeavy, Frank
Blackburn, F. Grey, Charles MacPherson, Malcolm (Stirling)
Blyton, William Griffiths, David (Rother Valley) Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg)
Boardman, H. Griffiths, Rt. Hon. James (Llanelly) Manuel, Archie
Bottomley, Rt. Hon. A. G. Griffiths, W. (Exchange) Mapp, Charles
Bowden, Rt. Hn. H. W. (Leics.S.W.) Gunter, Ray Mason, Roy
Bowles, Frank Hale, Leslie (Oldham, W.) Mayhew, Christopher
Boyden, James Hall, Rt. Hn. Glenvil (Colne Valley) Mellish, R. J.
Braddock, Mrs. E. M. Hannan, William Mendelson, J. J.
Bradley, Tom Harper, Joseph Millan, Bruce
Bray, Dr. Jeremy Hart, Mrs. Judith Milne, Edward
Brockway, A. Fenner Hayman, F. H. Monslow, Walter
Broughton, Dr. A. D. D. Healey, Denis Moody, A. S.
Brown, Thomas (Ince) Herbison, Miss Margaret Moyle, Arthur
Butler, Herbert (Hackney, C.) Hill, J. (Midlothian) Noel-Baker, Francis (Swindon)
Castle, Mrs. Barbara Hilton, A. V. Noel-Baker, Rt. Hn. Philip (Derby, S.)
Chapman, Donald Houghton, Douglas Oswald, Thomas
Craddock, George (Bradford, S.) Howell, Denis (Small Heath) Owen, Will
Crosland, Anthony Hoy, James H. Padley, W. E.
Cullen, Mrs. Alice Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayrshire) Paget, R. T.
Dalyell, Tam Hynd, H. (Accrington) Pannell, Charles (Leeds, W.)
Darling, George Hynd, John (Attercliffe) Pargiter, R. G.
Davies, G. Elfed (Rhondda, E.) Janner, Sir Barnett Paton, John
Dempsey, James Jay, Rt. Hon. Douglas Pearson, Arthur (Pontypridd)
Diamond, John Jeger, George Peart, Frederick
Driberg, Tom Jenkins, Roy (Stechford) Pentland, Norman
Dugdale, Rt. Hon. John Johnson, Carol (Lewisham, S.) Plummer, Sir Leslie
Edwards, Rt. Hon. Ness (Caerphilly) Jones, Rt. Hn. A. Creech(Wakefield) Popplewell, Ernest
Edwards, Robert (Bilston) Jones, Dan (Burnley) Prentice, R. E.
Edwards, Walter (Stepney) Kelley, Richard Price, J. T. (Westhoughton)
Evans, Albert Kenyon, Clifford Proctor, W. T.
Fernyhough, E. Key, Rt. Hon. C. W. Reid, William
Finch, Harold King, Dr. Horace Roberts, Albert (Normanton)
Fitch, Alan Lee, Frederick (Newton) Robertson, John (Paisley)
Robinson, Kenneth (St. Pancras, N.) Stewart, Michael (Fulham) Whitlock, William
Rodgers, W. T. (Stockton) Stones, William Wilkins, W. A.
Ross, William Strauss, Rt. Hn. G. R. (Vauxhall) Willey, Frederick
Royle, Charles (Salford, West) stross, Dr. Barnett (Stoke-on-Trent, C.) Williams, LI. (Abertillery)
Shinwell, Rt. Hon. E. Taylor, Bernard (Mansfield) Williams, W. R. (Openshaw)
Short, Edward Thomas, George (Cardiff, W.) Willis, E. G. (Edinburgh, E.)
Silverman, Julius (Aston) Thomas, Iorworth (Rhondda, W.) Woodburn, Rt. Hon. A.
Skeffington, Arthur Tomney, Frank Woof, Robert
Slater, Mrs. Harriet (Stoke, N.) Wainwright, Edwin Yates, Victor (Ladywood)
Slater, Joseph (Sedgefield) Warbey, William Zilliacus, K.
Small, William Watkins, Tudor
Sorensen, R. W. Wells, Percy (Faversham) TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Spriggs, Leslie Wells, William (Walsall, N.) Mr. Lawson and Mr. Redhead.
Steele, Thomas White, Mrs. Eirene
Aitken, W. T. Harvie Anderson, Miss Nugent, Rt. Hon. Sir Richard
Arbuthnot, John Hay, John Orr, Capt. L. P. S.
Atkins, Humphrey Heald, Rt. Hon. Sir Lionel Orr-Ewing, C. Ian
Balniel, Lord Henderson, John (Cathcart) Osborn, John (Hallam)
Barber, Anthony Hicks Beach, Maj. W. Osborne, Sir Cyril (Louth)
Barter, John Hill, Dr. Rt. Hon. Charles (Luton) Page, Graham (Crosby)
Baxter, Sir Beverley (Southgate) Hill, J. E. B. (S. Norfolk) Page, John (Harrow, West)
Bennett, F. M. (Torquay) Hirst, Geoffrey Pannell, Norman (Kirkdale)
Berkeley, Humphry Hocking, Philip N. Pearson, Frank (Clitheroe)
Bevins, Rt. Hon. Reginald Holland, Philip Peyton, John
Biffen, John Hope, Rt. Hon. Lord John Pickthorn, Sir Kenneth
Biggs-Davison, John Hopkins, Alan Pike, Miss Mervyn
Birch, Rt. Hon. Nigel Hornby, R. P. Pilkington, Sir Richard
Boyle, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward Hornsby-Smith, Rt. Hon. Dame P. Pitman, Sir James
Braine, Bernard Howard, Hon. G. R. (St. Ives) Pitt, Miss Edith
Brooke, Rt. Hon. Henry Hughes Hallett, Vice-Admiral John Pott, Percivall
Brooman-White, R. Hulbert, Sir Norman Powell, Rt. Hon. J. Enoch
Brown, Alan (Tottenham) Hutchison, Michael Clark Price, David (Eastleigh)
Browne, Percy (Torrington) Iremonger, T. L. Profumo, Rt. Hon. John
Butcher, Sir Herbert Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye) Proudfoot, Wilfred
Campbell, Sir David (Belfast, S.) Jackson, John Quennell, Miss J. M.
Campbell, Gordon (Moray & Nairn) James, David Ramsden, James
Cary, Sir Robert Jenkins, Robert (Dulwich) Redmayne, Rt. Hon. Martin
Chataway, Christopher Jennings, J. C. Rees, Hugh
Clark, William (Nottingham, S.) Johnson, Dr. Donald (Carlisle) Rees-Davies, W. R.
Cole, Norman Johnson, Eric (Blackley) Ridley, Hon. Nicholas
Collard, Richard Kaberry, Sir Donald Roberts, Sir Peter (Heeley)
Cooper, A. E. Kerby, Capt. Henry Robinson, Rt. Hn. Sir R. (B'pool, S.)
Cooper-Key, Sir Neill Kerr, Sir Hamilton Robson Brown, Sir William
Cordeaux, Lt.-Col. J. K. Kimball, Marcus Roots, William
Cordle, John Kirk, Peter Russell, Ronald
Costain, A. P. Lagden, Godfrey Scott-Hopkins, James
Coulson, Michael Langford-Holt, Sir John Sharples, Richard
Crawley, Aidan Leburn, Gilmour Shaw, M.
Critchley, Julian Legge-Bourke, Sir Harry Skeet, T. H. H.
Cunningham, Knox Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland) Smith, Dudley (Br'ntf'd & Chiswick)
Curran, Charles Lindsay, Sir Martin Smithers, Peter
Dalkeith, Earl of Linstead, Sir Hugh Speir, Rupert
Dance, James Longden, Gilbert Stanley, Hon. Richard
d'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Sir Henry Loveys, Walter H. Stodart, J. A.
Digby, Simon Wingfield Lucas, Sir Jocelyn Storey, Sir Samuel
Donaldson, Cmdr. C. E. M. Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh Summers, Sir Spencer
Doughty, Charles McAdden, Sir Stephen Talbot, John E.
Drayson, G. B. McLaughlin, Mrs. Patricia Tapsell, Peter
Duncan, Sir James Maclay, Rt. Hon. John Taylor,'Frank (M'ch'st'r, Moss Side)
Duthie, Sir William Maclean, SirFitzroy (Bute&N. Ayrs.) Teeling Sir William
Elliot, Capt. Walter (Carshalton) Macleod, Rt. Hon. lain (Enfield, W.) Temple John. M.
Emmet, Hn. Mrs. Evelyn McMaster, Stanley R. Thatcher, Mrs. Margaret
Farey-Jones, F.W. Macmillan, Rt. Hn. Harold (Bromley) Thomas, Peter (Conway)
Fell, Anthony Macmillan Maurice (Halifax) Thompson Kenneth (Walton)
Forrest, George Maddan, Martin Thompson, Richard (Croydon, S.)
Fraser, Rt. Hn. Hugh (Stafford&Stone) Maginnis, John E. Thornton-Kemsley, Sir Colin
Freeth, Denzil Maitland, Sir John Tiley, Arthur (Bradford, W.)
Galbraith, Hon. T. G. D. Markham, Major Sir Frank Touch, Rt. Hon Sir Gordon
Gammans, Lady Marlowe, Anthony
Gardner, Edward Marples, Rt. Hon. Ernest Turner, Colin
Gilmour Sir John Marshall, Douglas Tweedsmuir, Lady
Glover Sir Douglas Mathew, Robert (Honiton) Van Straubenzee, W. R.
Glyn, Sir Richard (Dorset, N.) Mawby, Ray Vaughan-Morgan, Rt. Hon. Sir John
Goodhart, Philip Maxwell-Hyslop, R. J. Vickers, Miss Joan
Gough, Frederick Maydon, Lt.-Cmdr. S. L. C. Vosper, Rt. Hon. Dennis
Gower, Raymond Moore, Sir Thomas (Ayr) Wakefield, Sir Wavell
Green, Alan More, Jasper (Ludlow) Walder, David
Grosvenor, Lt.-Col. R. G. Morgan, William Walker, Peter
Gurden, Harold Nabarro, Gerald Walker-Smith, Rt. Hon. Sir Derek
Harris, Frederic (Croydon, N.W.) Nicholls, Sir Harmar Wall, Patrick
Harris, Reader (Heston) Nicholson, Sir Godfrey Ward, Dame Irene
Harvey, Sir Arthur Vere (Macclesf'd) Noble, Rt. Hon. Michael Webster, David
Whitelaw, William Wise, A. R.
Williams, Dudley (Exeter) Wood, Rt. Hon. Richard TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Williams, Paul (Sunderland, S.) Woodhouse, C. M. Mr. Peel and Mr. Batsford.
Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro) Woollam, John


The Minister may, after consultation with such bodies and persons as appear to him to represent the interests of owners and occupiers of property and of promoters of pipe-lines, make regulations providing—

  1. (a) for the carrying out of works for safeguarding the interests of owners and occupiers of property likely to be affected by the construction of a pipe-line; and
  2. (b) for the carrying out by the promoters of a pipe-line of any repairs to any property (without charge to the owner or occupier thereof) which may be rendered necessary in consequence of the construction of such pipe-line.—[Mr. Skeffington.]

Brought up, and read the First time.

Mr. Skeffington

I beg to move, That the Clause be read a Second time.

From the nature and the description of the Clause I very much hope for some support by hon. Members opposite. In our discussions in Committee hon. Members apposite showed considerable misgivings about the protection of large property owners, even at the very last meeting of the Committee, when they felt that pipeline operators were being given statutory rights either to go through land or to own land without having to suffer many of the consequences which public utilities have to bear.

The purpose of the Clause is to ensure that certain precautionary measures may be taken in the interests of property owners of all kinds. I want to see justice done to all property owners, large or small, and since there is a possibility of fairly large numbers of so-called local pipelines being constructed—pipelines which might be anything up to 10 miles in length—quite apart from cross-country pipelines, it is clear that many properties of all kinds could be affected.

There are certain parts of the Bill on which we have had no discussion and no explanation, but so far as we have been able to size up its general effect the Bill appears to contain no provision for the protection of owners and occupiers of property in the vicinity of a pipeline from any damaging consequences which the pipeline may cause, either during its construction—owing to the consequences which may follow sub- sidence of one kind or another, as a result of the removal of earth—or through its subsequent operation.

Tenants' associations and local authorities realise that there could be serious consequences not only in the construction stage, but afterwards, from the operation of a pipeline conveying dangerous or inflammable liquids or solids under pressure. It is quite true that if damage resulted, either as a result of the construction of the pipeline or subsequently, the owner would have his common law remedies. The former Attorney-General, speaking during the Second Reading debate on 9th May, made this quite clear. He thought that there was no need for the liability for damages to be made absolute in the Bill.

That is probably true, but the purpose of the Clause—and it was also the purpose of my previous Clause—is to prevent trouble arising rather than try to remedy the situation when some untoward incident has occurred. The Clause seeks to ensure that adequate steps are taken so that where groups of those who represent owners and occupiers of property, large or small—land-owning federations or tenants' associations of one kind or another—can prove to be genuine representatives of the interests of those owners and occupiers they should have an opportunity of suggesting to the Minister requirements which would avoid injury to buildings or structures in the vicinity of a pipeline. Any cost of such modifications of the pipelines, its route, or its method of construction, would be at the expense of those who were constructing it.

We have had some discussion in other connections about the desirability of having safety codes and regulations, and how far such codes would prevent untoward incidents ever arising. On balance, I am in favour of codes which are plainly stated, because they are fair to industry. By the adoption of reasonably good and practical codes much trouble can be avoided in the construction period.

5.0 p.m.

It is, of course, perfectly true, as United States' experience has shown, that we cannot provide in advance for every possible type of pipeline, bearing in mind the material which may be conveyed through it and the actual route of the pipeline itself. Consequently, it is thought that the one way of dealing with the matter would be that where representations are made by the types of persons described in this Clause the Minister should be able, if he thought suitable after taking advice, to insert particular requirements. Some of these provisions could be inserted in the case of a local pipeline. They could be attached to the conditions of the Minister's authorisation, and where a local pipeline was involved the local planning authority might be asked to include these conditions when it gave its permission.

This is a particularly important point to which I hope that we shall receive an answer either from the Minister or from the Parliamentary Secretary. We have already had considerable discussion about the disquieting features of local pipelines in the fact that the requirements for their construction is subject to far less scrutiny than in the case of cross-country pipelines. After consent has been given and planning permission has been granted there is not a great deal that the Minister can do except under the general safety Clauses which do not go as far as I would wish to achieve by this Clause.

We have pointed out that one of the defects in the present arrangement for local pipelines is that even if planning permission is given by the local authority, in many instances the local authority is not a qualified body to deal with particular hazards due either to the nature of the pipelines themselves or to the sort of hazards that might affect the buildings of owners or occupiers near pipelines. Consequently, if the sort of procedure existed as is indicated in this Clause the Minister could then ask the local planning authority, in the case of a local pipeline, to grant its permission subject to the safety requirements— I will call them that—which it was thought wise to insert having regard to the circumstances of the particular pipeline. If that were done it would close another of the gaps which exist at the moment in relation to local pipelines.

I hope that for both these reasons the Clause will commend itself to the Government and the House.

Mr. Peyton

My regard for the hon. Member for Hayes and Harlington (Mr. Skeffington) makes me regret all the more the fact that I cannot advise the House to give a Second Reading to this Clause either. In moving the Clause the hon. Gentleman was perfectly fair. He explained the dilemma of the difference that exists between those who, on the whole, favour a code of regulations and those who do not. I understand his preference for a code, but certainly at the present stage of the development of pipelines in this country the Government view is against a code. We feel, and very strongly, that it would be much better that each new venture should be treated on its merits.

There is no doubt that as experience is gained a code of practice will in effect be built up, but to start that when experience is so comparatively limited, as at this stage, and to attempt to lay down a code of general application would, I think, be a great mistake. We have a good deal of sympathy with the motives and purposes which led the hon. Gentleman to put down his Clause, but, on the other hand, our only reason for opposing it is that in our view it is unnecessary. The existing provisions of the Bill quite adequately meet the point.

As far as the first category is concerned, as set out in paragraph (a) of the new Clause: for the carrying out of works … for safeguarding the interests … likely to be affected by the construction of a pipeline", where rights are voluntarily acquired, that is, where the operator acquires rights on a voluntary basis, it can, I think, reasonably be anticipated that the person who parts with those rights will get at least as good a deal as he would get under compulsory acquisition. In the case of compulsory acquisition, of course, the Minister has very full powers by virtue of Clause 13 to attach any conditions which he thinks are necessary in order to safeguard the interests of property owners prior to the carrying out of the works. These, of course, cover such matters as the restoration of drains and fences and the safeguarding of water supplies.

I should point out to the House that the Minister would be attaching conditions here; he would not be acting under regulations. This, I realise, is a point of difference between the two sides of the House, but, for reasons to which I have already referred, we prefer to rely on the more elastic method of considering the particular circumstances of each case.

With regard to the second part of the Clause which deals with the carrying out of repairs to property made necessary by pipeline construction work, again it would be unnecessary to have such a provision where rights are voluntarily granted. But where owners or occupiers suffer loss by reason of damage to property arising from the exercise of rights compulsorily acquired they would be entitled under Clause 14 (2) to compensation equal to Che full value of that loss. Therefore, I hope that the hon. Member for Hayes and Harlington will perhaps agree with us that in this instance no further legislative protection is required.

Mr. T. Fraser

The Parliamentary Secretary has not, at least as I see it, dealt with the position that arises under the new Clause. He seems to imagine that the protection being sought by my hon. Friend is such as might be found to be required by a person who had entered voluntarily into an agreement with a pipeline operator or a person who had been unwilling to enter into an agreement with the pipeline constructor but in respect of whose property the Minister granted a compulsory rights order.

I should have thought that by drafting the new Clause in this way my hon. Friend had been concerned not so much with the ownership of land which may be built upon as the ownership and occupation of buildings which stand upon land. I should have thought it fairly obvious from the Clause that he had in mind owners and occupiers of property in urban areas. A pipeline may be constructed in a street with or without the consent of the highway authority owning the street, but the owner or occupier of property rights would not be protected by agreement or maintained by a compulsory rights order. That person might suffer injury as a result of digging trenches or laying pipelines in those trenches, either because of the work being carried out or because of a happening at a later date.

We wish to provide that the Minister should seek to require that in the execution of the work the interests of owners and occupiers of properties alongside the pipeline should be safeguarded. I should have thought that he would wish to provide in the Bill that if a property alongside suffered damage as a result of the execution of pipeline works the cost of repairing the damage should be borne by the constructor of the pipeline. That seems a reasonable proposition, but the Parliamentary Secretary did not reply to it. I do not think that he dealt at all with that in advising the House to reject the Clause. In the circumstances, I wonder if, with the leave of the House, the Parliamentary Secretary could speak again, or if the Minister would say whether or not this is a provision that he would like to insert in the Bill.

I think that this is a very desirable Clause. I should think that all who want to give reasonable protection to owners and occupiers of property which might suffer injury as a result of operations carried out under the Act would wish to make this provision in the Bill. In the absence of this kind of provision, those who suffer damage would be able only to seek redress under the common law. By this now Clause persons who suffer damage as a result of pipeline construction would be safeguarded. The responsibility for meeting any costs incurred would rightly be put on to those who have a pipeline construction authorisation or planning permission from the local planning authority. Those are the people who should foot the Bill.

Mr. Peyton

I am grateful to the hon. Member for Hamilton (Mr. T. Fraser) for the courteous way in which he put the point, but I must make absolutely clear that no Government when legislating would seek to incorporate in a Bill of this kind all those provisions which are already in common law. It would be fantastic if the House of Commons were to take the view that the common law is inadequate and that we must always seek to produce substitutes for it. The common law puts upon a person who brings on to land a dangerous substance and allows it to escape, a very heavy liability. I think it would be beyond the wit of Parliamentary draftsmen to add to that liability.

5.15 p.m.

Mr. T. Fraser

I am grateful to the Parliamentary Secretary for using the occasion of an intervention in my speech to make that further point because it is right that the House should know what is in the mind of the Government, but there are many provisions in the Bill which have been written in at the request of the Country Land Owners' Association. They are protections for the Association which I think are quite unnecessary. Nevertheless, because it is a strong and influential body it has been able to get those provisions written into the Bill. Here we are dealing with a less influential, but much more numerous, body of people who might suffer injury. If Parliament is willing to go so far in writing in provisions to safeguard the Association, I think it might go a little farther and protect these lesser people.

Mr. J. J. Mendelson (Penistone)

The double-barrelled argument of the Parliamentary Secretary reminded me of the lady in Belfast who borrowed a frying pan from a neighbour and failed to return it. After 18 months, the owner of the frying pan called on her neighbour and asked if she could have her frying pan back again. The borrower replied, "First, I never borrowed a frying pan and, secondly, it had a big hole in it so I threw it away." The Parliamentary Secretary started by making great play of the fact that he could not possibly accept the new Clause because of its provisions, then said that the provisions were already in the Bill and, when it was proved that they were not in the Bill, he said they were in the common law anyway.

Mr. Peyton

The hon. Member must not twist this too much. He is entitled to his fun, but he cannot get away with that. I was dealing first with the rights of those involved when a pipeline is being laid down. I went on to deal with the specific points about those with property in the vicinity who may be affected and who might not be covered by statutory provisions.

Mr. Mendelson

We must all be gentle with the Parliamentary Secretary and realise that he has come new to this work on which we have been spending many weeks. I shall not pursue the argument further, therefore, except to say that every stage of his argument was self-defeating.

This is one of the new Clauses which goes to the root of the principle in the Bill. The principle is to give very large powers to private companies. It is therefore our bounden duty to be particularly careful to make quite sure that powers given to private companies are not overriding in every respect as opposed to the interests of those whose property interest might be small, who might be occupiers only or both owners and occupiers. It is no argument to say that there might be redress under the common law or in some other way.

This is a new type of legislation which will be taken as a precedent for other legislation of this kind. This is a new type of transport which is in a state of development. It is most important that the interests of all who might be affected should not be neglected.

I find it difficult to understand why the Minister is not prepared to accept this new Clause. It is in no way hostile to the general purposes of the Bill. It would strengthen the provisions in the right direction and it would make for more fair play, which is the professed aim of the Minister. I therefore urge him at this late stage to reconsider the attitude of the Government and to be more forthcoming in response to the new Clause.

Mr. Willis

I have described this Bill as a charter for the oil companies. I am beginning to think that it is misnamed and should be called a "Lawyers' Employment Bill". Every time we ask about anything in it the reply is made, "Take it to the counts". I am sure that many people who live around me will be delighted with this Bill.

Mr. Peyton

The hon. Member is making the most astonishing suggestion. The whole innuendo behind what he has said, and what I suspect he is about to say, is that Statutes do not give rise to litigation. I do not claim great experience as a lawyer, but I can assure him that that is very wrong indeed.

Mr. Willis

I was not about to say that. I was about to say that I would fear that great numbers of new Bentleys, Rolls-Royces and Jaguars would appear round where I live, thanks to this Bill and to the work which it will provide in the courts for the Q.C.s, advocates, solicitors and all the rest of them.

Of course, Statutes give rise to litigation. The position in Scotland is so uncertain that we have a committee sitting to consider what the law is in respect of compensation for poisonous noxious gases and vapours arising from land. That is how clear the law is. All we are saying is that the Minister might at least try to get something done to safeguard the interests of owners and occupiers of property in regard to carrying out works of repair. If, by doing that, we can save people from going to law, is not that a good thing to do, particularly in Scotland, where people do not even know what the law is? I have always thought that one of our jobs was not to drive people into the law courts, but to keep them out. That is what we are trying to do, but the Parliamentary Secretary says, "Leave it to the courts."

Mr. Peyton

I must get this point clear. We are leaving the rights of the individual concerned as they are established at common law, instead of rewriting them in the form of a Statute. I must tell the hon. Gentleman that he is absolutely wrong in his assumption that a statutory provision would necessarily be so clear as to effectively cover every possible case, so that no litigation would ever follow.

Mr. Willis

In Scotland, I have no doubt that, as soon as we get the Report of the Scottish Law Reform Committee, we shall embody it in a Statute. That is precisely the purpose of it—to put it in a Statute in order to clarify the law and to try to clear up all the confusion that has existed for a very considerable time. All that we suggest here is that in connection with pipelines, we might try to do the same.

Mr. Ross

My hon. Friend will remember that under a compulsory purchase order made under the last Town and Country Planning Act, new rights were given to those who have an interest in land. Can he tell me whether these rights have been extended to these new compulsory purchase powers?

Mr. Willis

I do not think they have, but I am not certain about this. I am not a lawyer; I am a humble bookseller, not a lawyer. Therefore, I refuse to be drawn into all this legal argument.

What we are trying to do is to clarify the position so that it might go into the Statute and the people might know the conditions laid down in connection with pipelines by the Minister in the regulations which he feels would be necessary. That is not a large request to make, and in so far as it helps people to understand the position, saves them the bother of having to go to law, and, incidentally, considerable sums of money, it would be a very desirable thing to be included in the Bill.

Mr. Skeffington

I concede that there are certain difficulties in putting into legislative form the desire which I believe is share very widely on this side of the House and elsewhere, to see that the owners and occupiers of property near a pipeline may be consulted and be able to take steps to prevent some of the possible consequences which might arise.

That is the purpose behind the new Clause. I think that there is less need for paragraph (b) than for paragraph (a), because quite obviously, owners or occupiers will have the rights of their common law privileges, but in a simpler form. It is often made clear in the Statute that any breach by an operator of a particular requirement immediately means that he is liable, and, very often, this saves litigation. It is a very useful thing to do, whenever possible, particularly if large numbers of small owners and occupiers are involved.

The other part of the Clause covers something which, at the moment, is not adequately provided for anywhere else in the Bill. First, it would give the Minister the opportunity to consult, where he is satisfied that bodies or persons rightly represent the interests of owner-occupiers about the conditions. This is very important, because if he does attach conditions to the authorisation order, or ensures, in the case of a local pipeline, that the local planning authority has made conditions on the grant of the permission, then, very often, the damage to the property would not arise in the first place. Surely, this is desirable. Both the new Clauses which I have had the honour to move are attempts to lock the stable door before the horse has got out.

Mr. A. R. Wise (Rugby)

On a point of order. Has the hon. Member the leave of the House to make a second speech?

Mr. Deputy-Speaker

The hon. Member will be aware that it is in order for an hon. Member proposing a new Clause in these circumstances to reply.

Mr. Skeffington

I am much obliged, Mr. Deputy-Speaker.

Mr. Ross

Mr. Not-so-Wise.

Mr. Skeffington

The purpose was to see to it, after consultations, that a pipeline would be so constructed that damage was less likely to arise, and I should have thought that this way of preventing that damage or even accidents and all the unpleasant consequences of litigation, was something that might commend itself very warmly to the Government.

There is an additional reason why I believe that the first part of the new Clause is of very great significance. I gave an example in Committee of a local pipeline which could be up to 10 miles in length. In a district which I know, from the Surrey Commercial Docks into North Croydon, which is a distance of less than 10 miles, a pipeline would run through the areas of four local authorities, which are densely populated by hundreds of thousands of people. As the Bill is at present drafted, none of these owners and occupiers need be statutorily informed of the fact that a pipeline is going to go near their houses at all.

The Clause would give the Minister the right to consult the representatives of such occupiers or owners about the pipeline. That, in itself, could be a very good piece of public relations. We are often able by such consultations to satisfy people that their fears are unnecessary. Secondly, it would give them the opportunity of putting forward suggestions which could be considered on their merits when the authorisation was granted. It seems to me that this gives the Government a tremendous opportunity for extra public relations, because nowhere else in this Bill is this consultation provided for, and hundreds of thousands of people need not be informed by Statute of any development at all.

This is a very serious matter. I do not think that we ought to inflict new hazards on people without, at least, telling them and giving them an opportunity to be consulted. Or, where the Minister is satisfied that they are represented by a bona fide organisation or by representatives, they should be consulted. This would go a long way towards making people feel that the Government really care about ordinary people. The Clause as a whole, and certainly the first part, should make a strong appeal to those who say that they support the idea of a property-owning democracy. I hope that the Government may feel that there is considerable merit in the Clause and that they will accept it, even though they may have to amend the wording.

5.30 p.m.

Mr. Peyton

With the leave of the House I should like to respond to what has been said by the hon. Member for Hayes and Harlington (Mr. Skeffington).

