HC Deb 09 May 1962 vol 659 cc447-578

Order for Second Reading read.

3.41 p.m.

The Minister of Power (Mr. Richard Wood)

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

About two years ago the House of Commons considered the Esso Petroleum Company Bill which planned to lay pipelines from Fawley to London Airport and from Fawley to Avonmouth. In the Second Reading debate on 28th June, 1960, I said: As to the future, the Government believe that it is most important that an examination should take place on the general problem of pipeline development. In fact, they have already begun to examine this problem and to examine procedures which they think should be followed in future in regard to these matters."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 28th June, 1960; Vol. 625, c. 1303.] There was at that time considerable feeling in the House that the Private Bill procedure was not the right procedure for a development of this kind, and in the Special Report of the Select Committee on this Bill, which was issued on 21st July, 1960, the Committee said that it was convinced that Private Bill procedure was not the best way of safeguarding the interests of owners, lessees and occupiers where a pipeline is to be constructed. It recommended that no further Bills for the construction of pipelines should be passed by the House.

The next step was that in the following March I answered a Question by my hon. Friend the Member for Dover (Mr. Arbuthnot), when I said: The Government have decided that it is necessary to legislate, to secure in the national interest the orderly development of privately-owned industrial pipelines. I said on the same occasion: Before I lay detailed proposals before Parliament, I shall consult the various interests that would be affected."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 6th March, 1961; Vol. 636, c. 2.] Shortly after that, the Trunk Pipelines Bill was introduced in the early summer of 1961, which promoted a pipeline from Canvey Island through London to Denham in Buckinghamshire.

On the Second Reading of that Bill on 27th April last year, I said: Everyone feels that this project is very important and, the Government having reached the conclusion that there should be a new and general procedure to deal with these matters. I think it is generally felt that the procedure ought to apply to a project of this kind."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 27th April, 1961; Vol. 639, c. 720.] I think the House of Commons generally endorsed the view that pipeline development by Private Bill should be frozen and that there should not be further pipeline development until the Government had taken action to bring in general legislation.

During that time when the Trunk Pipelines Bill was going through the stages that it went through in the House of Commons, consultations were taking place with outside organisations as to the form and content that this legislation should take. This Bill that we are discussing today was drafted against a background of various views that were expressed by outside interests at that time. The process of preparing the Bill had to take account of the urgent need of legislation, about which, as I have said, I think that the House of Commons was agreed—if commercial pipeline development was not to be delayed.

The Select Committee's Report and the Second Reading debate have made clear that Parliament believes the Private Bill procedure to be unsuitable, and, therefore, the Government were determined to make as rapid progress as they could with the provision of this Bill. No time was lost in the necessary consultation with outside interests, which was extremely far-reaching. They included local authorities, land-owning and farming interests, industry, statutory undertakers, and so on, and there was quite a wide field for consultation which had to be gone through before the drafting of the Bill began.

As hon. Members will see, the Bill is not only complicated—necessarily, I think—but it also is of considerable length, for which I apologise. It was introduced in another place as soon as it could possibly be introduced. It is for these reasons that this House has not been asked to consider the Bill until this stage in the Session, at the beginning of May, although I still hope that there is general agreement about the need for legislation to be approved in this Session in order that important developments in this field should not be unnecessarily impeded.

Sir Leslie Plummer (Deptford)

Will the right hon. Gentleman tell the House who were the outside interests with whom he had negotiations, and if any of them were prospective pipeline operators or installers?

Mr. Wood

If I may say so, I think that that interruption is a reason for my not giving way too frequently, because I have a considerable amount to say and I do not want to say it at too great length. I have said who some of the outside interests were. I can assure the hon. Gentleman that possible developers, particularly the oil companies, were certainly among the interests concerned, because it is quite clear that they should have been consulted in order to give the benefit of experience which they already possess.

I should like to say at this point that I am deeply grateful for the careful and extended consideration which has been given to the Bill in another place, and I have no doubt at all that it emerged after its Third Reading there a better Bill than when it was introduced. Hon. Members may still feel that there is room for improvement. Indeed, if the doctrinal question which is proposed by the Opposition Amendment is settled satisfactorily from the Government's point of view in a few hours' time there will, no doubt, be further opportunities to make a good Bill even better. But whatever we do at a later stage, I myself am most conscious of the debt which I owe to the diligence, experience and expert knowledge not only of the noble Lords who spoke on behalf of the Government, but also of the noble Lords of all parties who took part in the debate in another place.

The Bill has been deliberately drafted to give a