This Clause would give to the Minister what he has already—an opportunity to consult people. No one has taken that Opportunity away, and from what I know of the sort of bodies and representatives which the hon. Member for Hayes and Harlington has in mind, they will not be reluctant to seek opportunities for consultation.

Another thing which arises, both on this Clause and on the last one moved by the hon. Member is, that he would seem to be doing planning authorities a great injustice. Such authorities—often they are county councils and the councils of county boroughs—are close to these problems and are aware of the different needs. The whole procedure relating to inquiries, hearings and the rest is such that consultations such as the hon. Member has in mind are almost bound to take place in any case.

Mr. Skeffington

If the hon. Gentleman agrees that consultation is a good thing, why not give the Minister a statutory right to consult? Does not he realise that local planning authorities decide matters of planning on the question of amenities and that they have not the technical knowledge to resolve the kind of problems which will arise from the laying of pipelines? That is why some other authority is required.

Mr. Peyton

The technical points are matters for my right hon. Friend who is concerning himself with the problems. I repeat that it would be idle to confer rights on Ministers by Acts of Parliament when they already possess such rights.

Ministers are free to consult anyone they wish and bodies and representatives are free to consult Ministers. I do not think that we should add anything or gain anything by writing this into the Statute.

Question put, That the Clause be read a Second time:—

The House divided: Ayes 160, Noes 211.

Division No. 252.] AYES [5.32 p.m.
Abse, Leo Harper, Joseph Pentland, Norman
Ainsley, William Hart, Mrs. Judith Plummer, Sir Leslie
Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.) Hayman, F. H. Popplewell, Ernest
Awbery, Stan Healey, Denis Prentice, R. E.
Baird, John Herbison, Miss Margaret Price, J. T. (Westhoughton)
Beaney, Alan Hill, J. (Midlothian) Proctor, W. T.
Benson, Sir George Hilton, A. V. Rankin, John
Blackburn, F. Houghton, Douglas Redhead, E. C.
Blyton, William Howell, Denis (Small Heath) Reid, William
Boardman, H. Hoy, James H. Reynolds, G. W.
Bottomley, Rt. Hon. A. G. Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayrshire) Roberts, Albert (Normanton)
Bowden, Rt. Hn. H. W. (Leics. S. W.) Hynd, H. (Accrington) Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvon)
Bowles, Frank Hynd, John (Attercliffe) Robertson, John (Paisley)
Boyden, James Janner, Sir Barnett Robinson, Kenneth (St. Pancras, N.)
Braddock, Mrs. E. M. Jay, Rt. Hon. Douglas Rodgers, W. T. (Stockton)
Bradley, Tom Jeger, George Ross, William
Bray, Dr. Jeremy Jenkins, Roy (Stechford) Royle, Charles (Salford, West)
Brockway, A. Fenner Johnson, Carol (Lewisham, S.) Shinwell, Rt. Hon. E.
Brown, Rt. Hon. George (Belper) Jones, Rt. Hn. A. Creech (Wakefield) Silverman, Julius (Aston)
Brown, Thomas (Ince) Jones, Dan (Burnley) Skeffington, Arthur
Butler, Herbert (Hackney, C.) Kelley, Richard Slater, Mrs. Harriet (Stoke, N.)
Castle, Mrs. Barbara Kenyon, Clifford Slater, Joseph (Sedgefield)
Chapman, Donald Key, Rt. Hon. C. W. Small, William
Craddock, George (Bradford, S.) Leo, Frederick (Newton) Smith, Ellis (Stoke, S.)
Crosland, Anthony Lever, L. M. (Ardwick) Sorensen, R. W.
Crossman, R. H. S. Lewis, Arthur (West Ham, N.) Spriggs, Leslie
Cullen, Mrs. Alice Lubbock, Eric Steele, Thomas
Dalyell, Tam MacDermot, Niall Stewart, Michael (Fulham)
Davies, C. Elfed (Rhondda, E.) McInnes, James Stones, William
Dempsey, James McKay, John (Wallsend) Strauss, Rt. Hn. G. R. (Vauxhall)
Diamond, John McLeavy, Frank Stress, Dr. Barnett(Stoke-on-Trent, C.)
Driberg, Tom MacPherson, Malcolm (Stirling) Swain, Thomas
Dugdale, Rt. Hon. John Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg) Taverne, D.
Edwards, Rt. Hon. Ness (Caerphilly) Manuel, Archie Taylor, Bernard (Mansfield)
Edwards, Robert (Bilstone) Mapp, Charles Thomas, George (Cardiff, W.)
Edwards, Walter (Stepney) Mason, Roy Thomas, Iorwerth (Rhondda, W.)
Evans, Albert Mayhew, Christopher Thornton, Ernest
Fernyhough, E. Mellish, R. J. Tomney, Frank
Fitch, Alan Mendelson, J. J. Wade, Donald
Fletcher, Eric Millan, Bruce Warbey, William
Foot, Michael (Ebbw Vale) Milne, Edward Wells, Percy (Faversham)
Forman, J. C. Monslow, Walter White, Mrs. Eirene
Fraser, Thomas (Hamilton) Moody, A. S. Whitlock, William
Gaitskell, Rt. Hon. Hugh Moyle, Arthur Wilkins, W. A.
Ginsburg, David Noel-Baker, Francis (Swindon) Willey, Frederick
Gordon Walker, Rt. Hon. P. C. Noel-Baker, Rt. Hn. Phillp (Derby, S.) Williams, LI. (Abertillery)
Gourlay, Harry Oswald, Thomas Williams, W. R. (Openshaw)
Grey, Charles Owen, Will Willis, E. G. (Edinburgh, E.)
Griffiths, David (Rother Valley) Paget, R. T. Woodburn, Rt. Hon. A.
Griffiths, Rt. Hon. James (Llanelly) Pannell, Charles (Leeds, W.) Woof, Robert
Griffiths, W. (Exchange) Parker, John Yates, Victor (Ladywood)
Gunter, Ray Paton, John Zilliacus, K.
Hale, Leslie (Oldham, W.) Pearson, Arthur (Pontypridd)
Hall, Rt. Hn. Glenvil (Colne Valley) Peart, Frederick TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Hannan, William Mr. Lawson and Dr. Broughton.
Aitken, W. T. Berkeley, Humphry Browne, Percy (Torrington)
Arbuthnot, John Bevins, Rt. Hon. Reginald Butcher, Sir Herbert
Atkins, Humphrey Biffen, John Butler, Rt. Hn. R. A. (Saffron Walden)
Balniel, Lord Biggs-Davison, John Campbell, Sir David (Belfast, S.)
Barber, Anthony Birch, Rt. Hon. Nigel Campbell, Gordon (Moray & Nairn)
Barter, John Black, Sir Cyril Chataway, Christopher
Baxter, Sir Beverley (Southgate) Boyle, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward Clark, William (Nottingham, S.)
Bennett, F. M. (Torquay) Braine, Bernard Cole, Norman
Bennett, Dr. Reginald (Gos & Fhm) Brown, Alan (Tottenham) Collard, Richard
Cooper, A. E. James, David Powell, Rt. Hon. Enoch
Cooper-Key, Sir Neill Jenkins, Robert (Dulwich) Price, David (Eastleigh)
Cordeaux, Lt.-Col. J. K. Jennings, J. C. Profumo, Rt. Hon. John
Cordle, John Johnson, Dr. Donald (Carlisle) Proudfoot, Wilfred
Corfield, F. V. Johnson, Eric (Blackley) Pym, Francis
Costain, A. P. Kaberry, Sir Donald Quennell, Miss J. M.
Coulson, Michael Kerby, Capt. Henry Ramsden, James
Crawley, Aidan Kerr, Sir Hamilton Redmayne, Rt. Hon. Martin
Critchley, Julian Kirk, Peter Rees, Hugh
Cunningham, Knox Lagden, Godfrey Ridley, Hon. Nicholas
Curran, Charles Langford-Holt, Sir John Roberts, Sir Peter (Heeley)
Dalkeith, Earl of Leburn, Gilmour Robinson, Rt. Hn. Sir R. (B'pool, S.)
Dance, James Legge-Bourke, Sir Harry Robson Brown, Sir William
d'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Sir Henry Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland) Roots, William
de Ferranti, Basil Lindsay, Sir Martin Russell, Ronald
Digby, Simon Wingfield Linstead, Sir Hugh Scott-Hopkins, James
Donaldson, Cmdr. C. E. M. Lloyd, Rt. Hn. Geoffrey (Sut'nC'dfield) Sharples, Richard
Doughty, Charles Longden, Gilbert Shaw, M.
Drayson, G. B. Loveys, Walter H. Shepherd, William
Duncan, Sir James Lucas, Sir Jocelyn Skeet, T. H. H.
Elliot, Capt. Walter (Carshalton) Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh Smith, Dudley (Br'ntf'd & Chiswick)
Emmet, Hon. Mrs. Evelyn McAdden, Sir Stephen Smithers, Peter
Farey-Jones, F. W. Maclean, Sir Fitzroy (Bute & N. Ayrs.) Speir, Rupert
Fell, Anthony Macleod, Rt. Hn. lain (Enfield, W.) Stanley, Hon. Richard
Forrest, George McMaster, Stanley R. Steward, Harold (Stockport, S.)
Freeth, Denzil Macmillan, Rt. Hn. Harold (Bromley) Stodart, J. A.
Galbraith, Hon. T. G. D. Macmillan, Maurice (Hallfax) Storey, Sir Samuel
Gammans, Lady Maddan, Martin Summers, Sir Spencer
Gardner, Edward Maginnis, John E. Talbot, John E.
Gilmour, Sir John Maitland, Sir John Tapsell, Peter
Glover, Sir Douglas Markham, Major Sir Frank Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne)
Glyn, Sir Richard (Dorset, N.) Marlowe, Anthony Taylor, Frank (M'ch'st'r, Moss Side)
Goodhart, Philip Marples, Rt. Hon. Ernest Teeling, Sir William
Gough, Frederick Marshall, Douglas Temple, John M.
Gower, Raymond Mathew, Robert (Honiton) Thatcher, Mrs. Margaret
Green, Alan Mawby, Ray Thomas, Peter (Conway)
Grosvenor, Lt.-Col. R. G. Maxwell-Hyslop, R. J. Thompson, Kenneth (Walton)
Gurden, Harold Maydon, Lt.-Cmdr. S. L. C. Thompson, Richard (Croydon, S.)
Harris, Frederic (Croydon, N.W.) Moore, Sir Thomas (Ayr) Thornton-Kemsley, Sir Colin
Harris, Reader (Heston) More, Jasper (Ludlow) Tiley, Arthur (Bradford, W.)
Harvey, Sir Arthur Vere (Macclesf'd) Morgan, William Touche, Rt. Hon. Sir Gordon
Harvie Anderson, Miss Morrison, John Tweedsmuir, Lady
Hay, John Nabarro, Gerald van straubenzee, W. R.
Heald, Rt. Hon. Sir Lionel Neave, Airey Vaughan-Morgan, Rt. Hon. Sir John
Hendry, Forbes Nicholls, Sir Harmar Victors, Miss Joan
Hicks Beach, Maj. W. Nicholson, Sir Godfrey Vosper, Rt. Hon. Dennis
Hill, Dr. Rt. Hon. Charles (Luton) Noble, Rt. Hon. Michael Walker, Peter
Hill, J. E. B. (S. Norfolk) Nugent, Rt. Hon. Sir Richard Walker-Smith, Rt. Hon. Sir Derek
Hirst, Geoffrey Orr, Capt. L. P. S. Wall, Patrick
Hocking, Philip N. Orr-Ewing, C. Ian Ward, Dame Irene
Holland, Philip Osborne, Sir Cyril (Louth) Webster, David
Hope, Rt. Hon. Lord John Page, John (Harrow, West) Wells, John (Maidstone)
Hopkins, Alan Page, Graham (Crosby) Whitelaw, William
Hornby, R. P. Pannell, Norman (Kirkdale) Williams, Dudley (Exeter)
Hornsby-Smith, Rt. Hon. Dame P. Pearson, Frank (Clitheroe) Williams, Paul (Sunderland, S.)
Howard, Hon. G. R. (St. Ives) Peyton, John Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)
Hughes Hallett, Vice-Admiral John Pickthorn, Sir Kenneth Wise, A. R.
Hulbert, Sir Norman Pike, Miss Mervyn Wood, Rt. Hon. Richard
Hutchison, Michael Clark Pilkington, Sir Richard Woodhouse, C. M.
Iremonger, T. L. Pitman, Sir James Woollam, John
Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye) Pitt, Miss Edith
Jackson, John Pott, Percivall TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Mr. Peel and Mr. Batsford.


  1. (1) Before commencing to execute works for the construction or diversion of a pipeline, the owner of the pipeline or proposed pipeline (as the case may be) (in this section referred to as "the owner") shall give notice, together with plans and sections, specifying those works, to any highway authority (in this section referred to as "the authority") within whose area the works, or part thereof, are to be carried out.
  2. (2) If it appears to the authority that the line of the pipeline works or any length thereof will encroach upon the route of any street widening reconstruction, improvement or construction proposed by the authority, the 1320 authority may within twenty-eight days from the date of the service of a notice under subsection (1) of this section by counter-notice notify the owner of that fact specifying details of the encroachment.
  3. (3) If at any time after the construction or diversion of the pipeline it is reasonably necessary by reason or in consequence of the carrying out by the authority of such works as are referred to in subsection (2) of this section to alter the position of any part of a pipeline the owner shall (on receiving notice in writing from the authority so to do) at his own expense with all reasonable speed alter the position of such part of the pipeline in such manner as may be agreed between the owner and the authority or failing such agreement as shall be determined by arbitration.
  4. 1321
  5. (4) Any difference arising between the authority and the owner under this section (other than a difference as to the meaning or construction of this section) shall be referred to and determined by an arbitrator to be agreed upon between the parties in difference, or failing such agreement, to be appointed on the application of either party (after notice in writing to the other of them) by the President of the Institution of Civil Engineers.
  6. (5) For the purposes of this section the expression "highway authority" means the council of a county, borough or urban district.—[Mr. Skeffington.]

Brought up, and read the First time.

Mr. Skeffington

I beg to move, That the Clause be read a Second time.

I apologise that I appear to be taking such an undue portion of the time of the House, but it is rather by fortune that the three new Clauses have all happened to come close together. This is a rather long Clause to achieve the purpose which I have in mind, but the objective is very simple. It is supported by the London County Council and by a number of other county councils and local authorities.

5.45 p.m.

Briefly, street improvement authorities in compiling a programme of works in conjunction with the Ministry of Transport often earmark land for road development as far as ten years ahead, and there are some cases in the County of London in which decisions have been taken over an even longer period. Where a completely new street, for example, a motorway, is involved, the protective provisions of the Public Utilities Street Works Act, 1950, would not apply. That Act applies only to streets which are in existence, to existing highways. None of the protective schedules would apply to pipelines if they were laid in land of this character. It would be possible to grant an authorisation by the Minister or by local planning authorities for local pipelines in land which had been ear-marked fox this road improvement ten or twenty years ahead, but none of the safety provisions and of the requirements in connection with the opening of streets and of making them good would apply to a pipeline on improvement land. When the streets authority, perhaps in five or ten years' time, came to carry out the work of constructing the street, it might be confronted with the difficulty of securing either the removal of the pipeline or the re-routing of the pipeline, the cost of which, as the law now stands, would then fall to be borne to by the ratepayers of the authority undertaking the work. This seems to be extremely unfair and unnecessary.

The purpose of the Amendment is to secure that where a pipeline was built, with knowledge, on land which was earmarked for future street improvement purposes, any cost of removal or diversion, should it become necessary, would legally be borne by the pipeline owners. This seems to me to be a matter of equity between the developer and the ratepayer. It is a point which is not covered anywhere in the Bill, and in order that justice Should be done to the ordinary ratepayer, I hope that the Government will not find any objections to accepting this new Clause.

Mr. Peyton

I am sorry to have to disappoint the hon. Member for Hayes and Harlington (Mr. Skeffington), but where I disagree with him is when he says that the objectives which he has in mind are not covered by the Bill and existing legislation. As he is aware, before a pipeline is built or diverted the pipeline owner must make an application under the First Schedule of the Bill. One of the things which he must state in that application is whether any street works consents will be necessary and, if they are necessary, whether they can be or have been obtained. The only way in which he will be able to give such information is, first, to inquire from the authorities concerned whether they would be willing to give their consent. I think that on those grounds, at any rate, the first subsection of the new Clause is unnecessary.

If the proposals of the owner of the pipeline conflict with the proposals of the highways authority for future improvements, the action which is open to them will depend on whether a cross-country or local pipeline is involved. The highways authority will be able to object to the issue of a construction or diversion authorisation in the case of a cross-country pipeline, and the Minister will have discretion to require modification of the route so as to avoid encroachment upon the site of the future road or road improvement.

The Minister can also attach to the deemed planning consent under Clause 5 conditions requiring the length of the pipeline involved to be so placed that future road works will not be obstructed. If the pipeline is local, planning consent will be required, and the highway authority will be able, through the ordinary operation of the planning machinery to object to the proposed line. I think that we can say that the highway authority will have the same opportunities, as soon as the Bill becomes an Act, to protect the sites of future roads as they have at present in relation to any other kind of development. I certainly could not advise the House to accept the second part of the Clause either.

The hon. Gentleman is clearly in doubt on the question of the street works code. As I said in an earlier debate, once a pipeline is placed in a road it becomes a piece of undertaker's apparatus within the meaning of the 1950 Act and is then governed by the code. The code in Part II of the Act deals with what is to happen if an undertaker's apparatus in a street is affected by a "street alteration" as defined by Section 21 of the Act. The authority is empowered to require the undertakers to carry out such works on their apparatus as are necessary to protect or divert the apparatus, maintain supply, and allow the road or bridge works to be conveniently carried out.

The 1950 Act makes the street authority liable to repay to the undertakers the cost of these works, but in this case, as the hon. Gentleman is probably aware, Clause 17 (1) has modified this provision so that the owner of the pipeline will not be able to recover such costs. I suggest to the House that the provisions of this general code are substantially the same as those which are presumably intended by subsection (3) of the new Clause.

The last part of the new Clause provides for the reference of disputes to arbitration. Section 22 of the 1950 Act, to which the whole of these operations are subject, already provides for arbitration in very similar terms to those covered by the new Clause.

In conclusion, I am quite satisfied that the hon. Gentleman's motives in tabling the Clause are completely right, but we are satisfied that all the objectives which he has in mind are covered either by the Bill or by existing legislation, so I hope that the hon. Gentleman will withdraw the Clause.

Mr. Willis

We have covered much the same argument as we covered on a previous new Clause. It is true that what my hon. Friend the Member for Hayes and Harlington (Mr. Skeffington) wishes is already covered either in the Bill or in other legislation, but I apply to this the same test as I have applied to other Amendments. Does it assist the highway authority to do its job more efficiently? I should have thought that the answer is, "Yes". Many of the difficulties which would flow from original pipeline works being placed where it is proposed to have street widening would be avoided if the highway authority received copies of the plans. That is what subsection (1) of the Clause would provide.

We discussed this subject in Committee. If the statutory authorities and local authorities concerned had copies of the proposed plans, alterations or deviations, and were informed of works which were going on, much trouble and inconvenience could be avoided. This is very desirable. For this reason, I should if necessary support the Clause, in spite of the fact that the exigencies which my hon. Friend visualises are covered by other legislation.

I am all for cutting down work, not for creating it. But we will create work if we go on in this haphazard way. The Parliamentary Secretary merely says that it is not necessary to do this because it is already covered. If my hon. Friend's suggestion were adopted, it would save work. If it would save work, why should not these huge private companies, as they are in most cases, be compelled to lodge plans with the necessary authorities? The cost would be negligible. The amount of work would be trivial. It would save a great deal of bother. Why not do it? We would even be able to achieve what seems to be the great aim of the Parliamentary Secretary, namely a speedy pushing along of pipelines. We could cover the country with pipelines. It is a dreadful nightmare to think of the country being covered with pipelines, but that could be done if necessary. For these reasons, I would support the Clause if my hon. Friends decided to vote on it.

Mr. Skeffington

I want to make sure that I have understood this correctly. It is difficult fully to comprehend all the points. If a local pipeline, which does not require the Minister's authorisation and does not receive the protection of the First Schedule, were constructed in a road earmarked for a motorway at some time in the future, is there some way by which the Public Utilities Street Works Act can still apply? If this were so, the greatest of my fears would be assuaged. I am not certain if that is what the Parliamentary Secretary said. If he did say it, I do not understand how it could happen.

Mr. Peyton

As the hon. Gentleman says, this is a rather complicated matter. My understanding of the position is that the Bill will not prejudice in any way the rights which highway authorities enjoy with regard to future works which are also subject to interference in other ways. For instance, if a gas, water or electricity undertaker wants to carry out some works along the line of a future road, the highway authority has certain rights under the law now. It will have exactly the same rights with regard to pipeline development.

Mr. Skeffington

It is very difficult for me to arrive at a correct decision on the Clause, because we have not had an opportunity to discuss this aspect before. However, the legal advisers of the London County Council are under the impression that, if a pipeline constructor obtained permission to lay his pipe in land earmarked in the way I have suggested, but not yet a street, the 1950 Act could not apply. In these circumstances, when they came to make up the road, they would be encumbered with the costs of paying for the removal or diversion of the pipeline.

As there is clearly a conflict of advice, I find myself somewhat embarrassed about what course to follow. In these circumstances, I should not be doing justice to those who have asked me to move the Clause if I withdrew it. On the other hand, if our fears are unnecessary we do not want to inflict an additional Division on the House. However, if we cannot get any advantage I think we shall have to try to protect ourselves by voting.

Mr. T. Fraser

I think that the conclusion of my hon. Friend the Member for Hayes and Harlington (Mr. Skeffington) is correct. After all, local authorities themselves, as well as other statutory undertakers, are required by Statute to inform all persons who might conceivably be affected by works proposed to be carried out by local authorities and by statutory undertakers. In the circumstances, the least that Parliament can do for local authorities is to provide that these great oil companies when they propose to put down a pipeline should inform the highway authority of what they propose to do.

6.0 p.m.

We have at present a great need to reconstruct many of our highways, and we do not know how much reconstruction will be required in the next few years. Under the First Schedule, the local planning authority will be informed where the promoters propose to lay the pipelines, and if those pipelines are to cross an existing highway the promoters will no doubt call the highway authority's attention to that proposal. If it is not proposed to have the pipeline crossing the highway, I do not think that in most cases it is likely that the highway authority will be consulted, particularly in the case of cross-country pipelines, because there the planning authority is not asked for planning consent. That decision is taken by the Minister, and the planning authority is informed only in order to ascertain whether it wants to object to the proposal.

I do not think it likely in those circumstances that the planning authority will be careful to inform all the other local authorities, including the highway authority, of the extent of the proposals of the pipeline promoter, and it is hardly likely that the planning authority will itself make several copies of the maps and plans and send them to the individual authorities. If anyone should have the responsibility for making copies and sending them to those concerned, it is surely the person who is proposing to construct a pipeline. That is the first proposal in the new Clause, and from it the other provisions flow. I think that it is right that Parliament should incorporate this provision in this Measure. If the Minister continues to refuse to do so on the ground offered, those of us who care for the rights of local authorities, and want to protect them, should go into the Division Lobby.

Question put, That the Clause be read a Second time: —

The House divided: Ayes 169, Noes 216.

Division No. 253.] AYES [6.2 p.m.
Abse, Leo Harper, Joseph Pavitt, Laurence
Ainsley, William Hart, Mrs. Judith Pearson, Arthur (Pontypridd)
Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.) Hayman, F. H. Peart, Frederick
Awbery, Stan Healey, Denis Pentland, Norman
Baird, John Herbison, Miss Margaret Plummer, Sir Leslie
Beaney, Alan Hill, J. (Midlothian) Popplewell, Ernest
Bellinger, Rt. Hon. F. J. Hilton, A. V. Prentice, R. E
Blackburn, F. Howell, Denis (Small Heath) Price, J. T. (Westhoughton)
Blyton, William Hoy, James H. Proctor, W. T.
Boardman, H. Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayrshire) Rankin, John
Bottomley, Rt. Hon. A. G. Hunter, A. E. Reid, William
Bowden, Rt. Hn. H.W. (Leics. S.W.) Hynd, H. (Accrington) Reynolds, G. W.
Bowles, Frank Hynd, John (Attercliffe) Roberts, Albert (Normanton)
Boyden, James Irvine, A. J. (Edge Hill) Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvon)
Braddock, Mrs. E. M. Irving, Sydney (Dartford) Robertson, John (Paisley)
Bradley, Tom Janner, Sir Barnett Robinson, Kenneth (St. Pancras, N.)
Brockway, A. Fenner Jay, Hon. Douglas Rodgers, W. T. (Stockton)
Brown, Bt. Hon. George (Belper) Jeger, George Rogers, G. H. R. (Kensington, N.)
Brown, Thomas (Ince) Jenkins, Roy (Stetchford) Ross, William
Butler, Herbert (Hackney, C.) Johnson, Carol (Lewisham, S.) Royle, Charles (Salford, West)
Callaghan, James Jones, Rt. Hn. Creech(Wakefield) Shinwell, Rt. Hon. E.
Castle, Mrs. Barbara Jones, Dan (Burnley) Silverman, Julius (Aston)
Chapman, Donald Jones, Jack (Rotherham) Skeffington, Arthur
Craddock, George (Bradford, S.) Kelley, Richard Slater, Mrs. Harriet (Stoke, N.)
Cronin, John Kenyon, Clifford Slater, Joseph (Sedgefield)
Crosland, Anthony Key, Rt. Hon. C. W. Small, William
Crossman, R. H. S. Lawson, George Smith, Ellis (Stoke, S.)
Cullen, Mrs. Alice Lee, Frederick (Newton) Sorensen, R. w.
Dalyell, Tam Lever, L. M. (Ardwick) Spriggs, Leslie
Davies, G. Elfed (Rhondda, E.) Lewis, Arthur (West Ham, N.) Steele, Thomas
Davies, Harold (Leek) Lubbock, Eric Stones, William
Dempsey, James MacDermot, Niall Strauss, Rt. Hn. G. R. (Vauxhall)
Diamond, John
Dodds, Norman McInnes, James Stross, Dr. Barnett (Stoke-on-Trent, C.)
Mckay, John (Wallsend) Swain, Thomas
Driberg, Tom McLeavey, Frank Taverne, D.
Dugdale, Rt. Hon. John Macpherson, Malcolm (Stirling) Taylor, Bernard (Mansfield)
Edwards, Rt. Hon. Ness (Caerphilly Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg) Thomas, George (Cardiff, W.)
Edwards, Robert (Bilston) Manuel Archie Thomas, Iorwerth (Rhondda, W.)
Edwards, Walter (Stepney) Mapp, Charles Thornton, Ernest
Evans, Albert Marsh, Richard Tomney, Frank
Fernyhough, E. Mason, Roy Wade, Donald
Fitch, Alan Mayhew, Christopher Wainwright, Edwin
Fletcher, Eric Warbey, William
Foot, Michael (Ebbw Vale) Mellish, R. J. Wells, Percy (Faversham)
Forman, J. C. Mendelson, J. J. White, Mrs. Eirene
Fraser, Thomas (Hamilton) Millan, Bruce Whitlock, William
Gaitskell, Rt. Hon. Hugh Milne, Edward Wilkins, W. A.
Ginsburg, David Monslow, Walter Williams, LI. (Abertillery)
Gordon Walker, Rt. Hon. P. C. Moody, A. S. Williams, W. R. (Openshaw)
Gourlay, Harry Morris, John Willis, E. G. (Edinburgh, C.)
Grey, Charles Moyle, Arthur Woodburn, Rt. Hon. A.
Griffiths, David (Rother Valley) Noel-Baker, Francis (Swindon) Woof, Robert
Griffiths, Rt. Hon. James (Lianelly) Noel-Baker, Rt. Hn. Philip (Derby, S.) Yates, Victor (Lady wood)
Griffiths, W, (Exchange) Oswald, Thomas Zilliacus, K.
Gunter, Ray Owen, Will
Hale, Leslie (Oldham, W.) Panned, Charles (Leeds, W.) TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Hall, Rt. Hn. Glenvil (Colne Valley) Parker, John Dr. Broughton and Mr. Redhead.
Hannan, William Paton, John
Atkins, Humphrey Black, Sir Cyril Cooper, A. E.
Balniel, Lord Boyle, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward Cooper-Key, Sir Neill
Barlow, Sir John Brown, Alan (Tottenham) Cordeaux, Lt.-Col. J. K.
Barter, John Browne, Percy (Torrington) Cordle, John
Batsford, Brian Bullard Denys Corfield, F. V.
Baxter, Sir Beverley (Southgate) Butcher, Sir Herbert Costain A. P.
Bell, Ronald Butler, Rt. Hn. R. A. (Saffron Walden) Coulson, Michael
Bennett, F. M. (Torquay) Campbell, Sir David (Belfast, S.) Craddock, Sir Beresford
Bennett, Dr. Reginald (Gos & Fhm) Campbell, Gordon (Moray & Nairn) Crawley, Aidan
Berkeley, Humphry Carr, Compton (Barons Court) Critchley, Julian
Bevins, Rt. Hon. Reginald Cary, Sir Robert Curran, Charles
Biffen, John Chataway, Christopher Dalkeith, Earl of
Biggs-Davison, John Clark, William (Nottingham, S.) Dance, James
Birch, Rt. Hon. Nigel Cole, Norman d'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Sir Henry
Bishop, F. P. Collard, Richard Digby, Simon Wingfield
Donaldson, Cmdr, C E. M. Kerr, Sir Hamilton Proudfoot, Wilfred
Doughty, Charles Kershaw, Anthony Pym, Francis
Drayson, G. B. Kirk, Peter Quennell, Miss J. M.
du Cann, Edward Lagden, Godfrey Ramsden, James
Duncan, Sir James Langford-Holt, Sir John Redmayne, Rt. Hon. Martin
Elliot, Capt. Walter (Carshalton) Leburn, Gilmour Rees, Hugh
Emery, Peter Legge-Bourke, Sir Harry Ridley, Hon. Nicholas
Emmet, Hon. Mrs. Evelyn Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland) Roberts, Sir Peter (Heeley)
Errington, sir Eric Lindsay, Sir Martin Robinson, Rt. Hn. Sir R. (B'pool, S.)
Farey-Jones, F. W. Linstead, Sir Hugh Robson Brown, Sir William
Fell, Anthony Lloyd, Rt. Hn. Geoffrey (Sut'nC'dfield) Roots, William
Flether-Cooke, Charles Longden, Gilbert Russell, Ronald
Forrest, George Loveys, Walter H. Scott-Hopkins, James
Fraser, Ian (Plymouth, Sutton) Lucas, Sir Jocelyn Sharples, Richard
Freeth, Denzil Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh Shaw, M.
Galbraith, Hon. T. G. D. McAdden, Sir Stephen Shepherd, William
Gammans, Lady
Gardner, Edward Maclay, Rt. Hon. John Skeet, T. H. H.
Gilmour Sir John Maclean, SirFitzroy (Bute&N.Ayrs.) Smith, Dudley (Br'ntf'd A Chiswick)
Glover Sir Douglas McMaster, Stanley R. Smithers, Peter
Glyn, Sir Richard (Dorset, N.) Macmillan, Rt. Hn. Harold (Bromley) Speir, Rupert
Goodhart, Philip Macmillan, Maurice (Halifax) Stanley, Hon. Richard
Gower Raymond Macpherson, Rt. Hn. Niall (Dumfries) Steward, Harold (Stockport, S.)
Green, Alan Maginnis, John E. Stodart, J. A.
Gresham Cooke, R. Markham, Major Sir Frank Storey, Sir Samuel
Grosvenor, Lt.-Col. R. G. Marlowe, Anthony Summers, Sir Spencer
Gurden, Harold Marples, Rt. Hon. Ernest Talbot, John E.
Harris, Frederic (Croydon, N.W.) Marshall, Douglas Tapsell, Peter
Harvey, Sir Arthur Vere (Macclesf'd) Mathew, Robert (Honiton) Tayor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne)
Harvie Anderson, Miss Mawby, Ray Taylor, Frank (M'ch'st'r, Moss Side)
Hay, John Maxwell-Hyslop, R. J. Teeling, Sir William
Heald, Rt. Hon. Sir Lionel Maydon, Lt.-Cmdr. S. L. C. Temple, John M.
Henderson, John (Cathcart) Moore, Sir Thomas (Ayr) Thatcher, Mrs. Margaret
Hendry, Forbes More, Jasper (Ludlow) Thompson, Kenneth (Walton)
Hicks Beach, Maj. W. Morgan, William Thompson, Richard (Croydon, S.)
Hill, Dr. Rt. Hon. Charles (Luton) Nabarro, Gerald Thornton-Kemsley, Sir Colin
Hill, J. E. B. (S. Norfolk) Neave, Airey Tiley, Arthur (Bradford, W.)
Hirst, Geoffrey Nicholls, Sir Harmar Touche, Rt. Hon. Sir Gordon
Hocking, Philip N. Nicholson, Sir Godfrey Turton, Rt. Hon. R. H.
Holland, Philip Nugent, Rt. Hon. Sir Richard Tweedsmuir, Lady
Hope, Rt. Hon. Lord John Orr-Ewing, C. Ian van Straubenzee, W. R.
Hopkins, Alan Osborne, Sir Cyril (Louth) Vickers, Miss Joan
Hornby, R. P. Page, Graham (Crosby) Walker, Peter
Hornsby-Smith, Rt.. Hon. Dame P. Page, John (Harrow, West) Walker-Smith, Rt. hon. Sir Derek
Howard, Hon. G. R. (St. Ives) Pannell, Norman (Kirkdale) wall, Patriot
Ward, Dame Irene
Hughes Hallett, Vice-Admiral John Pearson, Frank (Clitheroe) Webster David
Hulbert, Sir Norman Peel, John Whitelaw, William
Hutchison, Michael Clark Peyton, John Williams Dudley (Exeter)
Iremonger, T. L. Pickthorn, Sir Kenneth Williams, Paul (Sunderland, S.)
Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye) Pike, Miss Mervyn Wills, Sir Gerald (Bridgwater)
James, David Pilkington, Sir Richard Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)
Jenkins, Robert (Dulwich) Pitman, Sir James Wise, A. R.
Jennings, J. C. Pitt, Miss Edith Wolrige-Gordon, Patrick
Johnson, Dr. Donald (Carlisle) Pott, Percivall Wood, Rt. Hon. Richard
Johnson, Eric (Blackley) Powell, Rt. Hon. J. Enoch Woodhouse, C. M.
Kaberry, Sir Donald Price, David (Eastleigh) Woollam, John
Kerans, Cdr. J. S. Prior, J. M. L.
Kerby, Capt. Henry Profumo, Rt. Hon. John TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Mr. M. Hamilton and Mr. McLaren


  1. (1) In the interests of safety the Minister may after consultation with the Central Fire Brigades Advisory Council make regulations for the purpose of regulating, controlling or restricting development near pipe-lines.
  2. (2) An application to a local planning authority for planning permission to carry out building, engineering, mining or other operations of any class prescribed by regulations made for the purposes of this section, in, on, over or under land, or to carry out any of those operations in such manner as may be so prescribed, shall be of no effect:

Brought up, and read the First time.

Mr. Skeffington

I beg to move, That the Clause be read a Second time.

The narrow and fluctuating majorities which the Government are obtaining in rejecting my new Clauses rather encourage me to go on moving them, but, frankly, I shall be quite satisfied to have a rest after we have dealt with this new Clause, the last in this batch, which is strongly supported by the London County Council.

There are a number of provisions in Clauses 26–31 for the avoidance of possible damage to pipelines by buildings or other structures. In particular, the Minister is given certain powers to order demolition or remedial works to be effected to building works or structures subsequently erected within tan feet of a pipeline that is below the surface at that point.

Unfortunately, we were able to have very little discussion on many of these points, but I understand that the main purpose of this part of the Bill is to provide for free access to the pipeline, and to facilitate its maintenance, which can be very important, its inspection, to enable repairs to be made; and to lessen the risk of damage during building operations or directly resulting from them. So far, so good, but once a pipeline has been constructed in accordance with the provisions of the Bill, I can see nothing in the Bill—other than the 10 ft. limit contained in one Clause— to prevent the erection of a building in the near vicinity of the pipeline.

In the view of the London County Council, and others with whom it has had discussions, there should be some safety provision in the Bill to enable control to be exercised over building development proposed to be commenced in the near vicinity of pipelines in order that risks to persons and property can be avoided. I shall not specify, as I have already done so on earlier new Clauses, the type of things that will be involved fairly and strictly to control additional building development in the vicinity of pipelines that takes place after the building which would be subject to the Clauses in the Bill.

I understand that some discussions on this have taken place between the county council and the chief inspector of the Fire Services at the Home Office. The answer received from the Home Office was to the effect that it might be possible to establish some model code which would contain suitable safety standards, and in that case the council's problem would be taken care of. But this information does not seem to accord at all with the intentions that the Minister has often expressed this afternoon, and which have been, on the whole, hostile at this stage to any modal code of safety. Therefore, even if the Home Office reply were correct, in view of the attitude of the Government, the council's worry still remains.

6.15 p.m.

A further point in connection with the council's inquiry at the Home Office was that a model code presumably would apply only to the initial construction of the pipeline and would not affect possible building operations taking place afterwards, which it would be very difficult to envisage at the time of the pipeline being constructed, and if such building took place after the pipeline had been completed it would be very doubtful whether even a model code—if the Government were in favour of it, which, I gather, is not the case—would meet the kind of difficulty which the council has posed.

It might be argued that the planning authority in allowing subsequent building near a pipeline could impose certain conditions, but the view has been expressed, which seems to me to be quite proper and likely to be accurate, that it is highly doubtful whether local planning authorities have the power to consider the question of how close a building may be to a pipeline or similar safety hazards when dealing with an application. Their duties are, if not clearly laid down, clear enough to indicate that the general ambit of their responsibilities is to deal with what is termed the canons of good planning, to deal with amenity questions, access to roads and so on. It is thought, and I would imagine that there is some substance in this point, that if a planning authority attempted to do what the new Clause attempts to do, that is to put some prohibition as to the distance between new buildings and a pipeline, it might well be considered to have gone beyond its powers, if it were challenged in the courts.

Therefore, the purpose of the new Clause is to enable the Minister, in the interests of safety, to make regulations for controlling development in the vicinity of pipelines and to provide for prior consultation to take place between the Minister and the Central Fire Brigades' Advisory Council. This is the body which was set up by the Secretary of State under Section 29 of the Fire Services Act, 1947, and frequent contacts of this kind are made with local authorities when hazards of this kind are being considered. This seems to us to cover a gap in the Bill for which no provision is made.

Mr. Wood

In case my appearance at the Dispatch Box should encourage the hon. Member for Hayes and Harlington (Mr. Skefinngton) to hope that his hour has at last come, I must make it clear that I am afraid I shall probably be unable to give him any more satisfaction than my hon. Friend has been giving him for the last hour or two. I hope that, when I give the horn. Member my reasons for being unable to satisfy him, he will find them unusually convincing.

The position is that development near to pipelines is already restricted, as the hon. Member for Hayes and Harlington pointed out, by Clause 26 and other Clauses which enable the Minister to stop the building of anything within ten feet of a pipeline. The purpose of this is indirectly connected with safety—indirectly but not directly—tiin order to allow unrestricted access along the route of any pipeline for the purposes of inspection, maintenance or renewal.

The Government are, naturally, anxious that the least amount of land possible should be sterilised by the execution of pipeline works and the figure of 10 feet which is written in the Bill is the minimum which is considered to be reasonable for the purposes I have mentioned. If a pipeline were considered so dangerous as to require a much broader restriction of development, as would be possible under the proposed new Clause, it would seem to be a case for not laying the pipeline at all because the new Clause goes a long way and gives the Minister considerable power, after consulting the Central Fire Brigades Advisory Council, to prohibit any development near a pipeline, considerably further away from the pipeline than 10 feet.

This seems a considerable, unreasonable and unnecessary power. I have not been averse to asking hon. Members, and from time to time hon. Members have been willing to give to the Minister, considerable powers, particularly in relation to safety. But at present the Minister has power to impose safety requirements in respect of any pipeline, not only about how it is laid but about the material it is made of and the depth to which it is to be underground. If a pipeline were considered to be exceptionally dangerous, the Minister would surely insist on the taking of appropriate safety precautions. I think that it would be quite unreasonable to take power to restrict development on the surface near a pipeline when, in fact, the main objective which the hon. Member for Hayes and Harlington has in mind—that is, of safety—can be achieved by the existing powers in the Bill.

It surprises me to find that hon. Member supporting a proposal which would seek to give the Minister powers of veto in regard to planning applications for development projects which are submitted to a local planning authority. This would be an unjustified interference with the proper function of local planning authorities.

Regarding restrictions on building near to pipelines, the necessary provision has already been included in Clause 26. I am convinced that no additional powers are needed, and I am convinced, too, that it would be inappropriate for the Minister to be able to invalidate a planning application before it has even been put to the local planning authority. For the reasons I have given, that the Minister already has the power to ensure that a pipeline would be safe, and that if a much wider sterilisation of land would be involved the pipeline should not be laid, I must advise the House not to accept the new Clause.

Sir Leslie Plummer (Deptford)

In taking the attitude he has, the Minister has gone part of the way to meeting the point raised by my hon. Friend the Member for Hayes and Harlington (Mr. Skeffington), because the right hon. Gentleman has recognised that there may be some danger attendant on the laying of pipelines. I do not think that the Minister fully appreciates the necessity of going all the way with my hon. Friend.

Some years ago I was a Member of the Select Committee on Estimates which spent many weeks investigating Britain's fire services. Our task included visiting a fire college in Surrey and getting advice from the heads of the fire brigades on what they considered to be absolutely essential if the fire brigades of this country were properly to be equipped and able to do their job. The chief of the college in Surrey made it absolutely clear to us—and I think that his evidence is contained in a Select Committee report—that no development of any kind, and I am putting this in its broadest sense, which involves the slightest chance of danger should be undertaken without consultation with the fire authorities.

We accept that in the City of London. One cannot put up a development in the City of London without having the approval of the fire authority. Now, however, the Minister is proposing that he shall decide whether there is any danger in having a development near a pipeline without there being any discussions with the people who best know— that is, the Central Fire Brigades Advisory Council which is in existence for this purpose.

The Minister talks about the sterlisation of land in relation to the advice he might receive. My hon. Friends and I wholly reject that argument. There is no real question of sterilising land. We are concerned with the lives and property of our citizens, and we are discussing certain developments being permitted too near to a pipeline which might carry with them certain attendant dangers.

I regret that, owing to illness, my hon. Friend the Member for Gloucestershire, West (Mr. Loughlin) has not been able to move his proposed new Clause. My hon. Friend proposed to ask the Government to give powers to the fire brigades much wider than they already possess. Had my hon. Friend moved that new Clause we could have had a much wider discussion than we can on the Clause being considered. There were many other points I should have liked to have raised but which I cannot because I would be out of order. The most important part of the Clause under discussion is that which states: In the interests of safety the Minister may"— remember "may" and not "shall"— after consultation with the Central Fire Brigades Advisory Council make regulations for the purpose of regulating, controlling or restricting development near pipe-lines. The Minister has seized on the word "restricting" and says that it is odd that the hon. Member for Hayes and Harlington should be asking for restrictions. Why does the Minister not pay more attention to the necessity for "regulating"—a word in addition to "restricting" which is used in the new Clause— because that is even more important than any question of restricting develop- ment? To do what the new Clause proposes will be an operational necessity if we arc not to have developments too near to pipelines in such a way as to endanger the safety of those developments.

I suppose, really, that the Minister is running true to form, for at 21 sittings in Committee upstairs he stone-walled, refused and blocked us on almost every occasion we made suggestions to give him authority and power to improve the Bill and to introduce safety regulations. I would have thought that the little minor troubles that have been going on among hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite would have made the right hon. Gentleman more amenable to the reasonable arguments adduced by my hon. Friends. I hope that on this occasion the right hon. Gentleman will think again and will regard the Central Fire Brigades Advisory Council not as a "prod-nose" organisation or a bunch of men who are trying to make things difficult but as a body organised for the purpose of safeguarding the citizen.

For those reasons, I ask the right hon. Gentleman to reconsider his decision.

6.30 p.m.

Mr. William Ross (Kilmarnock)

I rise to speak because of a reference by my hon. Friend the Member for Deptford (Sir L. Plummer) to the Estimates Sub-Committee of which I happen to be Chairman. I remember very well the emphasis that was placed by the fire brigade authorities at that time on the position that they had been put into in relation to the development of new processes and new substances.

I do not think anyone will doubt that we are here dealing with a completely new system of transport. It is not a matter to which one could possibly apply the solution which was required at that time. What was wanted at that time—and it was a recommendation of the Estimates Sub-Committee—was that the local fire prevention officer should be brought into every case of planned development. Obviously that could not apply to the case which we are considering. We could not have the fire prevention officers along the entire route of a pipeline making an independent judgment on its position, on the buildings which should be placed near it, and so on. But it is reasonable to suggest that the Minister should have the advice of the Central Fire Brigades Advisory Council.

For his own protection the right hon. Gentleman would be well advised to accept some such Clause as is here proposed. We are not asking the right hon. Gentleman to do the actual regulation. We are asking him to act upon the advice of someone who has a special concern in this matter and who has been appointed by the Government. Whatever follows therefrom can be well and truly justified. There is no question of unwarranted interference with planning. It is only right that this precautionary measure should be taken and that this advice should be available for the Minister.

Mr. Skeffington

As I see it, the position is this. After a pipeline has been constructed the Minister and the community may be faced with other development and buildings near the pipeline. In those circumstances, it is highly doubtful whether the local planning authority, even if it sees the possibilities of danger, will have in mind the sort of considerations which we say the Minister ought to have after consultation with the Central Fire Brigades Advisory Committee.

If this Clause or something like it, is not incorporated, it seems to me that hazards connected with development will be left entirely out of the picture. All that the Clause suggests is that the Minister may—he does not have to— consult in certain cases the Central Fire Brigades Advisory Council and that he should then make regulations in relation to any new development. This Clause has become all the more necessary in view of the fact that when the London County Council approached the Home Office the Chief Inspector of Fire Brigades thought that people's fears could be set at rest by a model code. Apparently, we are not now to have a model code. In any case, it would be very difficult for a model code to deal with subsequent development.

For all these reasons, and because this kind of problem is not dealt with anywhere in the Bill, I hope that the Government will accept the Clause even if they have to modify it. Otherewise I feed that we ought to press it to a Division.

Question put, That the Clause be read a Second time:—

The House divided: Ayes 165, Noes 214.

Division No. 254.] AYES [6.35 p.m.
Abse, Leo Driberg, Tom Irvine, A. J. (Edge Hill)
Ainsley, William Dugdale, Rt. Hon. John Irving, Sydney (Dartford)
Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.) Edwards, Rt. Hon. Nan (Caerphilly) Janner, Sir Barnett
Awbery, Stan Edwards, Robert (Bilston) Jay, Rt. Hon. Douglas
Bacon, Miss Alice Edwards, Walter (Stepney) Jeger, George
Baird, John Evans, Albert Jenkins, Roy (Stechford)
Bellenger, Rt. Hon. F. J. Fernyhough, E. Johnson, Carol (Lewisham, S.)
Bence, Cyril Fitch, Alan Jones, Rt. Hn. A. Creech (Wakefield)
Blackburn, F. Fletcher, Eric Jones, Dan (Burnley)
Blyton, William Forman, J. C. Jones, Jack (Rotherham)
Bottomley, Rt. Hon. A. G. Fraser, Thomas (Hamilton) Jones, T. W. (Merioneth)
Bowden, Rt. Hn. H.W. (Leics. S.W.) Ginsburg, David Kelley, Richard
Bowles, Frank Gordon Walker, Rt. Hon. P. C. Key, Rt. Hon. C. W
Boyden, James Gourlay, Harry Lawson, George
Braddock, Mrs. E. M. Grey, Charles Lee, Frederick (Newton)
Bradley, Tom Griffiths, David (Rother Valley) Lever, L. M. (Ardwick)
Bray, Dr. Jeremy Griffiths, Rt. Hon. James (Llanelly) Lewis, Arthur (We8t Ham, N.)
Brockway, A. Fenner Grifflths, W. (Exchange) Lubbock Eric
Brown, Rt. Hon. George (Belper) Grimond, Rt. Hon. J. MacDermot Niall
Brown, Thomas (Ince) Gunter, Ray
Butler, Herbert (Hackney, C.) Hale, Lesile, (Oldham, W.) McInnes, James
Callaghan, James Hall, Rt. Hn. Glenvil (Colne Valley) McKay John (Wallsend)
Castle, Mr. Barbara Hannan, William McLeavey, Frank
Chapman, Donald Harper, Joseph McPherson, Malcolm (Stirling)
Crosland, Anthony Hart, Mrs. Judith Manuel, Archie
Crossman, R H. S. Hayman, F. H. Mapp, Charles
Cullen, Mrs. Alice Herbison, Miss Margaret, Marsh, Richard
Dalyell, Tam Hilton, A. V. Mason Roy
Darling, George Houghton, Douglas Mayhew, Christopher
Davies, G. Elfed (Rhondda, E.) Howell, Dennis (Small Heath) Mendelson J. J.
Davies, Harold (Leek) Hoy, James H. Millan Bruce
Dempsey, James Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayrshire) Monslow, Walter
Moody, A. S.
Diamond, John Hunter, A. E. Morris, John
Dodds, Norman Hynd, H. (Accrington) Moyle, Arthur
Donnelly, Desmond Hynd, John (Attercliffe) Noel-Baker, Francis (Swindon)
Oswald, Thomas Soss, William Thomas, George (Cardiff, W,)
Owen, Will Shinwell, Rt. Hon. E. Thomas, Iorwerth (Rhondda, W.)
Pannell, Charles (Leeds. W.) Short, Edward Thornton, Ernest
Parker, John Silverman, Julius (Aston) Tomney, Frank
Parkin, B. T. Silverman, Sydney (Nelson) Wade, Donald
Paton, John Skeffington, Arthur Wainwright, Edwin
Pavitt, Laurence Slater, Mrs. Harriet (Stoke, N.) Warbey, William
Pearson, Arthur (Pontypridd) Slater, Joseph (Sedgefield) Wells, Percy (Faversham)
Pentland, Norman Small, William White, Mrs. Eirene
Plummer, Sir Leslie Smith, Ellis (Stoke, S.) Whitlock, William
Popplewell, Ernest Snow, Julian Wilkins, W. A.
Prentice, R. E. Sorensen, R. W. Williams, Ll. (Abertillery)
Proctor, W. T. Spriggs, Leslie Williams, W. R. (Openshaw)
Reid, William Steele, Thomas Willis, E. C. (Edinburgh, E.)
Reynolds, G. W. Stonehouse, John Woodburn, Rt. Hon. A.
Roberts, Albert (Normanton) Stones, William Woof, Robert
Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvon) Strauss, Rt. Hn. G. R. (Vauxhall) Yates, Victor (Ladywood)
Robertson, John (Paisley) Swain, Thomas Zilliacus, K.
Robinson, Kenneth (St. Pancras, N.) Swingler, Stephen
Rodgers, W. T. (Stockton) Taverne, D. TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Rogers, G. H. R. (Kensington, N.) Taylor, Bernard (Mansfield) Mr. Redhead and Dr. Broughton.
Aitken, W. T. Forrest, George Macly, Rt. Hon. John
Allan, Robert (Paddington, S.) Fraser, Ian (Plymouth, Sutton) Maclean, Sir Fitzroy (Bute&N. Ayre.)
Allason, James Freeth, Denzil McMaster, Stanley R.
Atkins, Humphrey Galbraith, Hon. T. G. D. Macmillan, Maurice (Halifax)
Balniel, Lord Gammans, Lady Macpherson, Rt. Hn. Niall (Dumfries)
Barber, Anthony Gardner, Edward Maginnis, John E.
Barter, John Gilmour, Sir John Maitland, Sir John
Batsford, Brian Glover, Sir Douglas Markham, Major Sir Frank
Baxter, Sir Beverley (Southgate) Glyn, Sir Richard (Dorse[...], N.) Marples, Rt. Hon. Ernest
Bell, Ronald Goodhart, Philip Marshall, Douglas
Bennett, F. M. (Torquay) Gower, Raymond Mathew, Robert (Honiton)
Berkeley, Humphry Green, Alan Mawby, Ray
Bevins, Rt. Hon. Reginald Gresham Cooke, R. Maxwell-Hyslop, R. J.
Biffen, John Gurden, Harold Maydon, Lt.-Cmdr. S. L. C.
Biggs-Davison, John Hamilton, Michael (Wellingborough) Moore, Sir Thomas (Ayr)
Birch, Rt. Hon. Nigel Harris, Frederic (Croydon, N.W.) More, Jasper (Ludlow)
Bishop, F. P. Harvey, John (Walthamstow, E.) Morgan, William
Black, Sir Cyril Hay, John Nabarro, Gerald
Boyle, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward Henderson, John (Cathcart) Neave, Airey
Brown, Alan (Tottenham) Hendry, Forbes Nicholls, Sir Harmar
Browne, Percy (Torrington) Hicks Beach, Maj. W. Nicholson, Sir Godfrey
Bullard, Denys Hill Dr. Rt. Hon. Charles (Luton) Osborne, Sir Cyril (Louth)
Butcher, Sir Herbert Hill Mrs. Eveline (Wythenshawe) page, Graham (Crosby)
Butler, Rt. Hn. R. A. (Saffron Walden) Hill, J. E. B. (S. Norfolk) page, John (Harrow, West)
Campbell, Sir David (Belfast, S.) Hirst, Geoffrey Pannell, Norman (Kirkdale)
Campbell, Gordon (Moray & Nairn) Hocking, Philip N. Partridge, E.
Carr, Compton (Barons Court) Holland, Philip Pearson, Frank (Clitheroe)
Chichester-Clark, R. Hollingworth, John peel, John
Clark, William (Nottingham, S.) Hope, Rt. Hon. Lord John Peyton, John
Clarke, Brig. Terence (Portsmth, W.) Hopkins, Alan Pickthorn, sir Kenneth
Cleaver, Leonard Hornsby-Smith, Rt. Hon. Dame P. Pike, Miss Mervyn
Cole, Norman Howard, Hon. G. R. (St. Ives) Pitkington, Sir Richard
Collard, Richard Hughes Hallett, Vice-Admiral John Pitman, Sir James
Cooper, A. E. Hughes-Young, Michael Pitt, Dame Edith
Cooper-Key, Sir Neill Hulbert, Sir Norman Pott, Percivall
Cordeaux, Lt.-Col. J. K. Hutchison, Michael Clark Price, David (Eastleigh)
Cordle, John Iremonger, T. L. Prior, J. M. L.
Corfield, F. V. Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye) Profumo, Rt. Hon. John
Costain, A. P. James, David Proudfoot, Wilfred
Coulson, Michael Jenkins, Robert (Dulwich) Pym, Francis
Courtney, Cdr. Anthony Jennings, J. C. Quennell, Miss J. M.
Craddock, Sir Beresford Johnson, Dr. Donald (Carlisle) Ramsden, James
Crawley, Aidan Johnson, Eric (Blackley) Redmayne, Rt. Hon. Martin
Critchley, Julian Kaberry, Sir Donald Rees, Hugh
Curran, Charles Kerans, Cdr. J. S. Ridley, Hon. Nicholas
Dalkeith, Earl of Kerby, Capt. Henry Roberts, Sir Peter (Heeley)
Dance, James Kerr Sir Hamilton Robson Brown, Sir Willliam
d-Avigdor-Goldsmid, Sir Henry Roots, William
Digby, Simon Wingfield Kershaw, Anthony Ropner, Col. Sir Leonard
Donaldson, Cmdr, C. E. M. Kirk, Peter Russell, Ronald
Drayson, G. B. Lagden, Godfrey Scott-Hopkins, James
du Cann, Edward Legge-Bourke, Sir Harry Seymour, Leslie
Duncan, Sir James Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland) Sharples, Richard
Elliot, Capt. Walter (Carshalton) Lindsay, Sir Martin Shaw, M.
Emery, Peter Linstead, Sir Hugh Skeet, T. H. H.
Emmet, Hon. Mrs. Evelyn Lloyd, Rt. Hn. Geoffrey(Sut'nC'dfield) Smith, Dudley (Br'ntf'd & Chiswick)
Errington, sir Eric Loveys, Walter H. Smithers, Peter
Erroll, Rt. Hon. F. J. Lucas, Sir Jocelyn Speir, Rupert
Fell, Anthony Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh Stanley, Hon. Richard
Fletcher-Cooke, Charles McAdden, Sir Stephen Steward, Harold (Stockport, S.)
Stodart, J. A. Thompson, Kenneth (Walton) Williams, Paul (Sunderland, S.)
Stoddart-Scott, col. Sir Malcolm Thompson, Richard (Croydon, S.) Wills, Sir Gerald (Bridgwater)
Storey, Sir Samuel Thornton-Kemsley, Sir Colin Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)
Studholme, Sir Henry Tiley, Arthur (Bradford, W.) Wise, A. R.
Summers, Sir Spencer Touche, Rt. Hon. Sir Gordon Wolrige-Gordon, Patrick
Talbot, John E. Turton, Rt. Hon. R. H. Wood, Rt. Hon. Richard
Tapsell, Peter van Straubenzee, W. R. Woodhouse, C. M.
Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne) Vickers, Miss Joan Woodnutt, Mark
Taylor, Frank (M'ch'st'r. Moss Side) Walker, Peter Woollam, John
Teeling, Sir William Walker-Smith, Rt. Hon. Sir Derek
Temple, John M. Wall, Patrick TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Thatcher, Mrs. Margaret Webster, David Mr. Finlay and Mr. McLaren.
Thomas, Leslie (Canterbury) Williams, Dudley (Exeter)


Where a person desires to construct a pipeline in land under which the National Coal Board is or is likely to be conducting coalmining operations he shall consult the Board in order to ascertain their plans for coal-getting in this area and if he proceeds with the construction of a pipeline in land in respect of which the National Coal Board has warned him that subsidence may take place the Board shall not be liable, notwithstanding the provisions of the Coal Mining (Subsidence) Act, 1957, for the execution of repairs or the payment of compensation in the event of damage being caused to the pipeline by such subsidence. —[Mr. Lee.]

Brought up, and read the First time.

Mr. Lee

I beg to move, That the Clause be read a Second time.

The effect of the Clause would be to remove from the National Coal Board the liability to pay compensation under the Coal Mining (Subsidence) Act, 1957, if the Board has given information to people intending to develop a pipeline that there is the possibility of mining subsidence in the area. As the 1957 Act stands, the Coal Board is, quite rightly, liable to pay compensation when damage occurs to property as a result of its operations. In this instance, if a company or a person desiring to develop a pipeline knows that the line will pass through a coalfield, the onus should be upon such company or person to approach the Coal Board to find out what is the planning of the Coal Board for workings under or in the vicinity of the pipeline it is proposed to lay.

6.45 p.m.

If, under this procedure, the geologists of the National Coal Board inform the people concerned that there is a danger of subsidence in the area—in other words, that the Coal Board intends to mine under the land upon which the pipeline may be constructed—and if the pipeline interests go ahead with their development, it would not be proper for them to be able to claim compensation out of public moneys, which is what it would amount to if the Coal Board had to pay, because they chose to incur a risk of which they were well aware.

Throughout the coalfields, it is quite common for local authorities to approach the National Coal Board if they have projects for housing or other kinds of development. They inquire about the Coal Board's intentions and base their development plans accordingly, taking into account the risks which are inevitable in certain parts of the country where mining takes place. Many of us in our constituencies in areas which suffer badly from mining subsidence know that our local authorities either do not proceed with housing developments in areas where subsidence may take place or take special precautions for the construction of rafts or other protective devices under the houses. This is a sensible arrangement. None of us wishes to return to the bad old days of private enterprise coal mining when no one could obtain compensation for damage caused to the surface. We have passed that stage. Now the National Coal Board does a good job, given the type of work it has to do, in assisting people financially wherever they suffer damage to property.

The Minister has a responsibility both in respect of the Coal Board and in respect of pipeline construction. I hope that he will agree that it would be utterly unfair if, the National Coal Board having given due warning of the likelihood of subsidence and the pipeline operator nevertheless having decided to take the risk, compensation could still be claimed against the Board. We all agree that within this legislation rights concerning the use of land, and so on, are given to private people which have never been given before. This is why we feel that a public authority and not a private undertaking should be responsible for this matter. However, the Minister has made that decision. But, surely he cannot disagree that it would be disgraceful if he forced a public authority such as the National Coal Board to pay public money to private people, having warned them of the dangers which might arise. This would be quite disgraceful.

I move the new Clause in the hope— having been on the Committee, I cannot say the belief—that the Minister will come some way towards meeting us on what is a very real point of public importance. If the Minister says that my reading of the Bill or of the 1957 Act is wrong and that the Coal Board will be protected from this kind of thing, that will help. If he cannot say that, I hope that he will agree with the general proposition which we make in the new Clause.

Mr. William Warbey (Ashfield)

In order to give the Parliamentary Secretary more time to reflect on the new Clause and to come to a favourable conclusion on it, I should like to say a word or two in support of it.

My hon. Friend the Member for Newton (Mr. Lee) has advanced the argument of fairness to the National Coal Board as a case for the acceptance of the new Clause. I should have thought that it would be intolerable if, due warning having been given to him, a private undertaker went ahead and ran certain risks in the knowledge that he could do so and the resulting burden fell on the National Coal Board rather than on him. The private undertaker might be a large oil company which was running a pipeline to a power station in competition with the Coal Board. This would amount to a double act of injustice.

There is another argument related to the compensation argument which is based on safety considerations. I hope that this argument at least will appeal to the Government. It arises from a discussion which we had in Committee when we were considering whether a pipeline undertaker would be compelled to seek rights of support when he was constructing a pipeline and whether he would be compelled to pay compensation if anything happened as a result of failure of support.

The acting Parliamentary Secretary, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Public Building and Works, whom I am glad to see on the Front Bench and still joining silently in our deliberations, said in Committee that a pipeline undertaker would not enjoy an automatic right of support. There was some legal argument about this and the hon. Member for Willesden, East (Mr. Skeet) seemed to have another view. However, that was the final advice which the hon. Gentleman gave the Committee on the basis of the legal advice which he had obtained.

Mr. Skeet

Has the hon. Gentleman seen my right hon. Friend's Amendment to Clause 12, in page 13, line 16, by which he makes it perfectly clear that a pipeline undertaker under one of these Orders will not have an automatic right of support?

Mr. Warbey

I do not think that that follows from the Minister's Amendment, which is to be taken to confer a right of support for the pipe-line or length of pipe-line placed, by virtue of the order, in the said land". That kind of safeguard for the Minister is not a safeguard for the operator. All that it does is to reinforce the fact, if there were any doubt about it, that the undertaker does not enjoy an automatic right of support in normal cases.

The Parliamentary Secretary went on to say that when a pipeline was laid across a coalfield in land not belonging to the Coal Board but under which the Board was working coal, the Board would be liable to pay compensation if damage occurred to the pipe as a result of mining subsidence. This creates an extraordinary situation because it means that it is quite possible for a pipeline undertaker to go ahead with the construction of a pipeline across a coalfield, even knowing that there may be some risks attached to it, in the knowledge that if subsidence occurs and the pipe is damaged he is covered, financially at least, by the provisions of the Coal-Mining (Subsidence) Act.

This removes a very important deterrent from the prospective operator. A prospective operator or a person having anything to do with pipelines is more likely to give consideration to safety provisions if some penalty is attached to the breach of them. If a pipeline operator knows that he will be compensated for a pipeline fractured through mining, that very important deterrent is removed, possibly with very serious consequences.

7.0 p.m.

We must recognise that the construction of a pipeline across a coalfield could result in very considerable potential danger to the community through which it passes. Probably it would be constructed through a fairly densely populated mining valley and a fracture in a pipe carrying highly volatile fluids— petroleum, and so on—could have very grave consequences. This is a serious safety risk. The onus must be placed fairly and squarely on the operator and the owner of the pipeline to make absolutely certain that he has taken every step necessary to ensure that there is no danger of the pipeline being fractured. If we remove from him the deterrent of the financial burden of compensation and put it on to the National Coal Board —as would automatically happen if the new Clause were not accepted—we would run considerable risks that a pipeline operator who was not as thoughtful as he might be about the ultimate consequences of the operation of the pipeline on the community through which it was to pass would be prepared to go ahead and run the risk of any consequences which might follow.

I hope that the Government will pay particular attention to this point, because it is a matter about which a good deal of concern will be felt in the coalfields of this country.

Mr. MacDermot

I hope that the Minister will accept the new Clause. It is clear from what has been said that there is a real risk from the safety point of view, and also the possibility of great injustice to the National Coal Board.

As the Minister knows, in the Coal-Mining (Subsidence) Act, 1957, there is a most unusual Section which gives an absolute right to compensation for damage from subsidence, irrespective of negligence. Recently, in another connection, I had occasion to refer to the debates in the House on that provision, and it is clear that at that time no one contemplated compensation being payable for anything of this kind. The kind of thing for which compensation was considered to be payable was where someone had suffered personal injury or damage to his house as a result of subsidence, and, as the experience of the courts had shown, it was sometimes difficult for such people to bring home with a sufficient degree of proof allegations of negligence against the Coal Board, and this most unusual provision was therefore made giving an absolute right to compensation.

Unless this new Clause is accepted the effect of the Bill will be that pipeline owners will be able to enjoy the advantage of the right to absolute compensation, so that in effect they will acquire a right of support as against the Board when they do not acquire a right of support as against the landowner. As the horn. Member for Wiliesden, East (Mr. Skeet) pointed out in an intervention a moment ago, the Minister has a later Amendment expressly to make it clear that where he makes a compulsory rights order—that is an order giving a wayleave in effect—for a pipeline owner to go over somebody else's land, it is to be provided that that will not give the right of support even where there is a compulsory nights order.

We shall have the situation that someone will be given a compulsory rights order over another person's land. It will be expressly provided that he is not to be given any right of support as against a landowner, and yet, indirectly, as a result of this provision he will get the equivalent of a right of support as against the National Coal Board without ever telling the Board that be is going to operate in an area where it might be working, without it being able to warn him of the particular dangers and without any special precautions being taken to protect the line against that form of risk.

It is right to point out that in this Section of the Coal-Mining (Subsidence) Act there is a provision that the damages can be reduced by contributory negligence by the person who suffers the damage. This means that a pipeline owner who had been warned by the Board that there was a real risk of subsidence and had gone on and incurred that risk without taking any special precaution for reinforcement of the line, might find his right to damages reduced by virtue of that provision in the Act. But in a case where he was not aware that any coalmining activities were going on underneath there would be no question of contributory negligence and he would thereby acquire the absolute right to support. Indeed, it would seem to be in his interest not to ask too many questions directed to this matter when he was deciding where he was to lay his line.

It seems that there is an extremely strong case for a Clause of this kind, and I hope that the Minister will not seek to reject this by arguments as to any difficulties about the wording of the new Clause because, as he will appreciate, if he is to deal with this, or indeed give himself the opportunity to think further about this, he must accept the new Clause in its present form and make any necessary Amendments in another place.

Mr. Peyton

I am sorry, but even the opportunity for reflection which the hon. Member for Ashfield (Mr. Warbey) promised me has not really achieved any result. The new Clause requires a pipeline operator to consult the Board before undertaking any work, and, secondly, provides that if he is warned that there are mining operations underneath, or are likely to be, the Board will not be liable for any damage that occurs to the pipeline.

As the hon. Member for Derby, North (Mr. MacDeirmot) pointed out, the new Clause would involve a variation in the 1957 Act. Under that Act, it is the Boards' liability, in the event of damage through subsidence, either to remedy that damage or to pay compensation equal to the cost of carrying out the repair works. I think that there is a quite genuine difficulty here. If simply by giving warning of possible danger the Board could escape liability it seems to me that the Board would almost be under a duty automatically to say that there was a danger whenever anybody proposed to put a pipeline in an area anywhere near a coalfield, or over mining operations. This would have the undesirable effect of putting a sort of blanket bam over far too large an area of land.

The hon. Member for Newton (Mr. Lee) argued that pipelines should not be laid in such an area at all. I do not believe that there is all that fundamental division of opinion between us, because it would obviously be proper that such matters as this—and I do not for a moment deny their importance—should receive full consideration before the authorisation was given. I do not accept what was said by the hon. Member for Derby, North that an operator would be free to come along without ever letting the Board know what he was doing, or the Board having a chance to warn him what he was up against. The Board is bound to be an interested party in any proposal to put a pipeline where there has been or is a mining operation.

I think that it is wrong to suggest, as the horn. Member for Derby, North did, that there would be a tendency on the part of pipeline operators to ask as few questions as possible, because I believe that anybody who is going to conduct an operation of this kind would want to be as sure as he could that there were the minimum of hazards ahead of him.

In the Government's view, the question of safety, which is particularly the responsibility of my right hon. Friend, is likely to be of very great importance, and before my right hon. Friend gives any authorisation, the whole aspect of safety would have to be carefully considered. No one would deny that a proposal to construct a pipeline over a coalfield might be attended by an extra element of hazard. This is something to which my right hon. Friend would be bound to give very careful consideration. But it is not possible in any commercial operation always to avoid every risk, and I do not think that the hon. Member for Newton (Mr. Lee) would maintain that it was. My right hon. Friend would never consider giving an authorisation to a proposal Where the risk was such as to outweigh the public benefit. I am sorry that I cannot advise the House to give the new Clause a Second Reading.

Mr. Joseph Harper (Pontefract)

The Parliamentary Secretary's reply was very much as expected. He does not seem to know the first thing about coal mining and subsidence. This is a commonsense and down-to-earth new Clause—that is not meant as a pun—and all it asks is that the undertaker should get in touch with the National Coal Board to see what mining operations are to take place, or are taking place, in the area concerned.

There is nothing new in this proposal. Local authorities in mining areas meet with this problem nearly every week. If such a local authority buys some land intending to build, say, 200 houses on it, the first thing it does is to approach the Coal Board to see What mining operations are to take place, or are taking place, in the area concerned. I do not agree that the Coal Board would use this Clause as a sort of blanket cover and would always say that there was danger, so precluding the possibility of having to pay some form of compensation at some time.

The local authority in this sort of position gets a report from the minerals land officer, who is very fair and who says that the Coal Board is mining a certain seam and that to do so will take so many months or so many years and that while the council can go ahead with its building, the buildings should be of a certain type with certain rafts and so on for safety reasons.

I am glad that the Minister of Power has returned, because he will understand what I am talking about.

Mr. Ross

I would not be too sure.

Mr. Harper

With his knowledge of the mining industry, he will know what the Clause is aimed at. A local authority building in a mining area may have to build its houses to certain specifications and that may cost a little more, but it gets the end product.

7.15 p.m.

The Clause says that the pipeline undertaker should tell tine Coal Board that it is proposed to build a pipeline in a certain direction across a certain portion of land, and to ask the Board how it will be affected, if at all, by mining operations. The Coal Board may say that it is mining in that area and that a certain amount of subsidence may result. I have always found the Coal Board fair in these matters, and I am sure that it might tell the undertaker in certain cases that, if he built his pipeline with certain specifications and with certain safeguards, he could go head; or that there would be a certain amount of subsidence because the Board was working a very thick seam near the surface and that after so many months there would be so much subsidence that a frac- ture in the pipeline would be bound to result.

In my view, the Clause does not go far enough, because if anybody wants safeguarding it is the Coal Board as well as the undertaker. Anybody can build a pipeline, but when it has been built it is the Coal Board which has to safeguard it in its mining operations. To safeguard anything costs extra money. It may be said that it is public money which is involved, but it is not there to be spent unwisely.

The Clause will strengthen the Bill which already contains many bad Clauses. It is said that pipelines are a comparatively new form of transport for this country, but the Minister of Transport has not been in charge of the Bill. We have had the Minister of Power and the junior Minister has been the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Pensions and National Insurance. [HON. MEMBERS: "NO."] In the Standing Committee.

Mr. Skeet

Ministry of Works.

Mr. Harper

In the Standing Committee. I had better repeat that. In the Standing Committee, although it was said that pipelines were a new form of transport, the Minister of Power was in charge of the Bill and his under-study was the then Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Pensions and National Insurance. That exchange epitomises the attitude of hon. Members opposite in obstructing the Bill. We have been used to this in Standing Committee.

Mr. Willis

I did not find the arguments of the Parliamentary Secretary very convincing. He seems to be on a sticky wicket today and is stonewalling against everything. He said, first, that the new Clause would mean a variation of the Coal-Mining (Subsidence) Act, 1957. What about it? The House of Commons spends a good deal of its time changing Acts of Parliament. There is no reason why we should not be ready to do so with the 1957 Act.

His second argument was that there was a danger that the Coal Board would use the Clause as a sort of blanket in order to protect itself against claims for compensation in respect of subsidence. Is that altogether true? The Clause says that the person desiring to construct a pipeline shall consult the Board in order to ascertain its plans for coal-getting in the area affected. If he then proceeds with the construction of a pipeline in spite of the Board's warning that subsidence might take place, the Board is not to be liable.

The pipeline constructor would employ someone who understood something about these civil engineering matters. He would see the officers of the Coal Board and he would see their plans for development. Seeing those plans, he himself would have a shrewd idea of the possibilities of subsidence. Certain general rules apply in these matters.

Furthermore, the plan would give some idea of the geological structure. The Coal Board might say that the pipeline should not be put in a certain place, but should be put somewhere else. The man would then have been warned by the Board, although he would not be stopped. He would have had the Board's advice, and he would also have seen its plans. He would, therefore, have to take a risk in disregarding the Board's advice, and I cannot see why, in those circumstances, he should receive compensation.

I cannot see why the Board should abuse such a provision to any great extent. The Minister's argument is somewhat exaggerated. The difficulty in practice would not be as great as he fears. He said that his right hon. Friend would consider the position, and that he was very much concerned with the question of danger. That may be true, but the right hon. Gentleman would probably consult the Board and the Board would give him advice. The Board would have experts in the area, and they would know what was likely to happen. If they thought that danger existed the right hon. Gentleman could refuse the application, or direct that the pipeline should take a different route, or lay down certain safety requirements.

If the Minister lays down those requirements it does not seem right that the Board should have to pay compensation in respect of damage caused by subsequent subsidence. I cannot see why the Board should have to bear the expense. The Minister will give the authorisation. He will have been concerned in all the consultations, and if he says that the operation can be carried out quite safely and something subsequently happens I cannot see why the Board should pay when it has been a mistake on the Minister's part. He might even have acted against the advice of the Board.

The Board might tell the minister that there is a danger of subsidence over a much wider area than actually is the case, in which case the Minister might say that the pipeline should not go anywhere near the land, in order to save the Board having to pay compensation, in the interests of safety. I cannot see the strength of the argument that the Coal Board might use this provision as a blanket to safeguard itself against the payment of compensation, because it can already do that, through the Minister, without the Clause.

The Board has sufficient responsibility to bear as it is, and I do not see why it should be asked to bear more. The Board ought to be able to tell the pipeline constructor, in the same way that it can tell the Minister, "It would not be a good thing to put a pipeline here, because there is the possibility of subsidence. It might be dangerous." The Board ought to be allowed to say that to the person who wants to construct the pipeline. Then, if the man decides to risk building the pipeline there, he can do so. Even then there is the safeguard arising from the fact that the Minister can stop the work if he thinks that it is dangerous.

I should have thought that the hon. Gentleman might have made something of an occasion of his first day at the Dispatch Box in charge of the Bill by giving the Opposition one of their Clauses. As a result of the time we had to spend in Committee on the Bill the Minister escaped execution because it was virtually impossible to change Minister while the Bill was in Committee. As an expression of his gratitude the Minister ought to be rather more helpful, by accepting the Clause.

Mr. Small

I would have thought that the Minister would accept the new Clause. Clause 38 is on similar lines. It says: No person shall place a length of pipe-line above or beneath the surface of waters over which a harbour authority have jurisdiction except with the consent of the authority … This Clause does not even ask for the consent of the authority; it merely asks for consultation. It is to be assumed that, in order to protect its interests, the Board will not be anxious to expedite the work of a pipeline operator. This will mean a greater number of compulsory purchase orders. Oil and coal are competing commodities, and it is only natural to expect that the Board would not wish to give up its rights too easily. It would want to protect its own interests. In those circumstances I would have thought it would be quite reasonable to lay down provisions such as are contained in the Clause.

This is not something new in Statutes. I was a Member of a Private Bill Committee which was concerned with the extension of the tube in London, and the firm of Peter Robinson, in the Strand, was successful in its efforts to have a protective Clause inserted in that Bill. I cannot see why such a provision should be regarded as unreasonable in this case, since the Clause merely provides that consultation shall take place. It merely allows for a warning to be given. It is not a prohibition. It seeks to settle the matter by way of negotiation and consultation rather than through compulsion.

7.30 p.m.

Mr. Ross

I once took the Parliamentary Secretary round the Middle East and educated him on the subject of pipelines, but that evidently was so long ago that he has not benefited from it.

By this Clause we want to protect pipeline operators when a pipeline is in operation. It would be no great joy to them if inconvenience were caused by the stopping of the pipeline construction merely because they were trying to get compensation.

In the first instance, we want to prevent subsidence. That can be prevented only if it is known whether the pipeline is passing through an area where there are old or present workings and whether steps are necessary to protect the pipeline. Such information can be obtained only from the Coal Board. The Minister says that the constructors would make inquiries and there would be no obligation on the Coal Board to give the information, but if constructors were not careful they would land themselves in a difficult situation.

When I come to the House from my home I travel from Ayr to Glasgow to catch a plane. In the precincts of Kil-winning the train slows down to about five miles an hour. Thirty years ago when I also travelled from Ayr to Glasgow the train slowed down to the same speed at that same point. It was probably because some enterprising unemployed miner had driven a shaft into the land at that point to extract coal and the working was such that the train had to slow down.

Today over to the West there is a great stretch of highway, the by-pass of the road to Kilwinning and on the other side of the railway there is another stretch of road. The train has to slow down because when it was desired to put a tunnel under the road it was found that there were old mine workings there. Any person who had travelled on that line could have told the road makers that that was the wrong place to put the by-pass, but development of the road has been held up for a long distance. Cannot that kind of thing be avoided by consultation? If there is no consultation, what right have we to say that the Coal Board must pay compensation?

The Parliamentary Secretary said that in all enterprise there is risk, but who is to take the risk here? The Coal Board is not carrying out the enterprise. It is a completely innocent party because it does not own the surface of the land over which rights which have been purchased are to be exercised. In fairness to it, the Minister should have some loyalty to the Board, which is not out-with his sphere of influence. He should see that the Board is reasonably protected from failures on his part or on the part of an operator.

This is an eminently sensible and desirable Clause and one which from the point of view of the interest of pipeline operators and of the Coal Board should be in the Bill. I sincerely hope that the Minister will look at this proposal again.

Mr. Lee

When the Parliamentary Secretary said in answer to my hon. Friend the Member for Ashfield (Mr. Warbey) that he had not reconsidered the matter in respect of my hon. Friend's intervention, I think he meant that the brief had not been changed in response to the arguments we had deployed on this new Clause. This is one of the most serious decisions which the Government have taken. I look upon it as a new version of the private affluence versus public squalor arguments we have had before.

The Coal Board is running an extractive industry and is forced to take a risk which other people make certain the Board cannot avoid. The pipeline operator deliberately—one might almost say with malice aforethought—knowing perfectly well that the Board's operations are taking place below the ground which he has in mind to use for the pipeline, without the slightest risk to himself, can go ahead with the construction in the cynical knowledge that if anything goes wrong he can claim compensation from the Board. This is a fantastic thing for the Government to force on the Board.

Despite the fact that the N.C.B. is running an extractive industry, an operator has complete rights for support on the land under which the N.C.B. is carrying out operations. He can force the Board to take the risk which he himself has no need to take. The Parliamentary Secretary told us that if the Board was approached by the operator it would be bound to say that there was danger. If he, like some of us, had a constituency in which the Coal Board carries out extensive operations, he would know perfectly well that consultation between local authorities and the Board is an everyday occurrence. In moving the Second Reading of the Clause I cited local authorities which have the responsibility of producing housing estates. They would not dream of doing so without first consulting the Board to find if there were old working under the sites.

Years must elapse before complete settlement takes place. Provision against that kind of risk can be taken only in a calculated way by reinforcing the land with rafts and so on. There is no difference between that everyday occurrence of consultation between the N.C.B. and local authorities and that which could take place between pipeline operators and the N.C.B. in this respect.

For the hon. Gentleman to believe that the Board safeguards itself by saying that if a shovelful of coal is taken out there is bound to be a risk, is "Alice in Wonderland" stuff. The Board has an extensive capacity to review these things and to consult local authorities and others. The same applies between the Board and such undertakings as the British Transport Commission. Coal pillars are left under railways and great industrial establishments to ensure that subsidence will not take place under them. We shall have a proliferation of pipelines, and it is inevitable that some will pass through coal workings. The Government have in mind that they should avoid a situation arising in which oil companies might be inhibited from taking pipelines through the Coal Board's workings for fear of an accident for which the Board would not have to pay compensation.

The Parliamentary Secretary told us that full consideration would be given by the Minister before any authorisation was granted. Is he giving the House the assurance that if there is danger of subsidence in an area the Minister will not give an authorisation for the pipeline to be laid? We should like to know the answer to that. It would be deceiving the House if the hon. Gentleman was now saying that the Minister will not give such an authorisation where there is danger of subsidence and when the Bill becomes an Act that kind of thing is not given weight when authorisations are granted.

One of my hon. Friends has mentioned the question of safety. This again is vital. We know that there is co-operation. In my area, for instance, it is by no means unknown for electric cables to be fractured as a result of the movement of the earth, but there is co-operation between the two bodies concerned in order to ensure safety and the speedy repair of the fractures. This is one of the serious errors which the Government are making. I submit to the House that there has been no answer to what is a plain, simple but very vital issue.

Here we have a great national undertaking, which itself is bound to get coal when there is a shortage of coal. It is bound to get the coal in the areas which are most economic. It might be restricted and inhibited from doing so by the operation of this Bill when it becomes an Act, because we are now saying that the Coal Board will be due to pay compensation to the tune of many thousands of pounds of public money, because private enterprise has to be given the assurance that it will be compensated from public money. That is a disgrace-

ful thing. We have had no sort of reply at all from the Government on a vital issue. I certainly advise my hon. and right hon. Friends to carry this matter into the Division Lobby.

Question put, That the Clause be read a Second time:—

The House divided: Ayes 168, Noes 218.

Division No. 255] AYES [7.42 p.m.
Abse, Leo Henderson, Rt. Hn. Arthur (RwlyRegis) Paton, John
Ainsley, William Herbison, Miss Margaret Pearson, Arthur (Pontypridd)
Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.) Hill, J. (Midlothian) Peart, Frederick
Allen, Scholefield (Crewe) Hilton, A. V. Pentland, Norman
Awbery, Stan Holman, Percy Plummer, Sir Leslie
Bacon, Miss Alice Howell, Denis (Small Heath) Popplewell, Ernest
Baxter, William (Stirlingshire, W.) Hoy, James H. Prentice, R. E.
Beaney, Alan Hughes, Cledwyn (Anglesey) Proctor, W. T.
Bence, Cyril Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayrshire) Rankin, John
Bennett, J. (Glasgow, Bridgeton) Hunter, A. E. Redhead, E. C.
Blackburn, F. Hynd, H. (Accrington) Reid, William
Blyton, William Hynd, John (Attercliffe) Reynolds, G. W.
Bottomley, Rt. Hon. A. G. Irvine, A. J. (Edge Hill) Roberts, Albert (Normanton)
Bowden, Rt. Hn. H.W.(Leics, S.W.) Irving, Sydney (Dartford) Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvon)
Bowles, Frank Janner, Sir Barnett Robertson, John (Palsley)
Boyden, James Jay, Rt. Hon Douglas Robinson, Kenneth (St. Pancras, N.)
Braddock, Mrs. E. M. Jeger, George Rodgers, W. T. (Stockton)
Bray, Dr. Jeremy Jenkins, Roy (Stetchford) Ross, William
Brockway, A. Fenner Johnson, Carol (Lewisham, S.) Short, Edward
Broughton, Dr. A. D. D Jones, Rt. Hn. Creech (Wakefield) Silverman, Julius (Aston)
Brown, Thomas (Ince) Jones, Dan (Burnley) Silverman, Sydney (Nelson)
Butler, Herbert (Hackney, C.) Jones, Jack (Rotherham) Skeffington, Arthur
Bradley, Tom Jones, T.W. (Merioneth) Slater, Mrs. Hariet (Stoke, N.)
Callaghan, James Kelley, Richard Slater, Joseph (Sedgefield)
Castle, Mrs. Barbara Kenyon, Clifford Small, William
Chapman, Donald Key, Rt. Hon. C. W. Smith, Ellis (Stoke, S.)
Cronin, John King, Dr. Horace Snow, Julian
Cullen, Mrs. Alice Ledger, Ron Sorensen, R, W.
Dalyell, Tam Frederick (Newton) Spriggs, Leslie
Davies, G. Elfed (Rhondda, E.) Lee, Miss Jennie (Cannock) Steele, Thomas
Davies, Harold (Leek) Lever, L. M. (Ardwick) Stonehouse, John
Deer, George
Dempsey, James Lewis, Arthur (West Ham, N.) Stones, William
Diamond, John MacColl, James Swain, Thomas
Dodds, Norman MacDermot, Niall Swingler, Stephen
Donnelly, Desmond McInnes, James Taverne, D.
Dugdale, Rt. Hon. John McKay, John (Wallsend) Taylor, Bernard (Mansfield)
Ede, Rt. Hon. C. McLeavey, Frank Thomas, George (Cardiff, W.)
Edwards, Rt Hon. Ness (Caerphilly) MacPherrson, Malcolm (Stirling) Thomas, Iorwerth (Rhondda, W.)
Thornton, Ernest
Edwards, Robert (Bilston) Manuel, Archie Tomney, Frank
Edwards, Walter (Stepney) Mapp, Charles Wainwright, Edwin
Fitch, Alan Marsh, Richard Warbey, William
Fletcher, Eric Mason, Roy Warbey, William
Foot, Dingle (Ipswich) Mondelson, J. J. Weitzman, David
Forman, J. C. Millan, Bruce Weitzman, David
Fraser, Thomas (Hamilton) Monslow, Walter Wells, Percy (Faversham)
Galpern, Sir Myer Moody, A. S. Whitlock, William
Gordon Walker, Rt. Hon. P. C. Morris, John Wilkins, W. A.
Gourlay, Harry Moyle, Arthur Williams, LI. (Abertillery)
Griffiths, David (Rother Valley) Mulley, Frederick Williams, W. R. (Openshaw)
Griffiths, W. (Exchange) Noel Baker, Francis (Swindon) Willis, E. G. (Edinburgh, E.)
Gunter, Ray Noel-Baker, Rt. Hn. Philip (Derby, S.) Woodburn, Rt. Hon. A.
Hale, Leslie (Oldham, W.) Oram, A. E. Woof, Robert
Hall, Rt. Hn. Glenvil (Colne Valley) Oswald, Thomas Yates, Victor (Ladywood)
Hannan, William Owen, Will Zilliacus, K.
Harper, Joseph Parnell, Charles (Leeds, W.)
Hart, Mrs. Judith Parker, John TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Hayman, F. H. Mr. Lawson and Mr. Grey.
Aitken, W. T. Beamish, Col. Sir Tufton Bishop, F. P.
Allason, James Bell, Ronald Black, Sir Cyril
Atkins, Humphrey Berkeley, Humphry Box, Donald
Barber, Anthony Bevins, Rt. Hon. Reginald Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hon. John
Barlow, Sir John Bidgood, John C. Boyle, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward
Barter, John Biffen, John Brewis, John
Baxter, Sir Beverley (Southgate) Biggs-Davison, John Brooman-White, R.
Brown, Alan (Tottenham) Holland, Philip Percival, Ian
Browne, Percy (Torrington) Hollingworth, John Peyton, John
Bryan, Paul Hope, Rt. Hon. Lord John Pickthorn, Sir Kenneth
Buck, Antony Hopkins, Alan Pike, Miss Mervyn
Bullard, Denys Hornsby-Smith, Rt. Hon. Dame P. Pilkington, Sir Richard
Campbell, Sir David (Belfast, S.) Howard, Hon. G. R. (St. Ives) Pitman, Sir James
Campbell, Gordon (Moray & Nairn) Hughes Hallett, Vice-Admiral John Pitt, Dame Edith
Carr, Compton (Barons Court) Hughes-Young, Michael Pott, Percivall
Carr, Robert (Mitcham) Hulbert, Sir Norman Powell, Rt. Hon. J. Enoch
Chichester-Clark, R. Hutchison, Michael Clark Proudfoot, Wilfred
Clark, William (Nottingham, S.) Iremonger, T. L. Pym, Francis
Clarke, Brig. Terence (Portsmth, W.) Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye) Ramsden, James
Cole, Norman James David Rawlinson, Sir Peter
Collard, Richard Jenkins, Robert (Dulwich) Redmayne, Rt. Hon. Martin
Cooke, Robert Johnson, Dr. Donald (Carlisle) Roberts, Sir Peter (Heeley)
Cooper, A. E. Johnson, Eric (Blackley) Ropner, Col. Sir Leonard
Cordeaux, Lt.-Col. J. K. Kaberry, Sir Donald Russell, Ronald
Cordle, John Kerans, Cdr, J. S. St. Clair, M.
Corfield, F. V. Kerby, Capt, Henry Scott-Hopkins, James
Costain, A. P. Kerr, Sir Hamilton Sharples, Richard
Coulson, Michael Kirk, Peter Shaw, M.
Critchley, Julian Shepherd, William
Curran, Charles Lagden, Godfrey Smith, Dudley (Br'ntf'd & Chiswick)
Dalkeith, Earl of Lambton, Viscount Smyth, Rt. Hon. Brig. Sir John
Dance, James Leburn, Gilmour Speir, Rupert
d'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Sir Henry Legge-Bourke, Sir Harry Stanley, Hon. Richard
Deedes, Rt. Hon. W. F. Lilley, F. J. P. Stevens, Geoffrey
de Ferranti, Basil Lindsay, Sir Martin Steward, Harold (Stockport, S.)
Digby, Simon Wingfield Linstead, Sir Hugh Stodart, J. A.
Donaldson, Cmdr. C. E. M. Lloyd, Rt. Hn. Geoffrey (Sut'nC'dfield) Stoddart-Scott, Col. Sir Malcolm
Drayson, G. B. Longbottom, Charles Storey, Sir Henry
du Cann, Edward Longden, Gilbert Studholme, Sir Henry
Duncan, Sir James Loveys, Walter H. Summers, Sir Spencer
Elliot, Capt. Walter (Carshalton) Lucas, Sir Jocelyn Talbot, John E.
Emery, Peter Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh Tapsell, Peter
Errington, Sir Eric McAdden, Sir Stephen Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne)
Farr, John McLaren, Martin Taylor, Frank (M'ch'st'r, Moss Side)
Fell, Anthony Maclay, Rt. Hon. John Teeling, Sir William
Finlay, Graeme Maclean, Sir Fitzroy (Bute&N.Ayrs.) Temple, John M.
Fletcher-Cooke, Charles McMaster, Stanley R. Thatcher, Mrs. Margaret
Forrest, George Macmillan, Rt. Hn. Harold (Bromley) Thomas, Leslie (Canterbury)
Freeth, Denzil Macmillan, Maurice (Halifax) Thompson, Kenneth (Walton)
Galbraith, Hon. T. G. D. Macpherson, Rt. Hn. Niall (Dumfries) Thompson, Richard (Croydon, S.)
Gammans, Lady Maginnis, John E. Thornton-Kemsley, Sir Colin
Gardner, Edward Maitland, Sir John Tiley, Arthur (Bradford, W.)
Glover, Sir Douglas Marples, Rt. Hon. Ernest Touche, Rt. Hon. Sir Gordon
Glyn, Dr. Alan (Clapham) Mathew, Robert (Honiton) Tweedsmuir, Lady
Gower, Raymond Maxwell-Hyslop, R. J. van Straubenzee, W. R.
Gresham Cooke, R. Maydon, Lt.-Cmdr. S. L. C. Vickers, Miss Joan
Grimond, Rt. Hon. J. Mills, Stratton Wade, Donald
Gurden, Harold Moore, Sir Thomas (Ayr) Walker, Peter
Hamilton, Michael (Wellingborough) More, Jasper (Ludlow) Walker-Smith, Rt. Hon. Sir Derek
Harrison, Col. Sir Harwod (Eye) Morgan, William Wall, Patrick
Harvey, John (Walthamstow, E.) Morrison, John Webster, David
Harvie Anderson, Miss Mott-Radclyffe, Sir Charles Whitelaw, William
Hastings, Stephen Nicholls, Sir Harmar Williams, Dudley (Exeter)
Hay, John Nicholson, Sir Godfrey Wills, Sir Gerald (Bridgwater)
Heald, Rt. Hon. Sir Lionel Noble, Rt. Hon. Michael Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)
Henderson, John (Cathcart) Osborn, John (Hallam) Wise, A. R.
Hendry, Forbes Osborne, Sir Cyril (Louth) Wolrige-Gordon, Patrick
Hicks Beach, Maj. W. Page, Graham (Crosby) Wood, Rt. Hon. Richard
Hiley, Joseph Page, John (Harrow, West) Woodhouse, C. M.
Hill, Mrs. Eveline (Wythenshawe) Pannell, Norman (Kirkdale) Woodnutt, Mark
Hill, J. E. B. (S. Norfolk) Partridge, E. Woollam, John
Hirst, Geoffrey Pearson, Frank (Clitheroe)
Hocking, Philip N. Peel, John TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Mr. Batsford and Mr. Rees.


  1. (1) The rights conferred by a compulsory rights order shall not be exercisable against a purchaser for money or money's worth of a legal estate in any of the land comprised in the order unless, before the completion of the purchase, the order has been registered in the register of local land charges of the council of the local authority within whose area the land which is the subject of the purchase is situated.
  2. 1360
  3. (2) It shall be the duty of the proper officer of the council of the local authority within whose area any of the land comprised in a compulsory rights order is situated, on being notified by the person in whose favour he order was made of the making of the order, to register the order in like manner as if it were a restriction to which section fifteen of the Land Charges Act, 1925, applies by virtue of paragraph (b) of subsection (7) of that section.
  4. (3) The registration of a compulsory rights order may, if the order is revoked in whole 1361 or is revoked so far as regards a part of the land comprised therein, be cancelled in whole or, as the case may be, so far as regards that part of the land, in like manner as a restriction, to which the said section fifteen applies by virtue of the said paragraph (b), and section seventeen (except subsection (3) thereof) of the said Act of 1925 (which section relates to official certificates of search) and any regulations for the time being in force made under that Act, so far as they relate to the form of an official certificate of search under the said section seventeen, shall have effect as if any entry made in the register of local land charges by virtue of this section were made therein by virtue of the said Act of 1925.
  5. (4) In this section—
    1. (a) "local authority", in relation to land in a county borough, county district or metropolitan borough, means the council of the borough or district, and, in relation to land in the City of London, means the Common Council of the City;
    2. (b) "proper officer", in relation to the council of a county borough, county district or metropolitan borough means the clerk, or the person for the time being authorised to act as clerk, of the council, and in relation to the Common Council of the City of London, means the town clerk or the person for the time being authorised to act as town clerk, of the City.
  6. (5) The foregoing provisions of this section shall not apply to Scotland, but as respects land in Scotland the person in whose favour a compulsory rights order is made shall as soon as may be record in the Register of Sasines the compulsory rights order and any order revoking that order; and the rights conferred by a compulsory rights order shall not be exercisable against any person acquiring an interest in any land to which the order applies unless the order has been so recorded before the completion of the acquisition.—[Mr. Graham Page.]

Brought up, and read the First time.

Mr. Graham Page (Crosby)

I beg to move, That the Clause be read a Second time.

Not having been a member of the Standing Committee which discussed this Bill or having taken part in the Committee stage proceedings, it is with trepidation that I move this Motion. The purpose of this Clause is to make it compulsory for a compulsory rights order to be registered as a land charge. When a person purchases land there are two registers which he searches to find whether there are any encumbrances on the land. One is the central land charges register in which there are registered such things as restrictive covenants, equitable easements, contracts for sale and things like that. These are registered against the name of the owner of the land at the time when the encumbrance was created. This raises difficulties because in searching the register one has to know the names of the owners of the land right back to 1925.

The more satisfactory form of register from the point of view of a purchaser is the local land charges register which is kept by the local authority. In it are entered such encumbrances on the property as notices under the Public Health Acts, town planning notices, private street works notices and that kind of thing. Originally, this register was intended to record, for the sake of those purchasing land, any encumbrance over land owned by the local authority. Since its initiation in 1925, the scope of the entries has been extended. It now applies to rights of other authorities and of a number of Government Departments. Notices about land drainage are registered.

When building licences are applied for that is registered. The Minister of Civil Aviation has certain rights in connection with the register. The War Damage Commission has rights and registration includes supervision orders by the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food. Therefore, in the course of time, and because of its usefulness and the fact that it is possible to search in it against the land and not against the name of some previous owner, the local land charges register has been extended by Statute.

One way in which it has been extended is similar to what it is sought to do by this Clause. Under the Requisitioned Land and War Works Act, 1948, the right acquired by the Minister in respect of Government oil pipelines is registrable as a local land charge. If it were found practicable to do that, surely it is proper to do the same thing in this legislation. I can quote an even closer example relating to the Opencast Coal Act, 1958, under which compulsory rights orders—the same name as is used in this Bill—are registrable in the local register. If that be so in respect of opencast coal, surely it is right that orders created by this legislation should be registered as land charges.

Such a procedure would be valuable because the natural process of solicitors who advise purchasers is to carry out searches in both registers where they expect to find information about all the encumbrances on the land which are not obvious from inspection. If it be obvious from inspection that there is a right of way across land, that is not registered. If the land be subject to restrictive covenants, that will be found in the register, if not in the deeds. It is necessary to know a lot about the land before the deeds are examined and these searches are made before contract, before a purchaser ever sees the title of the property, because he wants to know what he is buying. We have provided these registers by Statute so that a purchaser may be certain that he is not buying a pig in a poke and so that he may know what rights there are over the land. As I said, it is those rights which are not obvious from inspection which are registered in one or other of these two registers.

An argument used against the provisions in this Clause at an earlier stage was that it would be obvious where pipelines were to go because of the markers which would be placed along the route. I do not think that there is any obligation under this Bill to place such markers, but even if they were present they might not indicate to a prospective land purchaser, the route of a pipeline.

Another argument used against the Clause was that under Clause 34 there is an obligation on a pipeline operator to deposit a map with the local authority indicating the line of a pipe. Under that Clause there is no system of search of the local authority records to find such a plan. No manner is laid down in which the maps are to be kept and there would be no convenient way for a purchaser to find out whether there was a compulsory rights order over any land. He might have to search through many maps which might not be sufficiently accurate to indicate to him whether a compulsory rights order existed. The map under Clause 34 is not required to show the existence of a compulsory rights order. It is required only to show the line of the pipe, the route of the pipe, and it may not give the purchaser, even if he can find the map in the local authority's records, any accurate idea of where the pipeline runs.

If the pipeline operator is obliged to lodge a map of that sort with the local authority, surely we can go one step further and oblige him to register or to inform the local authority of the land over which the compulsory rights order applies—to inform the local authority of that piece of land or those pieces of land and to have the rights order registered in the local land charges register. Then there would be no difficulty for the purchaser. In the normal course of his searches on contract it would be disclosed that over this piece of land there are the rights which Clause 12 gives, the rights which appear in the Fourth Schedule—ail very important rights when one is considering purchasing a piece of land. The purchaser would be told of this automatically by its being registered on the local land charges register.

8.0 p.m.

Mr. Wood

My hon. Friend the Member for Crosby (Mr. Graham Page) moved the new Clause with his customary persuasiveness and in a very well-informed speech, as we expected. He knows that I have not always been unsympathetic towards the point of view which he has expressed this evening, because when the Bill was first introduced it contained a Clause on the lines of those which he now proposes. That Clause, which was originally pant of the Bill, was deleted by a Government Amendment in Committee in another place and the noble Lord, Lord Chesham, explained the reasons why the Government had decided to take this course.

The reasons which prompted the Government at that time to remove the Clause from the Bill still hold good. I understand that there is no question of the validity of a compulsory rights order in England and Wales being open to challenge if it is not registered, and I think that it is clear from what my hon. Friend said that the main advantage of having such a Clause in the Bill is one of convenience—the convenience of purchasers who are naturally anxious to know whether there are any encumbrances on the land which they wish to purchase.

The real issue which influenced the Government in the deletion of the Clause and which influences me now in what I say to my hon. Friend the Member for Crosby is whether convenience is outweighed by the need to preserve the principle of registering in the registers of local land charges only charges of a public nature, which are the charges for which the registers were originally intended. I am advised that if the registers were once opened for the registration of rights of private people an undue burden would be placed on the registrar and the original purpose of the register would soon be lost sight of.

It is relevant in this connection to consider the many precedents for the acquisition of compulsory rights to lay pipes and cables—and my hon. Friend knows a great deal more than I do about it—under the Water Act, 1945, the Electricity Act, 1947, and the Atomic Energy Act, 1954. I understand that none of these rights require to be registered in local registers, although they are nearly all acquired by public authorities, so that the objection to registration by private people would not apply to them.

I am informed that there is no evidence of any inconvenience having been caused to prospective purchasers or anyone else by the lack of registration of these rights. Of course if there were a case for registering pipelines under the Bill, it would apply together with water pipes and electricity cables which, in effect, will always be infinitely more numerous.

On the question of convenience, any person to whom rights are granted by compulsory order can register them himself, either by notice or by caution in the Central Land Registry. I am convinced for these reasons that the provision for registration is not essential. Again, my hon. Friend's experience is far greater than mine in this matter. It is the normal practice among the preliminary inquiries before contract to find out, among other things, whether any compulsory rights order affects the property being purchased. No doubt my hon. Friend will correct me if I am wrong, but I believe that one of the standard inquiries used by solicitors covers the point. Moreover, a prudent purchaser, if he does not make such a preliminary inquiry, will no doubt make certain that the conditions of sale do not bind him to purchase subject to the existence of a compulsory rights order. In this question of balance of con- venience and the proper use of the register, I am convinced that there is no case to outweigh the improper use of the register—and I understand that it would be improperly used if this new Clause were added to the Bill.

For the reasons which I have given, therefore, I hope that my hon. Friend will agree that the kind of cases which he has in mind will in fact be adequately looked after and that it would not be right to encumber the register with a number of registrations for which in fact it was not intended.

Mr. W. R. van Straubenzee (Wokingham)

I intervene briefly to say that I hope that my right hon. Friend will accept that some of us are disappointed with the reply. If I may put the case briefly, I appreciate that what he is saying is that there is an advantage to be weighed and that he has come down on the same side as the keeper of the register. The keeper of the register is paid, and it is even conceivable that his fee would be increased if we very much increased his burden.

I respectfully suggest to my right hon. Friend that where there is a balance of advantage, we ought to bring it down on the side of the prospective purchaser of land. The point which I find it a little hard to follow is that I understand that in the Bill substantially the same provision as that proposed by my hon. Friend the Member for Crosby (Mr. Graham Page) applies to Scotland. I have no knowledge of Scottish law, but Clause 66 (3) does that, and I cannot for the life of me see why the cogent argument put forward can be put forward only for England and Wales and why the system for which we press should apply only in Scotland. For those reasons I urge the new Clause on the Minister.

Sir Lionel Heald (Chertsey)

I apologise for intervening in the discussion, albeit briefly, because I was not a member of the Committee, but I feel alarmed at the principle involved in the Minister's decision. Registers exist for the convenience of the public and not for the convenience of the registrar. The idea that one must not put a burden on the registrar to me is rather alarming. If there is a case for the public having a ready means of getting information, surely that is exactly what the register is for.

Another interesting fact is that recently, and coincidently, I was engaged in a case in the Court of Appeal which concerned the register of patents. In that case the parties concerned were anxious to register very important agreements and a view was taken by the registrar that it would be inconvenient for the registrar of patents to have this additional burden. The Court of Appeal did not take the same view. It decided that they should be registered.

We have been told that similar items are registered. My horn. Friend the Member for Wokingham (Mr. van Straubenzee) said that What is proposed in the Clause applies to Scotland. My hon. Friend the Member for Crosby (Mr. Graham Page) said that very similar charges are registered in England. I am a little concerned about whether administrative convenience is being put above other things. It seems to me that the balance is rather an imaginative one. One reason mentioned by the Minister may be the one which has tipped the balance. He said that nothing of this kind has ever been done before. That is never a very good reason for not doing anything. It is said that at the time when the Land Registry was set up the occasion did not arise for this sort of thing. Of course it did not. The idea of someone having rights to put pipelines down would probably have caused fits to the Victorian people concerned.

I hope that it will be appreciated that the legal people concerned do not just have a bee in their bonnets. This does not affect me, because it is a matter for solicitors, not for barristers. It is the fact that solicitors are concerned about this. They are rather anxious when they find that an illogical line appears to be being taken. They are even more concerned when they find that there is at any rate a possibility that the decisive factors are, first, clinging to existing supposed rules and, secondly, administrative convenience. I feel that this is a matter of importance.

Mr. Wood

By leave of the House, I will answer the points raised by my right hon. and learned Friend the Member fox Chertsey (Six L. Heald). It is not only the convenience of the Registrar which must be taken into account. That we might decide in any way we chose. It is not only the fact that this has never been done before. The point is, as I am informed, that the whole intention of the register was that it should dead with charges only of a public nature. It is different in Scotland. There all such compulsory orders must be recorded in the Register of Sasines. That is the register in which all deeds relating to land in Scotland are recorded.

To make a break with the whole purpose of the register would require very strong evidence that inconvenience and difficulty would be caused if this change were not made. As I have offered to the House a number of examples of compulsory rights orders which are not registered in the register, I suggest that the convenience is not such as to outweigh the whole intention of the register.

Mr. Graham Page

My right hon. Friend said that the register is for the purpose of public rights. However, it has been used to register something very similar to this, namely, a compulsory rights order in relation to opencast coal created by the National Coal Board. A compulsory rights order under the Bill is created by the Minister. To that extent, it is a public right.

Mr. Wood

My hon. Friend may be right that opencast rights are registrable under the relevant legislation. Broadly, I think that he will agree that the purpose for which the register was intended was very different from registration of the kind of rights arising under the Bali. The slight inconvenience caused does not outweigh that primary intention. I hope that my hon. Friend will accept this argument. The Government cannot accept the new Clause.

Question put and negatived.


The owner of a pipe-line shall be responsible for and make good to any of the authorities or bodies mentioned in section thirty-six of this Act all costs, charges, damages and expenses which may be occasioned to them in combatting the effects of or preventing injury from the accidental escape or the ignition of anything in the pipeline.—[Mr. Farr.]

Brought up, and read the First time.

8.15 p.m.

Mr. John Farr (Harborough)

I beg to move, That the Clause be read a Second Time.

The purpose of the Clause is to clarify certain aspects of the Bill. In Committee my right hon. Friend was good enough to consider several clarifying or elucidating Amendments of this type, and I trust that he will give this Clause sympathetic ear. The Clause is related to the possible liabilities to be undertaken by the authorities mentioned in Clause 36 with respect to pipeline accidents. My main concern is the expense to be met from public funds which river boards might have to incur in carrying out remedial measures following an escape from or an explosion in a pipeline. Although others of the authorities mentioned in Clause 36 have powers of obtaining or recovering the necessary expenditure incurred as a result of such accidents, river boards do not. River boards do not normally carry out remedial work to mitigate the effects of pollution in this connection, but they have done so in cases of emergency in the past. In the past their expenses have been met without question by the pipeline owner concerned. This claim has been recognised in the protection afforded the river boards in private Pipeline Acts.

In another place my noble Friend Lord Mills said that it is in the pipeline owner's own interests to minimise the effect of an escape so far as he can, because in the end he will have to pay. I consider, however, that the assumption upon which this statement was based, even though erroneously, should be given full effect by an Amendment to the Bill. A similar provision was made in Section 52 (6) of the Esso Petroleum Act, 1961.

I understand that my right hon. Friend considers that this is a matter in respect of which reliance may be placed upon the good will of the industry. In the past and in correspondence reference has been made to the model code of practice recently drafted by the Institute of Petroleum, in which stress is laid both on the need for the maintenance of water courses and on the need for their final restoration to as good a condition as before the commencement of any work. I fear that not all those autho- rised to construct pipelines under the Bill will necessarily subscribe to the code of the Institute of Petroleum, which in any event has no binding effect.

Further, I can see no reason why the protection afforded to river boards under Private Acts, protection which has resulted from free negotiation between river boards and pipeline interests and confirmed by Parliament, should not be included in this general legislation.

Mr. Wood

This matter has run through many of our discussions, because it concerns liability in cases of accident. This new Clause would make a pipeline owner responsible for all costs, charges, damages and expenses that might be incurred by any of the authorities referred to in Clause 36, amongst whom are river boards. They would be able to recover from the pipeline owner any expenses to which they were put.

The difficulty is that in the case of negligence on the part of a pipeline owner which resulted in the escape of anything from the pipeline, the river boards—and the other parties mentioned in Clause 36—could avail themselves of action at common law. In other matters of this kind, the Government have felt that it would be quite wrong to impose on a pipeline owner an absolute liability irrespective of whether or not he is negligent, and it is an absolute liability that this new Clause seeks to impose.

Furthermore, provision is already made in Clause 14 (2) for compensation to be paid to anyone who suffers loss by reason of damage or disturbance arising from the exercise of rights conferred by a compulsory rights order. In other words, damage arising from the exercise of compulsory rights is already covered.

To provide for a specific liability in excess of common law rights, which would be the effect of the new Clause, would be getting very near to imposing an absolute liability on the pipeline owner. The Government have considered this and have rejected it, because they feel—and, I am sure, rightly feel—that the obligation of absolute liability should be imposed only in exceptional circumstances.

We have had a number of discussions in Committee and elsewhere which have led many of us—they have certainly led me—to the firm conviction that industrial pipeline development will not necessarily give rise to greater hazards than arise from a great many other types of industrial processes. Therefore, although I have considerable sympathy with the purpose behind the Clause—the desire that these named undertakings should be adequately compensated for damage—I do not in this case see any persuasive cause for adding to the already existing common law rights of third parties in relation to pipeline leakages, fires, and the like.

If, as my hon. Friend suggests, one went further and imposed an additional liability on pipeline owners, it would conflict with the view I have taken, and have expressed on a number of occasions, that these pipelines are not likely to be significantly more dangerous than other forms of industrial development. I therefore suggest that the obligation of absolute liability would not, for the reasons I have given, be appropriate in this case. I hope that my hon. Friend will be able to accept those reasons, and will be willing to withdraw his new Clause.

Mr. Archie Manuel (Central Ayrshire)

A pipeline could lead to hazards to adjoining property. The results of ignition, for example, could cause extensive damage to woodlands in adjoining properties, wiping out acres of young plantations that cost a great deal to plant, and if it were proved that there had not been proper patrolling of that pipeline stretch from which the danger emanated a case could be taken at common law.

Pipeline owners have the right to lay pipelines which, in many instances, will be on the surface—they will not all be buried or channelled. Therefore, unless there was the same adequate and periodical patrolling as one has with pipelines conveying water, sewage, and the like, the hazard would be there. I think that the hon. Member for Harborough (Mr. Farr) has a real point here to which the Minister should have some regard. The right hon. Gentleman should put some onus on pipeline owners to ensure proper patrolling safeguards to avoid what could possibly be extensive damage to adjoining materials or woodlands.

Mr. John M. Temple (City of Chester)

When my right hon. Friend replies, I should like him to make some reference to the Esso Petroleum Act mentioned by my hon. Friend the Member for Harborough (Mr. Farr). As a vice-president of the River Boards' Association, I feel that there is a pretty strong case for such a Clause as this. I fully recognise that the proprietors will have their common law rights, but if a precedent has been established comparatively recently in am Act of Parliament, it would be fair and reasonable to give the river boards what they want by accepting this Clause, as it would be following that established precedent.

Mrs. Harriet Slater (Stoke-on-Trent, North)

Has the right hon. Gentleman considered possible pollution of rivers? Pollution and, in some cases, danger from the pipelines would fall to be dealt with by the river boards. I have in mind the instance of mining subsidence. At one time, local authorities had to spend a lot of money on putting right the effects of mining subsidence on sewage pipes, gas mains and the like. That went on until we recently passed a Measure to give some measure of control or some financial assistance to local authorities.

Are we not here about to make the same mistake, with the possible result that in the future we shall have to bring in further legislation to make the pipeline companies responsible for any damage they may cause? We are doing a great deal to safeguard rivers from other kinds of pollution, and we should not make the mistake of forcing river boards or local authorities to go to common law to get financial recompense for any damage caused by pipelines.

The right hon. Gentleman will know that no local authority is anxious to take a common law action, because it is very expensive and prolonged, especially when taken against powerful oil companies, as these would, in the main, be. As the Bill stands, not only owners of properties but local authorities might have to go to law with a protracted case and the possible chance of being saddled with the costs. Are we not once more putting a liability on the rate fund instead of making those actually responsible for the damage face their liability?

Mr. Wood

In reply to my hon. Friend the Member for the City of Chester (Mr. Temple), I shall certainly give further thought to the precedent of the Esso Petroleum Act, but that cannot be regarded as a suitable precedent fox public legislation. Its purpose differs from that of this Bill. It was intended, as he knows, to authorise a particular pipeline, for which it gave compulsory powers and, as I have explained, damage from the exercise of compulsory rights orders is covered by Clause 14.

As to the points raised by the hon. Members for Central Ayrshire (Mr. Manuel) and Stoke-on-Trent, North (Mrs. Slater), there will certainly be an onus on the pipeline operator. If he does not take proper care of noxious substances but allows them to escape and do damage, an action may lie against him. As I have suggested to my hon. Friend who moved the new Clause, I do not think it would be appropriate to accept it because it would be an acceptance of the principle of absolute liability. This would not be justified, for the reasons that I gave him, because the pipelines, even the oil pipelines which will no doubt be built in Great Britain in the future, will not be, in my opinion, substantially more dangerous or inimical to safety than a number of other industrial processes at the present time. Therefore, I suggest that we should stand where we are at present, with action lying against those who do not keep dangerous substances under control, and not try to impose absolute liability on them.

Mr. Farr

While I cannot possibly say that I am really satisfied with what my right hon. Friend has said, I must admit that his arguments have a certain amount of weight behind them. Under the circumstances, I beg to ask leave to withdraw the new Clause.

Motion and Clause, by leave, withdrawn.


Mr. Wood

I beg to move, in page 1, line 13, after "authorisation", to insert: or (except with the consent of the Minister) by a person other than the one named in the application for the authorisation as he who will be the owner of the line".

8.30 p.m.

Mr. Deputy-Speaker (Sir R. Grimston)

It would be convenient to discuss with this Amendment, the Amendment in the name of the hon. Member for Hamilton (Mr. T. Fraser) in page 1, line 18, at end insert: (3) It shall not be lawful for any works to be executed for the construction of a pipeline except by or on behalf of the person to whom the pipeline construction authorisation has been granted without the permission of the Minister. (4) The Minister on any application for a permission under the foregoing subsection shall have power in his discretion to grant or refuse it.

Mr. Wood

This Amendment was put down after an undertaking which I gave in Committee at the end of May when we had a discussion on an Amendment in the name of the hon. Member for Hamilton (Mr. T. Fraser) and the hon. Member for Newton (Mr. Lee) which was in the same terms as the one which they have now put down. I explained on that occasion that the main argument against allowing an authorisation to be transferred without the Minister's permission was that the Minister, having satisfied himself of the bona fides of the person who had the authorisation, should be able to see that the construction was carried out by the same person. If he could not see that the construction was carried out by the same person who had the authorisation and whose bona fides he approved, there might be a danger, as I admitted in Committee, that the pipeline might be left half-finished or the land might be inadequately restored. There was a certain amount of discussion about a man of straw, and the view was expressed that the man of iron might give way to the man of straw and that therefore untoward circumstances might take place. Some might be more serious so that there might be some danger from the lapse of the high standards of safety which the Minister would be expecting from the original person who had the authorisation.

I made clear that I did not think it very likely that those risks would materialise. I also pointed out, and I should like to repeat it, that it would in fact be difficult to prevent any change in the ownership of a company to whom the authorisation had been granted. This is as opposed to the transfer of the authorisation itself, but I agree that although, in my opinion, the risks may be small there may be something to be said for trying to increase the safeguards, and I hope that the House will agree that this has been done by the Amendment which I have put on the Order Paper. I prefer it, if I may say so without hurting the hon. Member's feelings, to his Amendment. Not only is it half the length of his Amendment which I think is an advantage in a Bill of this kind, but I think that it is more accurate because it refers to the person who is named in the application for an authorisation rather than to the person to whom an authorisation is granted. As the House knows, the Bill does not provide for the authorisation to any particular person.

Mr. Fraser

I am grateful to the Minister for having moved the Amendment. He said that I moved an Amendment with a like purpose in Standing Committee and that an Amendment of mine to this effect now apears on the Order Paper. The right hon. Gentleman pointed out that, in his view, his Amendment is better than mine and that his is more accurate. He must not mind if, in turn, I inform him that, in my view, my Amendment is much better than his. However, I do not intend to argue about drafting matters at this time of evening. The important thing is that that which I had suggested in the first place is now being done, or is intended should be done by the right hon. Gentleman's Amendment, and I express my thanks to him for accepting my idea.

Amendment agreed to.

Mr. Fraser

I beg to move, in page 1, line 18, at the end to insert: (3) For the purpose of enabling the Minister to authorise the construction of pipe-lines according to an orderly plan and pattern in the public interest, the Minister shall not grant any pipe-line construction authorisation before the expiration of three months after the day appointed under section sixty-nine of this Act, and shall not grant any pipe-line construction authorisation until one year after the said day unless the application therefor was made to the Minister within the said period of three months. The purpose of the Amendment is to enable the Minister to give effect in the Bill to a promise he made to the House in April, 1961, when he was advising us not to proceed further with the Trunk Pipe-lines Bill. My hon. Friend the Member for Southwark (Mr. Gunter) on that occasion had argued strongly for the orderly development of pipelines in the public interest saying that, in his view, this could only properly be done if pipelines were constructed and operated by a public authority. The Minister argued against my hon. Friend and said: It seems sensible that we should leave largely to the initiative of private enterprise the development of this pipeline system, provided—here I hope that I shall carry the hon. Member with me—that there is public control of a recognised plan and pattern, which I think all of us on both sides of the House think is most important."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 27th April, 1961; Vol. 639, c. 722.] The right hon. Gentleman thought at that time that all hon. Members would consider that public control of a recognised plan and pattern was a desirable thing. Unfortunatly, he has omitted to put into the Bill as drafted any proposal to ensure that our pipeline development will be according to such a recognised plan and pattern.

In my Amendment I do not use the words "recognised plan and pattern" but the words "orderly plan and pattern" which, I think, is what the right hon. Gentleman is seeking to convey to us. It is clearly in the public interest that we should want pipeline development to be according to an orderly plan and pattern. Nowhere in the Bill is it said that the Minister will exercise his powers in the public interest. My Amendment gives the right hon. Gentleman an opportunity of doing two things which up to now he has said he wants done. He wants, first, pipeline development to be according to an orderly plan and pattern, and, secondly, to exercise his powers in the public interest.

If he adopts the Amendment he will be writing into the Bill what has been his declared intention on many occasions in the past when we have been discussing pipeline development. The Amendment suggests a way in which the Minister will be able to do this. The Amendment proposes that when this Bill becomes operative—that is to say on the appointed day under Clause 69—he will, as he has told us, receive a large number of applications for pipeline construction authorisations. It would be a great pity if the Minister, having received those applications, were to deal with them as they arise one by one without having a look at a number of applications together. If he wants to have an orderly plan and pattern he must have a number of applications before him to see what is the likely development of pipelines in the foreseeable future.

The Amendment therefore suggests that the Minister should afford those who might wish to construct pipelines a period of three months in Which their applications would be submitted to him, and then the Minister would be able to reach some decision on the applications to enable him to control the development of pipelines according to an orderly plan and pattern as he wishes.

The right hon. Gentleman told us in the Standing Committee that he recognises that in certain cases it will, for instance, be desirable for him to refuse an application from an individual oil company and instead to require the suggested pipeline to be developed by a consortium, because a number of oil companies might require to put pipelines along roughly the same route. There are two or three oil companies with refineries on the north bank of the Thames Estuary, all of which, one would suppose, would want to build a pipeline into London. Indeed, some of them already have pipelines into London. There are two companies in Wales. It is assumed that there will be a pipeline from these existing refineries, and from one that has yet to be built, from Wales to the Midlands and into London, or up to the Merseyside.

The Minister has recognised the desirability of having pipelines according to an orderly plan and pattern, and he has recognised, too, that this is necessary or desirable in the public interest because the land under which the pipelines will be laid will be sterilised for all building. Therefore, instead of having a series of pipelines adjacent one to the other, we want to minimise the sterilisation of land and to have the maximum use made of it. The Minister admitted in the course of our discussions in Standing Committee that in some cases he would prefer the pipeline to be constructed and operated by a consortium, although he steadfastly refused to accept an Amendment to insert the word "consortium". He is sure that his successors in office for all time will always know what was in his mind when the Bill was going through this House.

8.45 p.m.

It will be seen that if the Minister is going to do this job properly from the beginning he must allow some time to elapse after the appointed day before he grants pipeline construction authorisations. My Amendment suggests that the period should be three months. The Amendment provides further that the Minister would not grant any more pipeline construction authorisations until one year after the appointed day unless application was made within the period of three months. The reason for this is fairly obvious. We do not want to ask the companies which will wish to lay down pipelines to put in applications within three months so that they might be considered ail together in order to get an orderly pattern and, at the same time, have someone coming along in four months who thinks that by going out of the queue and staying outside this examination he will have a better chance of having a pipeline of his own.

We want, rather, to encourage those who will put down pipelines to put their applications in within three months of the appointed day, encouraging them to do so by saying that, if they do not do it in three months, there is not much point in their doing it within twelve months. In that way, if there is the advantage to the companies concerned that there is said to be in the putting down of pipelines—this is why the Minister is so anxious to get ahead with the Bill—no great hardship will be caused to anyone by the provision about three months and twelve months in the Amendment.

I hope that the Minister will not say that three months is insufficient time. He will recognise that all he has said about the Bill hitherto has been calculated to convince the House that the applications are already in the offices of the oil companies waiting to be submitted. That is why we had to have a timetable Motion to get the Bill through quickly in this Session of Parliament. That is why, incidentally, we still have 43 Government Amendments to be considered tonight before half-past ten, most of them to Clauses which have never been considered in Committee and which, of course, will never be considered in the House before we complete our consideration of the Bill. All this is forced upon us because there is a great need to enable the companies to get on with the job at an early date.

If all that is so, the period of three months is a reasonable period to grant to the companies to put their applications in and to allow the Minister the consultations with the authorities which he will require in making up his mind about the granting of pipeline construction authorisations. This is a reasonable Amendment. It would be justifiable on its own merits, but it has the added merit of giving effect to a solemn promise given to the House of Commons by the Minister on 27th April last year. I hope that the right hon. Gentleman will have little difficulty in accepting it.

Mr. Warbey

This is one more attempt—one might say one last despairing attempt—on the part of the Opposition to put something into the Bill which will safeguard the public interest in the future development of pipelines in this country. In Committee we made a series of attempts to write into the Bill provisions which would give effect to what the Minister himself had previously proclaimed to be the Government's intention. He assured us that he wanted an orderly pattern of pipelines. He assured us that he wanted it to be in the public interest. He never quite went so far as to say that he thought that the public interest should be paramount, but he implied that the public interest ought to be considered somewhere in the queue. We therefore tried to improve the Bill and to give some teeth to his undertakings.

Our first thought was that the only way to ensure the proper and orderly development of this important new form of transport was to make it subject to control under public ownership. That was rejected by the Government. We then had the idea that at least in interpreting the public interest the Minister should be assisted by an independent committee. That was rejected by the Government. We are not now by the rules of selection, properly exercised—I do not make any complaint about this at all—in a position to make further proposals of that type. We are therefore driven to what is, in effect, the last resort, namely, an attempt to impose a short period of delay during which the Minister can properly exercise the functions which he claims he desires to exercise.

How on earth can we have an orderly development of pipelines in this country unless the Minister, before he takes any decision on any pipeline, has before him all the proposals likely to come forward in the near future? The Minister has decided as the proper form of what he calls Conservative planning that the initiative shall come from the prospective users of the pipelines. He has even gone so far as to say that it is probable that the authorisations will be given to the prospective users of the pipelines. We know that, in fact, the Minister has made up his mind in advance to confer on the great oil companies the benefit of laying down pipelines which will enable them to save very considerable expenses in transportation and to gain very considerable advantages over their competitors, particularly over the smaller oil companies which are, to some extent, beginning to operate in this country.

There is to be a fairly rapid period of development undertaken by people concerned to promote their own user interests. This, curiously enough, is the pattern which was in operation during the early development of the railways. If one goes to the Sun Hotel in Eastwood in my constituency—I advise the Minister to go there sometime; it is not a bad hotel at all—one will see a board room with the table which was used by and the chairs on which sat the first directors of the Midland Railway Company. That was where they founded the Midland Railway. It was founded by coal owners for the purpose of carrying the coals of Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire into Leicestershire in order to compete with the coal owners of Leicestershire. Their only intention at first was to construct a line down to Leicester. That was the beginning of the Midland Railway.

If it had been left to the users to operate it, that is where it would have stuck. They were not interested in a line going right through to London. All that they wanted was a line with a limited purpose to serve their own immediate interests, the development of a semi-monopoly form of transport to enable thorn to sell their goods at the expense of competitors. This is precisely what the oil companies now operating in this country want, and the Minister knows it.

By this Clause the Minister has taken to himself the sole discretion to grant or refuse an application without any conditions or qualifications even about the observance of the public interest, and the question is whether he will exercise this responsibility in the public interest or in the interest of the powerful oil companies which are pressing him, and have been for months, to grant them the concessions which it is in his power to hand out—very profitable concessions indeed.

All that we are able to ask by this suggested Amendment is that there should at least be a period of delay during which the Minister can survey the prospects, the likely applications, the likely developments, and then sort them out and grant his authorisations in such a way as to avoid, if he can, the unnecessary development of pipelines which may not be required, the unnecessary sterilisation of land for pipeline routes and the development of very beneficial monopolies in the hands of a limited number of companies. This is the opportunity which is still being offered to the right hon. Gentleman if he is prepared to accept the Amendment. If he rejects it, we shall know that he has surrendered completely to the powerful oil companies in this country.

Mr. Wood

As the speech of the hon. Member for Hamilton (Mr. T. Fraser) drew to a close I began to have my suspicions that the Amendment was not quite so innocent as he pretended, and those suspicions were heightened by the alacrity with which the hon. Member for Ashfield (Mr. Warbey) jumped to his feet and, to use what I think is the current expression, let the cat out of the bag.

This Amendment—and I think that we should all recognise this—is another attempt to go to the heart of the Bill and discuss the gulf which divides the Conservative Party and the Socialist Party. It is an attempt, because it was so innocently produced by the hon. Member for Hamilton, to force Socialism on the Conservative Party.

Mr. T. Fraser

It is a gulf between promise and performance.

Mr. Wood

I was coming on to explain a promise that I made, and to explain to the hon. Gentleman that my performance exactly accords with it.

The hon. Gentleman said that when I spoke in April, 1961, I mentioned a recognised plan and pattern, and this is exactly what I should like to achieve and what I believe will be achievable under the Bill. The hon. Gentleman's difficulty —and I sympathise with him—is that no doubt when we use words we both mean different things. When he talks about planning he means a sort of grandmotherly oversight of all events which leads to the complete frustration of progress. When I talk about planning I mean knowing what is going to happen and frustrating undesirable developments. The whole intention of the Bill, as was described either by myself or by my noble Friend Lord Chesham, is to prevent pipeline development from making Britain look like a plate of spaghetti. It is to put order into the development of pipelines and to make pipelines accord to a recognised plan and pattern.

9.0 p.m.

The hon. Member for Ashfield treated us to an interesting dissertation of his view of planning as opposed to my view of planning. I am prepared to discuss it with him at some time and I certainly hope to meet him at some occasion at the Sun inn when he can take it further. The House recognises—and I know that the hon. Member for Edinburgh, East (Mr. Willis) recognises, because he has heard me say it a number of times—

Mr. Willis

Too many.

Mr. Wood

Perhaps too many, but I have said it only because the hon. Member has raised the matter so often—he has heard me say that the purpose of the Bill is to establish a recognised plan and pattern both by knowing what is to happen through the pipeline construction authorisations and the notice which has to be given to me, and by my power under the Bill to frustrate undesirable development.

There was a good deal of discussion in Committee about the meaning of "the public interest". It is said that these words do not occur in the Bill. They do not occur in the Bill, but I explained at great length that there are a number of provisions, especially in the Schedules, which force me to act in the public interest by holding inquiries or hearings and considering the reports of the persons who hold the inquiries. That must mean that I must act in the public interest when I have an application of this kind. I am perfectly clear about my own responsibility. I do not want to have a prescribed period during which I have to wait.

What I can assure hon. Members is that I am anxious, in a rather different way from them, to see that it is an orderly, planned pattern. I am not anxious for the Government themselves to take the initiative—this is an argument which we had in Committee—and say where pipelines should run.

Mr. T. Fraser

That does not arise.

Mr. Wood

It certainly would arise if I accepted the Amendment, and I would then have to allow months to expire until I could be sure that I had worked out my blueprint of development, in which case I would then allow the authorisations which accorded with that blueprint of development and refuse those which did not.

Mr. Willis


Mr. Wood

If I have it wrong, no doubt the hon. Member, who has never been inhibited from oratory, will tell me. But I think that I am right. I do mot want to accept the Amendment because I do not want my discretion to refuse or accept authorisations, which I should certainly exercise in the direction of establishing a recognised plan and pattern on the basis of my explanation, to be fettered.

Mr. Fraser

Will the right hon. Gentleman say what delay he thinks would be occasioned by the acceptance of the Amendment, bearing in mind the procedures which must be gone through under the First Schedule?

Mr. Wood

I do not know whether there would be delay or not. What I am suggesting is that if an application is made to me I should like to be free, if I felt that it would not conflict with any other likely development and would be part of a recognised plan and pattern, to accept it. I think that I should be free to accept it. The Amendment would tie my hands and I do not want my hands tied.

Mr. Fraser

The First Schedule does not allow the Minister to accept it. The procedures must be gone through. That takes some time and would be done in this period of three months.

Mr. Willis

The most interesting part of the right hon. Gentleman's speech was that in which he told us that he does not want to be asked to take the initiative. It is a most astonishing docrine that a Government should not be asked to take the initiative. What are the Government supposed to do? The Minister says, "I want to be left to grant authorisations where they are desirable and to stop them where they are not." We already do this with industry, but nobody would suggest that we are getting an orderly pattern of development there. We have spent days in the House telling the Government that that is precisely what we have not got. The right hon. Gentleman himself sat here until three o'clock this morning, listening to speeches telling him that that is precisely what this method of Tory planning does not produce. It may produce a lot of other things, but the one thing that it does not produce is an orderly national plan. It does not even lead to the orderly planning of resources, or anything else. The right hon. Gentleman must recognise that fact by this time.

Why does the right hon. Gentleman think that the Tory Party has been almost wiped out in Scotland? It is precisely because nine out of ten Scottish people reject the right hon. Gentleman's fantastic idea that one can plan without taking any initiative. It is a most absurd doctrine. How can a man do anything without taking some initiative? The right hon. Gentleman has the queerest mixture of ideas that I have heard for a considerable time.

The Minister says—as though it were a terrible crime, and as though we were trying to do it by some sort of backdoor, underhand or subterranean method—that we are reintroducing the great debate on planning. Why should not we? There is nothing very terrible about that. I understood that even the Government had cast a sidelong glance at planning. We have been led to understand that they had got as far as that. Whether they will go any further I do not know. We are here to put forward our ideas, and this debate provides us with an opportunity. One of our ideas is that the Government ought to take the necessary steps to plan pipeline development intelligently, with the greatest conservation of our resources and in the most efficient manner possible to serve all areas of the country.

The right hon. Gentleman will not achieve that simply by this negative method. Scotland will suffer its usual fate. Nothing will be done in Scotland, because it does not pay. We suggest to the right hon. Gentleman that he should take all the plans that he gets in in the first month or two, study them and then come to a decision in accordance with what he believes to be the national interest. What is wrong with that? What procedure is he going to adopt. Let us suppose that he gets twenty applications for pipeline construction in the first few months. Will he take one and say, "I must not look at the other nineteen, but I will accept this one". Will he make a decision about it and, after that, take another plan from its pigeon-hole, study it and so come to another decision? Is that what he is going to do? Or is he going to consider them all and say, "Well, A has asked for permission to construct a pipeline from here to Birmingham. B and somebody else"—perhaps F—"have also asked for a pipeline authorisation from here to Birmingham. I suggest that they take a common route". I presume that that is what he will do. That seems to make sense. That is what my hon. Friend has suggested that the Minister should do. That is what the Amendment says. What is wrong with that?

I should have thought that any intelligent man would have done it in that way. The right hon. Gentleman has himself admitted that it would not cause any delay to do that. Why is there this stubborn hostility to something because it happens to contain the words, "orderly plan", which is anathema to the Tory Party? The Tory Party prefers the chaos of an unplanned society. That is why the countryside is littered with ugliness, squalor and things which ought to have been wiped off the face of the countryside long ago. This private greedy scramble ignores the amenities of the countryside and all other things so long as profit is made. The right hon. Gentleman ought to get a little more up to date. No one will tolerate that kind of thing today, but these ideas still occupy his mind.

We are reaching a situation in which economically we cannot afford to act like that. We cannot afford the wastefulness associated with it. We cannot afford manpower or technical people in this indiscriminate fashion to spend their energies in this way unless we are gradually to fall behind everyone else. It is not efficient to act like this. The Amendment says: For the purpose of enabling the Minister to authorise the construction of pipelines according to an orderly plan … there shall be a delay of three months.

Is it not worth while to wait three months to get orderly development? Is that too big a price to pay, to ask Shell, Esso and all the other big oil companies to wait three months to get orderly development of pipelines? I should have thought not, but apparently the Minister thinks that Esso, Shell and the others are much more important than the public interest. He must be impressed by the towering building which Shell have put up on the other side of the river. It has rather distorted his sense of values. He thinks that Shell and Esso should over-tower the Houses of Parliament.

Mr. Emrys Hughes (South Ayrshire)

They do.

Mr. Willis

My hon. Friend says that they do. I am beginning to think that they do in the mind of the Minister, because he does everything he can to assist them.

We have tried to get something sensible and intelligible into the Bill and this is a final effort. The Minister could have said that he would accept the Amendment. He agrees that it would not make much difference to timing and that the results would be eminently desirable. Why not accept it? It is simply because it contains the word "plan". He leapt to the Dispatch Box with great vigour to say that it is now revealed that this is an underhand method of once again getting a debate on planning, as if that were a terrific crime. What a crime! He was so eager to cut down and slay this dragon of Socialist planning that I do not think he realised what the Amendment meant.

9.15 p.m.

I am quite sure that if the right hon. Gentleman looks at it in a more sober, non-partisan manner, he will realise that he has injected all this political fervour into the debate. My hon. Friend opened in a persuasive, reasonable manner. He pointed out one or two of the implications of it, equally reasonably, in a speech illumined by a rather delightful historical narration on the growth of the Midland Railway Company, which was much appreciated, though he was not allowed to proceed placidly with it.

The right hon. Gentleman has now discovered that this is planning, and I think that he ought to take a little longer and try not to be so politically biased about it. He should try not to be so doctrinaire. I always thought that Tories were not supposed to be doctrinaire, but I know they are, and we get daily examples of it. We have just had one example. The right hon. Gentleman should accept the Amendment. Instead of criticising my hon. Friend, he ought to go to the Box and say, "Thank you very much for this assistance. I am delighted to accept the Amendment, which will be of tremendous value, and I am quite confident that, as a result of accepting the Amendment, I shall be able to plan pipeline development to the benefit of the whole country." That would be very much nearer the truth.

Mr. Ross

I should have thought that the Minister would have thanked the Opposition for this Amendment. To my mind, it would take him out of a dilemma which, probably, his advisers have noticed, though he himself has not noticed it yet. The more I listen to the right hon. Gentleman, the more I am convinced that he knows very little about the problems involved.

One of the reasons which he gave why he could not accept this Amendment was that he is anxious to get on as soon as the Bill reaches the Statute Book. He had better read his own Bill. The one thing he cannot do is authorise any pipelines as soon as the Bill reaches the Statute Book. As far as I can remember, and I only looked at the Bill today, there is only one Clause which comes into operation on the day when the Bill goes on the Statute Book, and it is one relating to the rating of existing pipelines. This Bill does not come into operation and the Minister's powers do not start to flow until such time as the date is fixed by an Order in Council. In other words, there is already a provision in the Bill giving him temporal latitude in respect of this, and quite rightly, if there is any justice in the pretensions which he has occasionally made.

The only safeguards he has are not in the First Schedule at all, and certainly not in the public inquiries about which he spoke. If the right hon. Gentleman reads the First Schedule in regard to public inquiries he will see that they relate to objections by local people only at the planning stage. What we are talking about are not objections at the planning stage but objections in principle in regard to the desirability of having that pipeline or a different kind of pipeline, or a pipeline in a different place altogether. The Minister certainly has the right, if there are no objections at that stage, of ordering a public inquiry, but if he had made up his mind on the desirability of having a pipeline under the First Schedule without any public inquiry, he then withholds the authorisation. So far as I can see, his discretionary power rests on Clauses 9 and 10, which recognise that there is a difficulty.

Clause 9 states that certain power is given to the Minister in order to stop the duplication or proliferation of pipelines. Clause 10 states the same thing in relation to the use of pipelines. How is the Minister to decide about that? Against what background of knowledge? This is not existing knowledge It is projecting into the future and estimating what is likely to be the demand in respect of pipelines. Is not it about time that the Minister stopped this nonsense about sneering at planning? Although he is a "pre-massacre" man, to my mind he is a "delayed massacre" man.

Mr. Willis

He was saved by the Guillotine.

Mr. Ross

Yes, that is the case. He was saved by the Guillotine.

For whatever other reasons the former Chancellor of the Exchequer was removed from office, it was not because he was the first on the Government Front Bench to start talking about planning and the desirability of planning. It was for some other reason. I hope that the right hon. Gentleman did notice one sacking, that of the former Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister of Housing and Local Government— the man who talked sneeringly in a celebrated broadcast about "throwing a planner in the works." The Tory Party is getting rid of its anti-planning past, and the Minister ought to get up to date.

What objection has he to this Amendment? It lays on the Minister an obligation that there shall be an orderly planning of these new pipelines and gives three months to gather applications and sort them out. Within that time the Minister must look at his powers under Clauses 9 and 10 and decide whether he should authorise. Whether he likes it or not, the Minister will need the three months. It would be fair of him to tall the country that he proposes to try to do something decent about it. He has referred to foisting Socialism on the Conservative Party. According to what one sees on the Government Front Bench after the events of last week one might think it possible to foist almost anything on the Conservative Party.

No one would describe this Bill as a Measure of Socialism. Whether they are laid in this place or that, or whether it be this kind of pipeline or another kind, all the pipelines will be privately-owned. There are still to be the favoured companies. The pipelines will not be owned by the Minister. They will be run and used for private profit. There is no sense of nationalisation in this. If we had our way we should probably have had a desirable extension of nationalisation into this sphere. All we want is planned development of pipelines. Is there any hon. Member opposite who would object to that? [HON. MEMBERS: "They are not present."] There are one or two hon. Members on the benches opposite. In Scotland we have a saying Guid gear goes into wee buik. It may be that all the most powerful hon. Members opposite are present. If those present were prepared to support this Amendment, we might get some sense into the Minister. The right hon. Gentleman at present relies on his absent majority to appear in time to walk through the Division Lobby. He is sheltering under the shadow of the Guillotine. It is a very comforting thing for a Minister, is the Guillotine. He can remain as wise as his silence will allow him.

No one will deny that the provisions in this Amendment are desirable. We must have some consideration about a desirable blueprint relating to the projected needs of the country. Without it, all the pretences of the Minister are pretty empty. If the right hon. Gentleman looks at his powers under Clauses 9 and 10 and how they will be administered he will find that it is a case of "First come, first served". The first people to come will be those who put pressure on the Government. They are the same people who were the first to tie up the Government with relation to monopolies at London Airport. They are not asleep when it comes to the use of the powers of this House. We used to talk about jobs for the boys.

Mr. Speaker

Order. Guillotine or no Guillotine, the hon. Member must direct himself a little more to the Amendment.

Mr. Ross

I am trying to suggest to the right hon. Gentleman that he should pay a little more attention to the public interest and a little less attention to the interests of the oil companies which bring pressure on the Government. That is a fair comment and certainly put very shortly for me.

Mr. A. P. Costain (Folkestone and Hythe)

The hon. Member for Kilmarnock (Mr. Ross) did not have the benefit, as I did, of attending the Pipelines Committee night and day and day and night. He did not have the opportunity of hearing the hon. Member for Ashfield (Mr. Warbey) indulging in bis usual delaying tactics. This Amendment is the delaying Amendment of all delaying Amendments. It is the perfect Amendment of Socialist planning: let us put the eggs in the basket for three months and sit on them, and if they are not addled, it will work. If planning means only putting things in a pigeonhole—and goodness knows the Ministry can do that without support from the House—then it has little purpose.

We have heard throughout the debate that this is a glorious honeymoon for the oil companies. My own view is that once again the Opposition are quite mistaken. I believe that the oil companies do not welcome this Measure, which allows transportation to be done by combines and transport companies in the same way as the railways. In some ways this will break into the monopoly of the oil companies. These companies have their own methods of transport; they have tankers on the road and tanker fleets at sea, and under this Bill they will meet competition. I do not think that any delay of this sort will have any planning sense at all. It is simply a further desire of the Opposition to have one final crack at stopping the Bill. I believe that the Bill will be of benefit to the public and to the consumers.

Mr. Eric Lubbock (Orpington)

The speech of the hon. Member for Folkestone and Hythe (Mr. Costain) seemed to be more about eggs and fleets at sea than about the Amendment. May I refer to the Amendment? If it is considered without prejudice—and we have heard a great deal of prejudce from hon. Members who have spoken—the conclusion must be reached that the Amendment should be rejected. I will explain why.

When the day appointed by the Order in Council under Clause 69 arrives, a number of applications will be submitted to the Minister. I do not know how many. But probably the Minister can tell us. There may be many applications waiting art this very moment; there may be queues at the door waiting for the day to arrive. When the applications are submitted, one of the things which the applicant is required to do under paragraph 3 (2, a) of the First Schedule is to publish a notice in the London Gazette containing the details of the application. I am sure that the hon. Member for Edinburgh, Bast (Mr. Willis) will be pleased to observe, if he has not already done so—

Mr. Willis

I have.

9.30 p.m.

Mr. Lubbock

—that in paragraph (b) the notice has to be published in the Edinburgh Gazette where the pipeline is placed within Scotland. I should have thought that the preparation of an application for a pipeline construction authorisation would be a long process and that on this day there will be certain applications submitted to the Minister and certain other applications which, without meaning to use an unpleasant pun, will be in the pipeline. People who are about to put in applications will see the notices published in the Gazettes. They will then be able to say to the Minister, "We observe that a pipeline is being put from London to Birmingham. We are about to submit an application to you to cover the same route". Therefore, the Minister will be able to control the initial development of pipelines by this means, because these people are bound to inform him when they see the applications published in the London Gazette or the Edinburgh Gazette relating to routes which they intend to follow. That is my first argument.

My second argument is equally important. If I understand the hon. Member for Hamilton (Mr. T. Fraser) correctly, he is thinking in terms of having a very large number of applications submitted in the initial stages, whereas I have been given to understand that this number need not be very large but that over a period of years there could be an equal number in each year. Therefore, the hon. Member will not achieve the end he seeks to achieve, which is the comprehensive planning of pipelines throughout the country as a whole. Of the total number of pipelines which will exist, in, say 20 to 25 years, only a very small fraction would be covered by applications submitted in the first year. If the Amendment were accepted, we would merely bring into the net of those which are examined by the Minister in the initial stages ones which would otherwise be submitted in the first year. The effect of the Amendment would be to cause applicants to submit within three months any application which otherwise might have been delayed till some time during the remainder of the year, because otherwise they would miss the net.

Therefore, the Minister will not be able to develop a comprehensive plan for pipelines throughout the whole country merely by means of the Amendment, because of the very small fraction of the ultimate network which would be covered by applications submitted to him within the first three months.

These are sufficient reasons for rejecting the Amendment. I have tried to rule out any idea that my reasoning is connected with planning. I say clearly here and now that I am entirely in favour of national planning and think that pipelines should be integrated with the rest of our transport network, but I do not believe that we shall achieve that end by the Amendment.

Mr. T. Fraser

I was very disappointed that the Minister returned to the tactics he employed in Committee of completely disregarding the case made for the Amendment and indulging in setting up dollies which he conveniently knocked down. The Minister pretended that the effect of the Amendment would be to cause quite unjustifiable delay in the granting of pipeline construction authorisations. Does he really believe that? Does he not know that when he receives an application, which he cannot receive until after the appointed day, he has to give his preliminary consideration to the application? At that stage he may refuse it. He can grant it. He may refuse it or he may allow it to proceed.

If the Minister allows it to proceed, the applicant is required to advertise in the Gazette and has to give a period of not less than four weeks for objections to be made to the Minister to the granting of the application. The Minister then has to consider the objections. He may be obliged to refer some of them to a public inquiry, while he may have others dealt with at a public inquiry without being statutorily obliged to do so. It is unthinkable that any application could be granted within a minimum period of two months, and I should think that it would be very difficult, indeed, for it to be granted within three months. Three months is the period written into this Amendment, which the Minister rejects on the grounds that it may cause unnecessary delay.

During the Committee proceedings, the Minister brought in a new Clause which allowed him to delay the construction of a pipeline if the authorising of the construction might interfere with the grouse shooting or the fiox hunting—

Mr. Willis

Or the salmon fishing.

Mr. Fraser

Yes, or the salmon fishing—or the taking of pheasant or partridge. He put into the Bill what is now Clause 13, which gives him powers to attach conditions to the granting of a compulsory rights order … with respect to … the manner, method or timing of the execution of pipe-line works … and explained that it was done in response to the sporting interests, which wanted him to have that power. So a Minister who will not agree to this Amendment on the grounds that it might delay the construction of the pipeline— even though I have shown that it could not possibly do so—nevertheless agreed that a pipeline so urgently required in the economic interests of the nation might be put off until the fox hunting, or the salmon fishing or the grouse shooting was over. That is the kind of Minister we have. He believes in planning all right.

Acceptance of the Amendment would give just a little comfort to those who have given their working lives to the construction of pipelines both here and overseas. They are alarmed at the prospect of the Minister just considering each application as it comes in and saying "Yea" or "Nay" on its merits. The people who are in this business do not want to see the folly of the railways repeated in the development of pipelines, but want the Minister to get off to a good start.

I realise that this Amendment would apply only to the first batch of applications and would not be applicable one year after the coming into operation of this Measure. It would not, therefore, affect the position two, ten, or twenty years hence. If the Amendment is written into the Bill, Parliament will be seen to be concerned that there should be an orderly development of pipelines, which is rather important, and to be desirous of the Minister exercising his powers in the public interest, which is also a good thing.

If the Minister starts his function under the Bill, when it is enacted, in accordance with the proposals in this Amendment he will consider the applications that will come in respect of given routes. I do not think that there will be 20 applications in the first few months; the number might be nearer ten, or even less—eight or six—in the first three months. I think that I know the routes in respect of which the applications will be made, and I have mentioned them many times during our proceedings.

A good many of us have been privileged to discuss these matters with the oil companies. They have told us what they have in mind. We know the kind of applications that they have in mind, unless they are deliberately misleading us, which I do not believe for a moment. I know that some of them want to build their own pipelines. This Bill was introduced because the Minister had reached the view by the time we had passed the Esso Bill that there had been enough of these individual Private Bills and that pipeline development had reached such dimensions that it had to be controlled by the Minister. That is why I quoted what the Minister said on 27th April last year. He said that we must not proceed with the Trunk Pipelines Bill. We must have this matter dealt with in public general legislation so that the Minister might see that the pipelines were developed in an orderly fashion. Incidentally, at that time he thought that every decision of the Minister on the granting of pipeline authorisation should be subject to Parliamentary control—another promise broken. There is no Parliamentary control.

This was the whole case for rejecting the trunk pipeline proposal—that there should be this orderly development of the pipelines and that it should be in the public interest. That is precisely what we are discussing now. The Minister by rejecting this Amendment has made clear to us that he subscribes to the view of the oil companies which say that the pipeline is merely an extension of the refinery. They do not regard the development of pipelines as something which should be done in the public interest or necessarily in any orderly fashion determined by the Minister. They regard the pipeline as being an extension of the refinery, which they should be permitted to make if it is to their economic advantage to do so.

This is exactly what was done by the coal companies a century ago when they decided to open some railways as an extension of the coal mines, as described by my hon. Friend the Member for Ashfield (Mr. Warbey). Now the Minister sits back in the second half of the twentieth century and says that he is not prepared to take the power to prevent all this happening again, all this sorry business that we had in regard to the railways. The Minister is not keeping the promise that he made to the House—he knows that. He has told us during the consideration of the Bill what he personally has in mind. Nobody in the House can be sure that the Minister will be the Minister when the appointed day comes. There is every reason to believe that but for the Guillotine and the Pipe-lines Bill he would not be the Minister today. The right hon. Gentleman knows it. In these circumstances, it is for Parliament to write into the Bill the consideration which Parliament thinks any Minister should have in mind in dealing with this Bill. If we are not to have an Amendment like this, we ought not to have the Bill at all. The whole object of the Bill is to ensure the orderly development of pipelines in the public interest. That has been the justification for bringing an end to the practice of private Acts for individual oil companies.

Despite all this, here we are, a few minutes before the Guillotine falls, finding the Minister stubbornly resisting a proposition to put into the Bill a provision which he said 15 months ago was central to the passage of public general legislation in this field. I very much hope that all hon. Members who take the view that there was need for this kind of legislation governing pipelines will recognise that this need can only be satisfied by inserting the Amendment in the Bill.

Question put, That those words be there inserted in the Bill: —

The House divided: Ayes 160, Noes 224.

Division No. 256.] AYES [9.46 p.m.
Ainsley, William Harper, Joseph Owen, Will
Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.) Hart, Mrs. Judith Paget, R. T.
Allen, Scholefield (Crewe) Hayman, F. H. Pannell, Charles (Leeds, W.)
Awbery, Stan Henderson, Rt. Hn. Arthur (Rwly Regis) Pargiter, R. G.
Bacon, Miss Alice Herbison, Miss Margaret Parker, John
Baxter, William (Stirlingshire, W.) Hill, J. (Midlothian) Pearson, Arthur (PontyPridd)
Beaney, Alan Hilton, A. V. Peart, Frederick
Bennett, J. (Glasgow, Bridgeton) Holman, Percy Popplewell, Ernest
Blackburn, F. Houghton, Douglas Prentice, R. E.
Blyton, William Howell, Denis (Small Heath) Rankin, John
Bottomley, Rt. Hon. A. G. Hoy, James H. Redhead, E. C.
Bowden, Rt. Hn. H. W. (Leics.S.W.) Hughes, Cledwyn (Anglesey) Reynolds, G. W.
Bowles, Frank Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayrshire) Roberts, Albert (Normanton)
Boyden, James Hunter, A. E. Roberts, Coronwy (Caernarvon)
Braddock, Mrs. E. M. Hynd, H (Accrington) Robertson, John (Palsley)
Bray, Dr. Jeremy Hynd, John (Attercliffe) Rodgers, W. T. (Stockton)
Brockway, A. Fenner Irvine, A. J. (Edge Hill) Ross, William
Brown, Thomas (Ince) Irving, Sydney (Dartford) Short, Edward
Butler, Herbert (Hackney, C.) Janner Sir Barnett Silverman, Julius (Aston)
Castle, Mrs. Barbara Jay, Rt. Hon. Douglas Silverman, Sydney (Nelson)
Chapman, Donald Jenkins, Roy (Stetchford) Skeffington, Arthur
Cliffe, Michael Johnson, Carol (Lewisham, S.) Slater, Mrs. Hariet (Stoke, N.)
Craddock, George (Bradford, S.) Jones, Rt. Hn. A. Creech (Wakefield) Slater, Joseph (Sedgefield)
Cronin, John Jones, Dan (Burnley) Small, William
Cullen, Mrs. Alice Jones, Jack (Rotherham) Smith, Ellis (Stoke, S.)
Dalyell, T Jones, T. w. (Merioneth) Snow, Julian
Darling, George Kelley, Richard Sorensen, R. W.
Davies, G. Elfed (Rhondda, E.) Kenyon, Clifford Spriggs, Leslie
Davies, Harold (Leek) Key, Rt. Hon. C. W. Steele, Thomas
Deer, George King, Dr. Horace Stonehouse, John
Dempsey, James Lawson, George Stones, William
Diamond, John
Dodds, Norman Ledger, Ron Swain, Thomas
Donnelly, Desmond Lee, Frederick (Newton) Swingler, Stephen
Dugdale, Rt. Hon. John Lever, L. M. (Ardwick) Taverne, D.
Ede, Rt. Hon, C. Lewis, Arthur (West Ham, N.) Taylor, Bernard (Mansfield)
Edelman, Maurice MacColl, James Thomas George (Cardiff, W.)
Edwards, Rt. Hon. Ness (Caerphilly) McInnes, James Thornton, Ernest
Edwards, Robert (Bilston) McKay, John (Wallsend) Tomney, Frank
Edwards, Walter (Stepney) McLeavey, Frank Wainwright, Edwin
Evans, Albert MacPherson, Malcolm (Stirling) Warbey, William
Finch, Harold Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg) Watkins, Tudor
Foot, Dingle (Ipswich) Manuel, Archie Weitzman, David
Forman, J. C. Mapp, Charles Whitlock, William
Fraser, Thomas (Hamilton) Marsh, Richard Wilkins, W. A.
Galpern, Sir Myer Mason, Roy Willey, Frederick
Ginsburg, David Mendelson, J. J. Williams, D. J. (Neath)
Gordon Walker, Rt. Hon. P. C. Millan, Bruce Williams, LI. (Abertillery)
Gourlay, Harry Monslow, Walter Williams, W. R. (Openshaw)
Greenwood, Anthony Morris, John Willis, E. G. (Edinburgh, E.)
Grey, Charles Moyle, Arthur Woodburn, Rt. Hon. A.
Griffiths, David (Rother valley) Mulley, Frederick Yates, Victor (Ladywood)
Gunter, Ray Noel-Baker, Rt. Hn. Philip (Derby, S.)
Hall, Rt. Hn. Glenvil (Colne Valley) Oram, A. E. TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Hannan, William Oswald, Thomas Dr. Broughton and
Mr. Ifor Davies.
Aitken, W. T. Brooman-White, R. Crawley, Aidan
Allason, James Brown, Alan (Tottenham) Critchley, Julian
Atkins, Humphrey Browne, Percy (Torrington) Curran, Charles
Balniel, Lord Bryan, Paul Currie, G. B. H.
Barlow, Sir John Buck, Antony Dalkeith, Earl of
Barter, John Bullard, Denys Dance, James
Batsford, John Campbell, Gordon (Moray & Nairn) d'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Sir Henry
Baxter, Sir Beverley (Southgate) Carr, Compton (Barons Court) Deedes, Rt. Hon. W. F.
Beamish, Col. Sir Tufton Cary, Sir Robert de Ferranti, Basil
Bell, Ronald Clark, William (Nottingham, S,) Digby, Simon Wingfield
Berkeley, Humphry Clarke, Brig. Terence (Portsmth, W.) Donaldson, Cmdr, C. E. M.
Bevins, Rt. Hon. Reginald Cole, Norman du Cann, Edward
Bidgood, John C. Collard, Richard Duncan, Sir James
Biffen, John Cooke, Robert Elliot, Capt. Walter (Carshalton)
Bishop, F. P. Cooper, A. E. Elliott, R. W. (Nwcastle-upon-Tyne, N.)
Black, Sir Cyril Cordeaux, Lt.-Col. J. K. Emery, Peter
Bossom, Clive Corfield, F. V. Errington, Sir Eric
Box, Donald Costain, A. P. Farr, John
Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hon John Coulson, Michael Finlay, Graeme
Brewis, John Craddock, Sir Beresford Fletcher-Cooke, Charles
Forrest, George Longbottom, Charles Roots, William
Fraser, Ian (Plymouth, Sutton) Longden, Gilbert Ropner, Col. Sir Leonard
Freeth, Denzil Loveys, Walter H. Royle, Anthony (Richmond, Surrey)
Gammans, Lady Lubbock, Eric Russell, Ronald
Gardner, Edward Lucas, Sir Jocelyn St. Clair, M.
Gibson-Watt, David Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh Scott-Hopkins, James
Gilmour, Sir John McAdden, Sir Stephen Sharples, Richard
Glover, Sir Douglas Maclay, Rt. Hon. John Shaw, M.
Glyn, Dr. Alan (Clapham) Maclean, Sir Fitzroy (Bute&N. Ayrs.) Smith, Dudley (Br'ntf'd & Chiswick)
Glyn, Sir Richard (Dorset, N.) Macleod, Rt. Hn. lain (Enfield, W.) Smyth, Rt. Hon. Brig. Sir John
Goodhart, Philip McMaster, Stanley R.. Stanley, Hon. Richard
Gower, Raymond Macmillan, Rt. Hn. Harold (Bromley) Stevens, Geoffrey
Gresham Cooke, R. Macmillan, Maurice (Halifax) Steward, Harold (Stockport, S.)
Grimond, Rt. Hon. J. Macpherson, Rt. Hn. Niall (Dumfries) Stodart, J. A.
Gurden, Harold Maginnis, John E. Stoddart-Scott, Col. Sir Malcolm
Hamilton, Michael (Wellingborough) Maitland, Sir John Studholme, Sir Henry
Harris, Reader (Heston) Markham, Major Sir Frank Summers, Sir Spencer
Harrison, Col. Sir Harwod (Eye) Marples, Rt. Hon. Ernest Talbot, John E.
Harvery, Sir Arthur Vere (Macclesf'd) Mathew, Robert (Honlton) Tapsell, Peter
Harvey, John (Wal hamstow, E.) Maxwell-Hyslop, R. J. Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne)
Harvie Anderson, Miss Maydon, Lt.-Cmdr. S. L. C. Taylor, Frank (M'ch'st'r, Moss Side)
Hastings, Stephen Mills, Stratton Taylor, W. J. (Bradford, N.)
Hay, John
Heald, Rt. Hon. Sir Llonel Moore, Sir Thomas (Ayr) Teeling, Sir William
Henderson, John (Cathcart) More, Jasper (Ludlow) Temple, John M.
Hendry, Forbes Morgan, William Thatcher, Mrs. Margaret
Hiley, Joseph Morrison, John Thomas, Leslie (Canterbury)
Hill, Mrs. Eveline (Wythenshawe) Mott-Radclyffe, Sir Charles Thompson, Richard (Croydon, S.)
Hill, J. E. B. (S. Norfolk) Nabarro, Gerald Thornton-Kemsley, Sir Colin
Hirst Geoffrey Nicholls, Sir Harmar Tiley, Arthur (Bradford, W.)
Hocking, Philip N. Nicholson, Sir Godfrey Touche, Rt. Hon. Sir Gordon
Holland, Philip Noble, Rt. Hon. Michael Tweedsmuir, Lady
Hope, Rt. Hon. Lord John Osborn, John (Hallam) van Straubenzee, W. R.
Hopkins, Alan Osborne, Sir Cyril (Louth) Vaughan-Morgan, Rt. Hon. Sir John
Hornby, R. P. Page, Graham (Crosby) Vickers, Miss Joan
Howard, Hon. G. R. (St. Ives) Panneil, Norman (Kirkdale) Vosper, Rt. Hon. Dennis
Partridge, E.
Hughes Hallett, Vice-Admiral John Pearson, Frank (Clitheroe) Wade, Donald
Hughes-Young, Michael Peel, John Wakefield, Sir Wavell
Hulbert, Sir Norman Percival Ian Walker, Peter
Hutchison, Michael Clark Peyton John Walker-Smith, Rt. Hon. Sir Derek
Iremonger, T. L. Pickthorn, Sir Kenneth Wall, Patrick
Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye) Pike, Miss Mervyn Ward, Dame Irene
James, David Pilkington, Sir Richard Whitelaw, William
Johnson, Dr. Donald (Carlisle) Pitman, Sir James Williams, Dudley (Exeter)
Johnson, Eric (Blackley) Pitt, Dame Edith Wills, Sir Gerald (Bridgwater)
Kaberry, Sir Donald Pott, Percivall Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)
Kerans, Cdr. J. S. Powell, Rt. Hon. J. Enoch Wise, A. R.
Kerby, Capt. Henry Prior, J. M. L. Wolrige-Gordon, Patrick
Kerr, Sir Hamilton Proudfoot, Wilfred Wood, Rt. Hon. Richard
Kirk, Peter Pym, Francis Woodhouse, C. M.
Lagden, Godfrey Ramsden, James Woodnutt, Mark
Langford-Holt, Sir John Redmayne, Rt. Hon. Martin Woollam, John
Leburn, Gilmour Rees, Hugh Worsley, Marcus
Lilley, F. J. P. Renton, Rt. Hon. David
Lindsay, Sir Martin Ridley, Hon. Nicholas TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Linstead, Sir Hugh Roberts, Sir Peter (Heeley) Mr. Chichester-Clarke and
Mr. McLaren.


Mr. T. Fraser

I beg to move in page 6, line 12, at the end, to insert: and the provisions of this section shall be without prejudice to any other remedy which may be available to any person in relation to the works or the execution of the works". We had a short discussion in Committee about this Amendment. My recollection is that I withdrew my Amendment at that time after the Minister had promised to look into the matter again between then and now.

Subsection (5) at present provides: The service of a notice under subsection (1) of this section in consequence of a contraven- tion of either of the subsections therein mentioned shall be without prejudice to the taking of proceedings under the subsection in question in respect of the contravention. I should have thought that that might be taken for granted and that it was unnecessary to write such words into the Bill at all. However, since words have been written into the Bill saying that the exercise of the Minister's power to serve a notice on the owner of a pipeline or a person who has constructed works in contravention of Clause 1 will not save him from being proceeded against in court, it seems to me to be necessary to put in the further provision contained in the Amendment that any action taken under this Clause will not prejudice the right of any person who suffers damage to claim compensation. [Interruption.] I have the impression that we now have the company of some hon. Members who are not very capable of listening to what is being said about these Amendments. I hope that I have made my position clear. The Minister knows the point. He listened to what I said in Committee and he undertook to look at the matter again.

Mr. Peyton

I do not complain that the hon. Member for Hamilton (Mr. T. Fraser) should now complain that we have in the Bill what is unnecessary whereas he and his hon. Friends during most of the debate today have been trying to put into the Bill things which we believe to be unnecessary. This is a reversal. However, my advice to the House must be the same as it has been on other occasions.

Mr. Willis


10.0 p.m.

Mr. Peyton

The last person to be surprised about that should be the hon. Member for Edinburgh, East (Mr. Willis). The hon. Gentleman said that my right hon. Friend was aware of the point because it had been discussed fully in Committee and that my right hon. Friend undertook to consider it further. This he has done, and, as the hon. Gentleman will recall, he wrote him a letter dealing fairly fully with the subject.

Clause 4 (5) clears up any doubt as to whether the Minister, being able to take action under this Clause, can also take it under Clauses 1 and 2. It is desirable that there should be no doubt about this. I know that it may be asked why it is necessary to protect people who suffer where someone carries out a removal and not where someone carries out the initial works. It is clear that if anyone goes on to land without an authorisation and carries out works of pipeline construction he does so as a trespasser, and there will be a full remedy against him.

What is not so clear—it is important that it should be made clear—is that where—[Interruption.] I was confining my remarks to England. I admit there is such a thing in Scotland as a delict.

Mr. Willis

Dear me!

Mr. Peyton

I am not here, fortunately, to instruct the hon. Gentleman in Scottish law.

Mr. Ross

Is the hon. Gentleman satisfied that the law as it affects Scotland is right?

Mr. Peyton

I am not concerned with that point at the moment.

Provision for compensation is necessary in the case of removal which, because it is required, might be taken to be authorised. For that reason, we believe that the subsection is necessary. I think that the point of the hon. Member for Hamilton was fairly fully met in the letter which my right hon. Friend wrote to him following his undertaking given in Committee. I hope that the hon. Member will consider withdrawing the Amendment.

Mr. Willis

Before my hon. Friend the Member for Hamilton (Mr. T. Fraser) withdraws the Amendment, if that is his intention, may we have a word or two about the law in Scotland on this matter? Of course, I am always willing to learn the law in Scotland, but I am not sure that the Parliamentary Secretary is competent to teach it to me. It seems to me that this is a case in which we should have the advice of the Lord Advocate.

Mr. Peyton

Let me make this perfectly clear. I do not wish to teach the hon. Gentleman the law in Scotland. Nor am I qualified to do that. I am always very willing to have a word or two with the hon. Gentleman on almost any subject, but it is quite beyond the reach of my hope to think that that conversation could be so narrowly bound.

Mr. Willis

As I say, it seems to me that this is a case in which we should have the advice of the Lord Advocate. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."] I am surprised at hon. Members opposite. They greet mention of the Lord Advocate with hoots of derision. Surely they have more confidence in their own Ministers than that.

Mr. Ross

They do not even know who he is.

Mr. Willis

This is typical of what has happened throughout the Bill. We are here dealing with remedies at law, and the Parliamentary Secretary talks in terms about which we in Scotland know nothing. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."] There is no law of trespass in Scotland. We do not know anything about this. Therefore, would not it have been a good thing to have a Scottish Law Officer here? We have not had one during the whole of the Bill's proceedings.

Mr. T. Fraser

The hon. Gentleman has made it extremely difficult for me to withdraw the Amendment, because he said that although he was not able to discuss the law of Scotland he had described the law of England wish regard to trespass. This Bill applies equally to Scotland as to England. The hon. Gentleman said that we should leave aside the Scottish point because it was not for him to give information about it, but equally he has no responsibility to instruct us in the law of England.

The hon. Gentleman further assumed that because his right hon. Friend had written me a letter I must be satisfied, but there must be many hon. Members who have received letters from Ministers and felt far from satisfied with the explanations they were given. The hon. Gentleman did not seem to follow my argument. My proposal would not have been necessary if the Minister had not decided to write in subsection (5).

Mr. Peyton

The hon. Gentleman is misconstructing what I said. I referred him to a letter which had been written by my right hon. Friend, and which I considered to be admirably satisfactory. Neither my right hon. Friend nor I are such starry-eyed optimists as to think that the hon. Gentleman would be satisfied by any letter.

Mr. Fraser

We all know that as long as the hon. Gentleman is Parliamentary Secretary he will think that anything said by his right hon. Friend is right. Yet when he was on the second bench below the Gangway he thought that everything said by the Minister was wrong. His general opinion cuts no ice with anybody in the House.

In all the circumstances, I think that we had better dispose of this Amendment and proceed to the next one.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.


Mr. Peyton

I beg to move, in page 6, line 14, after "authorisation", to insert: or serving a notice under the last foregoing section".

Mr. Speaker

I think that it would be for the convenience of the House to consider with this Amendment the following: In page 6, line 28, leave out "or renewing" and insert "renewing or removing". In page 23, line 35 [Clause 21], at end insert: (4) Subsection (1) of section five of this Act shall have effect where a notice is served under subsection (1) of this section as it has effect where a notice is served under section four of this Act with the substitution, for the reference to the removal of the works required by the notice to be removed, of a reference to the removal of the works or length of line required by the notice to be removed.

Mr. Peyton


I hope that I can restore a little cordiality to the atmosphere between the hon. Member for Hamilton (Mr. T. Fraser) and myself. These Amendments have been put down following an undertaking given by my right hon. Friend in Committee on 5th June. I hope that the hon. Gentleman will think that on the whole these Amendments are more satisfactory than the one he tabled.

The object of the Amendment is to ensure that removal of a pipeline shall be deemed not to involve the development of land for the purpose of the Town and Country Planning Act.

Mr. Lee

On a point of order. Mr. Speaker, may I be told again which Amendments we are discussing?

Mr. Speaker

The Amendment in page 6, line 14, is the Amendment which we are discussing, and I thought that it would be for the convenience of the House—if it is not I do not suggest it further—if we considered with it the Amendment in page 6, line 28, and, more doubtfully, the Amendment in page 23, line 35.

Mr. Lee

I was wondering whether the Amendment in page 6, line 19, after "1947", insert or, as the case may be, in so far as the removal of the works required by the notice to be removed, or any change in the use of land which is involved in the removal, constitutes such development,". came in the same category.

Mr. Speaker

If the House so wishes, it is all right with me, but I was not otherwise proposing to include it.

Mr. Peyton

That would be convenient, Mr. Speaker.

The hon. Gentleman rightly pointed out that an absurd and ludicrous situation would arise if the Minister exercised his power under Clause 4 to require the removal of a pipeline constructed in contravention of either Clause 1 or Clause 2, and the local planning authority then refused to give permission for the work to be done.

I think that my right hon. Friend explained to the Committee at the time that if the Amendment proposed were carried out in the way suggested by the hon. Gentleman, it would not be very satisfactory. The removal of a pipeline by an owner when he is not obliged to remove it is something for which planning permission is required. If the owner of a pipeline removes a pipeline without being under a direction from the Minister to do so, then this should be an operation for which planning permission is required. If the Amendment were carried out in the way proposed by the hon. Member for Newton (Mr. Lee), this desirable objective would not be secured. So I rather hope that this can be one instance of co-operation between the Government and the Opposition.

Mr. Lee

It was because of the connection between my Amendment and the Government Amendment that I thought it would be convenient to discuss them together. We had this discussion in Committee and I am glad that on this occasion the thinking of the Opposition has been made clear to the Minister and that he has accepted it. The Government Amendments cover the point we had in mind, and we are grateful to the Government for including it.

Amendment agreed to.

Further Amendment made: In page 6, line 19, after "1947", insert: or, as the case may be, in so far as the removal of the works required by the notice to be removed, or any change in the use of land which is involved in the removal, constitutes such development,".—[Mr. Peyton.]


Mr. Wood

I beg to move, in page 7, line 16, to leave out "less than" and to insert "not exceeding".

With this Amendment goes that in page 7, line 22, to leave out "less than" and to insert "not exceeding".

These Amendments give effect to an undertaking given in Committee by my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Public Building and Works on 5th June, when he promised to consider the rather esoteric point raised by the hon. Member for Hamilton (Mr. T. Fraser), which was that as drafted Clause 7 would not cover pipelines which were exactly 10 miles, not an inch more nor an inch less. I do not think that it is a very practical point, but it is one with which the Bill ought to deal, because Clause 65 defines a cross-country pipeline as a pipe-line whose length exceeds, or is intended to exceed, ten miles while a local pipeline means a pipe-line other than a cross-country one. In Clause 7, a local pipeline exactly ten miles long linked on to an existing pipeline would not have its length aggregated with that of the existing line, and would therefore be treated as a local pipeline when it was intended that it should be treated as a cross-country pipeline. I hope that I make myself quite clear to the House.

I should like to acknowledge the help which I have had in drafting this Amendment from the hon. Member for Hamilton. The Amendments are similar to those put down by the hon. Member, but which were a little late to get into our discussions upstairs—I think that that was procedurally the position. I hope that the House will accept them and will accept my expression of gratitude to the hon. Member.

10.15 p.m.

Mr. T. Fraser

I am grateful to the right hon. Gentleman. My recollection is that I did not write out my Amendment on paper and submit it in Committee. I believe that I made the suggestion in the course of my speech. I pointed out that inasmuch as cross-country pipelines were pipelines exceeding 10 miles in length, and that Clause 7 ought to deal with local pipelines, it was a mistake to describe them as pipelines less than 10 miles in length. I pointed out that a pipeline which was exactly 10 miles in length was neither one nor the other.

The right hon. Gentleman will remember that the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Public Building and Works became terribly confused, and led us to imagine pipelines being measured hot and cold, and sometimes being more than 10 miles in length and sometimes less. At that time I was not concerned with the question of pipelines expanding in the heat and contracting in the cold. I pointed out that if the Bill was to make sense we should take out the phrase "less than" and insert "not exceeding", and I am grateful to the night hon. Gentleman for making the Bill look a little more sensible in this respect.

Amendment agreed to.

Further Amendment made: In page 7, line 22, leave out "less than" and insert "not exceeding".—[Mr. Wood.]


Amendment proposed: In page 7, line 38, leave out "practical" and insert "practicable".—[Mr. Wood.]

Mr. Warbey

The Minister is being very helpful and considerate towards the Opposition. Will not he consider replacing the word "effectual" by the word "effective"?

Amendment agreed to.

Amendment proposed: In page 8, line 4, at end insert "last".—[Mr. Wood.]

Mr. Lee

We congratulate the Minister on becoming a little more logical. It is appropriate that the word "last" should be included.

Amendment agreed to.


Mr. T. Fraser

I beg to move, in page 8, line 21, to leave out "to be designed".

Mr. Speaker

I think it would be convenient to consider, with this Amendment, the Amendments in page 8, line 26, leave out "to be designed"; in page 9, line 23, leave out: it is designed to convey and insert: was proposed to be conveyed in the application for the grant of the pipe-line construction authorisation". in page 10, line 7, leave out: is designed to convey and insert: was proposed to convey in the application for the grant of the pipe-line construction authorisation". and in page 10, line 21, leave out "is designed and insert "was proposed".

Mr. Fraser

I agree, Mr. Speaker. We had a short discussion of this proposition in Committee, on an Amendment, in similar terms, moved by my hon. Friend the Member for Derby, North (Mr. MacDermot). The Minister then kindly said that he would be glad to consider the proposition. For the benefit of those Who were not privileged to be members of the Committee I would point out that we wished to take out of Clause 9 any reference to the words "to be designed". We take the view that the design of a pipeline would be likely to be construed in the courts and elsewhere as referring to the type of construction, and that the design might be laid down by the engineer who was planning the construction of the pipeline. What the Minister is really concerned with is what is proposed to be conveyed in the pipeline. The Minister will know nothing about the design of the pipeline; the only information that he will have is that which must be given him under the provisions contained in the First Schedule.

Any person who makes application for a pipeline construction authorisation will comply with the provisions of the First Schedule and in so doing indicate to the Minister what is proposed to be conveyed in the pipeline. The Minister, in his exercise of powers given to him in Clause 9—which are powers he will exercise so as to reduce the necessity for the consideration of other pipelines—has to take into account the possibility of other people wishing to construct pipelines to carry the same class of thing. What he is concerned about is not the design of the pipeline, but rather what is proposed to be conveyed in the pipeline or, in the case of the following Clause, what was proposed to be conveyed when the construction authorisation was given in the first place.

I hope very much that the spirit of cordiality to which the Parliamentary Secretary referred a short time ago will still be effective on the Government side of the House so that the Minister may see fit yet again to accept a proposal made by the Opposition.

Mr. Wood

I also regret that we cannot spend longer on this matter because of the long discussion we had earlier about basic Socialism which I had hoped we would cover in a shorter time, but I hope to say more about the Bill as a whole before the proceedings on it are brought to an end.

We had considerable discussion on this matter, particularly on the phrase, "designed for the conveyance of" and "proposed to be used", in Committee. I did my best to show what "design for the conveyance of" meant. I explained that it was intended to convey two ideas. One was that there was the intention of conveying a substance in the pipeline and the other was that the pipeline was technically suitably constructed to convey that substance. In my opinion the words "designed to convey" are properly used in this and other Clauses. I do not think anything would be added if the words were subtracted—if that is a possible thought to express to the House.

The other Amendments we are considering seem to suffer from a rather greater defect. Their purpose is to seek to tie the requirement that any conditions imposed by the Minister in regard to common user rights in Clauses 9 and 10 shall not prejudice the original pipeline owner's own use of his pipeline to the type and volume of substance specified in the original pipeline construction application. My objection, as no doubt the hon. Member for Hamilton expected, is that this would hamper the Minister's discretion to impose such requirements as he may think desirable in order to secure common user rights to third parties. I am convinced that it would be unwise to bind the Minister to attaching requirements based on figures of volume which might not correspond exactly to the actual throughput.

I think the other Amendments are unrealistic because they presuppose that a pipeline will always be used to convey the same volume of substance as stated in the original application for the construction authorisation. It might turn out to be quite impracticable to impose any requirements as to common user rights because of the unusually high figure of throughput having been stated in the original application. When the original application is made it is intended to be only an indication of the pipeline capacity. The Minister will want to know what it will convey so that he can judge if there is likely to be a demand for further applications but at the stage of further application he will not want to know the amount of the substance to be conveyed. It may be that the applicant himself will not know what amount is to be conveyed.

Therefore, for these reasons, which I hope I have explained adequately to the House, I am convinced that these Amendments must be resisted. I am quite sure that it would be wrong to tie the exercise of the Minister's discretion under Clauses 9 and 10 to the information which happens to be given in the original application.

Mr. T. Fraser

I feel disappointed with the Minister's reply. The right hon. Gentleman seems to spend most of his time replying to Amendments which may have been included in the list which you, Mr. Speaker, read out, but to which I did not speak at all—the Amendments standing in the name of my hon. Friend the Member for Derby, North (Mr. MacDermot). These are the Amendments to which the right hon. Gentleman has addressed his reply, but these are not the Amendments which I was hoping he would accept.

The Minister is being given certain powers under Clauses 9 and 10 to avoid the quite unnecessary duplication or proliferation of pipelines. In the exercise of that power, the Minister will not have regard to the kind of things or of the class which any pipeline is designed to convey. He will not know what the pipeline is designed to convey. He will not know what it was proposed to convey, or what was proposed in the first place to be conveyed in the pipeline.

As I said in the Standing Committee, and I have every reason to believe I was quite right about it, these words "to be designed" crept into this Bill inadvertently in another place when a new Clause was inserted. These words never appeared in the Bill as it was first drafted, but certain alterations were being made to the Bill in another place to avoid the unnecessary construction of additional pipelines. Two new Clauses were introduced at that time, and when they were introduced it appeared that they had been drafted by persons other than the original draftsman, because instead of dealing with pipelines and what was proposed to be conveyed by the pipelines, as the Bill initially provided, this new terminology was introduced. When different terminology is introduced, it must be thought that it is meant to mean something different.

Therefore, when the applicant is required to say to the Minister, under another part of the Bill, what is proposed to be conveyed in the pipeline, the Minister can exercise his powers and have regard to what the pipeline was designed to convey. I do not think that any person whose job is normally to interpret the law would think that these two phrases mean exactly the same. One would think that if Parliament means the same thing in both cases, Parliament would say the same thing in both cases.

In my Amendment, I propose to continue the language used by the Minister in the original draft of the Bill and not to continue the language used in the First Schedule of the Bill as now before us. I hope the Minister will have another look at this matter.

Mr. Willis

In rising to address a few remarks on this Amendment, I should like to protest most vigorously at the procedure which has been forced upon us, preventing us from giving this important matter the time and attention which it deserves. I should also like to point out that we are left with ten pages of Amendments which we will not be able to discuss—

Mr. Speaker

That cannot be in order on this Amendment.

Mr. Willis

I accept your Ruling, Mr. Speaker, having made those few introductory remarks to the Amendment.

I approach these Amendments from a different point of view. My hon. Friend's Amendment is to leave out the words, "to be designed". When I read the Clause with those words omitted, it seemed to me that it made sense—

It being half-past Ten o'clock Mr. SPEAKER proceeded, pursuant to Orders, to put forthwith the Question already proposed from the Chair.

Question put, That "to be designed" stand part of the Bill: —

The House divided: Ayes 212, Noes 147.

Division No. 257.] AYES [10.30 p.m.
Aitken, W. T. Chataway, Christopher Errington, Sir Eric
Allason, James Clark, William (Nottingham, S.) Farr, John
Atkins, Humphrey Clarke, Brig. Terence (Portsmth, W.) Fell, Anthony
Balniel, Lord Collard, Richard Finlay, Graeme
Barlow, Sir John Cooke, Robert Fletcher-Cooke, Charles
Barter, John Cooper, A. E. Forrest, George
Batsford, Brian Cordeaux, Lt.-Col. J. K. Fraser, Ian (Plymouth, Sutton)
Berkeley, Humphry Corfield, F. V. Freeth, Denzil
Bidgood, John G. Costain, A. P. Gardner, Edward
Biffen, John Coulson, Michael Gibson-Watt, David
Biggs-Davison, John Craddock, sir Beresford Gilmour, Sir John
Bishop, F. P. Crawley, Aidan Glover, Sir Douglas
Black, Sir Cyril Critchley Julian Glyn, Dr. Alan (Clapham)
Bossom, Clive Curran, Charles Glyn, Sir Richard (Dorset, N.)
Box, Donald Currie, G. B. H. Goodhart, Philip
Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hon. John Dalkeith, Earl of Gower, Raymond
Bolye, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward Dance, James Gresham Cooke, R.
Brewis, John d'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Sir Henry Gurden, Harold
Brooman-White, R. Deedes, Rt. Hon. W. F. Hamilton, Michael (Wellingborough)
Brown, Alan (Tottenham) de Ferranti, Basil
Browne, Percy (Torrington) Digby, Simon Wingfield Harris, Reader (Heston)
Bryan, Paul Donaldson, Cmdr. C. E. M. Harrison, Col. Sir Harwood (Eye)
Buck Antony Doughty, Charles Harvey, Sir Arthur Vere (Macclesf'd)
Bullard, Denys du Cann, Edward Harvey, John (Walthamstow, E.)
Campbell, Gordon (Moray & Nairn) Duncan, Sir James Harvie Anderson, Miss
Carr, Compton (Barons Court) Elliott, R. W.(Nwcastle-upon-Tyne, N.) Hastings, Stephen
Cary, Sir Robert Emery, Peter Hay, John
Heald, Rt. Hon. Sir Lionel Mathew, Robert (Honiton) Stanley, Hon. Richard
Henderson, John (Cathcart) Mawby, Ray Stevens, Geoffrey
Hendry, Forbes Maxwell-Hyslop, R. J. Steward, Harold (Stockport, S.)
Hiley, Joseph Maydon, Lt.-Cmdr. S. L. C. Stodart, J. A
Hill, Mrs. Eveline (Wythenshawe) Mills, Stratton Stoddart-Scott, Col. Sir Malcolm
Hill, J. E. B. (S. Norfolk) More, Jasper (Ludlow) Studholme, Sir Henry
Hirst, Geoffrey Morgan, William Summers, Sir Spencer
Hocking, Philip N. Morrison, John Talbot, John E.
Holland, Philip Nabarro, Gerald Taylor, Frank (M'ch'st'r, Moss Side)
Hollingworth, John Nicholls, Sir Harmar Taylor, W. J. (Bradford, N.)
Hope, Rt. Hon. Lord John Noble, Rt. Hon. Michael Teeling, Sir William
Hopkins, Alan Osborn, John (Hallam) Temple, John M.
Hornby, R. P. Osborne, Sir Cyril (Louth) Thatcher, Mrs. Margaret
Howard, Hon. G. R. (St. Ives) Page, Graham (Crosby) Thomas, Leslie (Canterbury)
Hughes Hallett, Vice-Admiral John Pannell, Norman (Kirkdale) Thompson, Richard (Croydon S.)
Hughes-Young, Michael Partridge, E. Thornton-Kemsley, Sir Colin
Hulbert, Sir Norman Pearson, Frank (Clitheroe) Tiley Arthur (Bradford, W.)
Hutchison, Michael Clark Peel, John Touche, Rt. Hon. Sir Gordon
Iremonger, T. L. Percival, Ian Tweedsmuir, Lady
Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye) Peyton, John van Straubenzee, W. R.
Jenkins, Robert (Dulwich) Pickthorn, Sir Kenneth Vaughan-Morgan, Rt. Hon. Sir John
Jennings, J. C. Pike, Miss Mervyn Vickers Miss Joan
Johnson, Dr. Donald (Carlisle) Pilkington, Sir Richard Vosper, Rt. Hon. Dennis
Johnson, Eric (Blackley) Pitman, Sir James Wakefield, Sir Wavell
Johnson Smith, Geoffrey Pott, Percivall Walker, Peter
Kaberry, Sir Donald Powell, Rt. Hon, J. Enoch Walker-Smith, Rt. Hon. Sir Derek
Kerans, Cdr. J. S. Priror, J. M. L. Wall, Patrick
Kerr, Sir Hamilton Proudfoot, Wilfred
Kirk, Peter Pym, Francis Ward, Dame Irene
Langford-Holt, sir John Ramsden, James Whitelaw, William
Lilley, F. J. P. Rawlinson, Sir Peter Williams, Dudley (Exeter)
Lindsay, Sir Martin Redmayne, Rt. Hon, Martin Williams, Paul (Sunderland, S.)
Linstead, Sir Hugh Rees, Hugh Wills, Sir Gerald (Bridgwater)
Longbottom, Charles Renton, Rt. Hon. David Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)
Longden, Gilbert Ridley, Hon. Nicholas Wise, A. R.
Loveys, Walter H. Roberts, Sir Peter (Heeley) Wolrige-Gordon, Patrick
Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh Roots, William Wood, Rt. Hon. Richard
Maclay, Rt. Hon. John Ropner, Col. Sir Leonard Woodhouse, C. M.
Maclean, Sir Fitroy (Bute & N. Ayrs.) Russell, Ronald Woodnutt, Mark
Macleod, Rt. Hn. lain (Enfield, w.) St. Clair, M. Woollam, John
McMaster, Stanley B. Scott-Hopkins, James Worsley, Marcus
Macmillan, Maurice (Halifax) Sharples, Richard
Macpherson, Rt. Hn. Niall (Dumfries) Shaw, M. TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Maginnis, John E. Smith, Dudley (Br'ntfd & Chiswick) Mr. Chichester-Clark and
Maitland, Sir John Smithers, Peter Mr. McLaren.
Marples, Rt. Hon. Ernest Smyth, Rt. Hon. Brig. Sir John
Ainsley, William Evans, Albert Jay, Rt. Hon. Douglas
Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.) Finch, Harold Jenkins, Roy (Stechford)
Allen, Scholefield (Crewe) Foot, Dingle (Ipswich) Johnson, Carol (Lewisham, S.)
Awbery, Stan Forman, J. C. Jones, Dan (Burnley)
Bacon, Miss Alice Fraser, Thomas (Hamilton) Jones, Jack (Rotherham)
Baxter, William (Stirlingshire, W.) Galpern, Sir Myer Jones, T. W. (Merioneth)
Beaney, Alan Ginsburg, David Kelley, Richard
Bence, Cyril Gordon Walker, Rt. Hon. P, C. Kenyon, Clifford
Bennett, J. (Glasgow, Bridgeton) Gourlay, Raymond King, Dr. Horace
Blackburn, F. Greenwood, Anthony Lawson, George
Blyton, William Grey, Charles Ledger, Ron
Bottomley, Rt. Hon. A. G. Griffiths, David (Rother Valley) Lee, Frederick (Newton)
Bowden, Rt. Hn. H.W. (Leics. S.W.) Grimond, Rt. Hon. J. Lever, L. M. (Ardwick)
Bowles, Frank Gunter, Ray Lewis, Arthur (West Ham, N.)
Braddock, Mrs. E. M. Hall, Rt. Hn. Glenvil (Colne Valley) Lubbock, Eric
Brockway, A. Fenner Hannan, William MacColl, James
Brown, Thomas (Ince) Harper, Joseph McInnes, James
Castle, Mrs. Barbara Hart, Mrs. Judith Mckay, John (Wallsend)
Cliffe, Michael Hayman, F. H. MacPherson, Malcolm (Stirling)
Cronin, John Healey, Denis Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg)
Cullen, Mrs. Alice Henderson, Rt. Hn. Arthur (RwlyRegis) Manuel, Archie
Dalyell, Tam Herbison, Miss Margaret Mapp, Charles
Davies, G. Elfed (Rhondda, E.) Hill J. (Midlothian) Marsh, Richard
Davies, Harold (Leek) Hilton, A. V. Mason, Roy
Davies, Ifor (Gower) Holman, Percy Mendelson, J. J.
Deer, George Houghton, Douglas Millan, Bruce
Dempsey, James Howell, Denis (Small Heath) Morris, John
Diamond, John Hoy, James H. Mulley, Frederick
Dodds, Norman Hughes, Cledwyn (Anglesey) Noel-Baker, Rt. Hn. Philip (Derby, S.)
Donnelly, Desmond Hunter, A. E. Oram, A. E.
Dugdale, Rt. Hon. John Hynd, H. (Accrington) Oswald, Thomas
Edelman, Maurice Hynd, John (Attercliffe) Owen, Will
Edwards, Rt. Hon. Ness (Caerphilly) Irvine, A. J. (Edge Hill) Paget, R. T.
Edwards, Robert (Bilston) Irving, Sydney (Dartford) Pannell, Charles (Leeds, W.)
Edwards, Walter (Stepney) Janner, Sir Barnett
Pargiter, G. A. Slater, Joseph (Sedgefield) Wainwright, Edwin
Pearson, Arthur (Pontypridd) Small, William Warbey, William
Peart, Frederick Smith, Ellis (Stoke, S.) Watkins, Tudor
Popplewell, Ernest Sorensen, R. W. Weitzman, David
Prentice, R. E. Spriggs, Leslie Whitlock, William
Redhead, E. C. Steele, Thomas Wigg, George
Reynolds, G. W. Stonehouse, John Wilkins, W. A.
Roberts, Albert (Normanton) Stones, William Willey, Frederick
Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvon) Taverne, D. Williams, LI. (Abertillery)
Robertson, John (Palsley) Taylor, Bernard (Mansfield) Williams, W. R. (Openshaw)
Ross, Willam Thomas, George (Cardiff, W.) Willis, E. G. (Edinburgh, E.)
Short, Edward Thomas, Iorwerth (Rhondda, W.) woodburn, Rt. Hon. A.
Silverman, Julius (Aston) Thornton, Ernest Yates, Victor (Ladywood)
Skeffington, Arthur Tomney, Frank
Slater, Mrs. Harriet (Stoke, N.) Wade, Donald TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Dr. Broughton and Mr. McCann.

Mr. SPEAKER then proceeded, pursuant to Orders, to put forthwith the Questions on Amendments, moved by a member of the Government, of which notice had been given.

Amendment made: In page 9, line 31, at end insert "construction." — [Mr. Wood.]


Amendments made: In page 12, line 9, after "authorised", insert: , subject to any conditions attached thereto under the next following section,". In page 13, line 16, at end insert: or be taken to confer a right of support for the pipe-line or length of pipe-line placed by virtue of the order, in the said land ".—[Mr. Wood.]


Amendment made: In page 15, line 2, leave out "by virtue of" and insert "under".—[Mr. Wood.]


Amendment made: In page 16, line 5, after "in", insert "consequence of".— [Mr. Wood.]


Amendment made: In page 19, line 26, leave out from "(7)" to end of line 27 and insert: for the words from ' shall be determined' to the end of the subsection there shall be substituted the words 'shall be referred to the arbitration of a single arbiter appointed by agreement between the parties concerned or, in default of agreement, by the sheriff; and in any such arbitration the arbiter may, and, if so directed by the Court of Session, shall, state a case for the decision of that court on any question of law arising in the arbitration.';". —[Mr. Wood.]


Amendments made: In page 22, line 44, leave out "have" and insert "has".

In page 23, line 35, at end insert: (4) Subsection (1) of section five of this Act shall have effect where a notice is served under subsection (1) of this section as it has effect where a notice is served under section four of this Act with the substitution, for the reference to the removal of the works required by the notice to be removed, of a reference to the removal of the works or length of line required by the notice to be removed.—[Mr. Wood.]


Amendment made:

In page 25, line 8, leave out "subsection (1)" and insert "the foregoing provisions".—[Mr. Wood.]


Amendments made: In page 28, line 8, leave out "day" and insert "date".

In line 40, leave out from beginning to end of line 46 and insert: (5) The last foregoing subsection shall not apply to Scotland, but in Scotland—

  1. (a) any expenses incurred by the Minister under subsection (2) or (3) of this section, after giving credit for any amount realised by the sale of materials, may be recovered by him from the owner of the building or structure demolished or, if there is more than one owner, from the owners thereof in such shares as the sheriff may determine to be just and equitable; and any owner who pays to the Minister the full amount of his claim may recover from any other owner such contribution, if any, as the sheriff may determine to be just and equitable;
  2. 1417
  3. (b)any surplus in the hands of the Minister shall be paid by him to the owner of the building or structure demolished, or, if there is more than one owner, shall be paid as those owners may agree or, in default of agreement, as the sheriff may determine to be just and equitable;
  4. (c) the sheriff within whose jurisdiction the building or structure demolished is situated shall have jurisdiction to hear and determine any proceedings under paragraph (a) or (b) of this subsection; and in determining for the purposes of this section the shares in which any expenses shall be paid or contributed by, or any surplus shall be divided between, two or more owners of any building or structure, the sheriff shall have regard to their respective interests in the building or structure, their respective obligations and liabilities in respect of maintenance and repair under any agreement, whether express or implied, and all the other circumstances of the case.—[Mr. Wood.]


Amendments made: In page 32, line 3, after "area", insert "(2)".

In line 11, leave out "and" and insert "(3)".

In line 22, leave out "the foregoing subsection "and insert" any of the foregoing subsections ".—[Mr. Wood.]


Amendment made: In page 33, line 1, leave out from "shall" to "specifying" in line 2 and insert: within two weeks after the happening of the event, give to the Minister notice thereof".— [Mr. Wood.]


Amendment made: In page 39, line 41, leave out from "with" to "sends" in line 43 and insert: paragraph (b) of subsection (1) of section eight of this Act, subsection (1), (2) or (3) of section thirty-four thereof or subsection (2) of section thirty-six thereof".—[Mr. Wood.]


Amendments made: In page 40, line 15, leave out "an" and insert"a public".

In line 25, leave out "that section" and insert "the said section two hundred and ninety".

In line 27, after "place", insert "in England or Wales".

In line 28, after "inquiry", insert "or under the said section thirty-three".

In line 29, leave out "an" and insert "a public".

In line 32, leave out "an" and insert "a public".

In line 43, at end insert "or under the said section thirty-three".

In line 44, leave out "an" and insert "a public".

In page 41, line 1, leave out subsection (3).—[Mr. Wood.]

Clause 52.—(REGULATIONS.)

Amendment made: In page 43, line 30, after "regulations", insert: for any purpose for which provision is by this Act authorised to be made by regulations and".—[Mr. Wood.]


Amendments made: In page 45, line 15, after "twenty-three" insert "twenty-four".

In line 17, after "seventeen", insert: subsection (1) of section (Regulations for securing pipeline safety generally) of this Act".

In line 23, after "In", insert: subsection (1) of section (Regulations for securing pipeline safety generally) of this Act and in".—[Mr. Wood.]


Amendments made: In page 46, line 1, leave out "sections twenty-three, twenty-four" and insert: section twenty-three, subsection (1) of section (Regulations for securing pipeline safety generally) of this Act, sections twenty-four and ".

In line 8, after "In", insert: subsection (1) of section (Regulations for securing pipeline safety generally) of this Act and in".—[Mr. Wood.]


Amendments made: In page 46, line 12, after "thirty-nine", insert: section (Regulations for securing pipeline safety generally) of this Act".

In line 19, after "in", insert: subsection (1) of section (Regulations for securing pipeline safety generally) of this Act and in".

In line 23, after "thirty-nine", insert: and section (Regulations for securing pipeline safety generally) of this Act".

In line 33, after "in", insert: subsection (1) of section (Regulations for securing pipeline safety generally) of this Act and in".—[Mr. Wood.]


Amendment made: In page 47, line 13, after "thirty-nine", insert: section (Regulations for securing pipe-line safety generally) of this Act".—[Mr. Wood.]


Amendments made: In page 52, line 16, leave out from beginning to end of line 24.

In line 34, leave out from "under" to "which" and insert: subsection (5) of section twenty-seven, or subsection (2) of section twenty-eight, of this Act". —[Mr. Wood.]


Amendment made: In page 56, line 11, leave out "were annexed to" and insert "accompanied."—[Mr. Wood.]


Amendment made: In page 59, line 25, leave out "head (a) of sub-paragraph (1)" and insert "sub-paragraph (a)".—[Mr. Wood.]


Amendment made: In page 63, line 39, leave out "consider" and insert "considers ".—[Mr. Wood.]

Bill to be read the Third time Tomorrow.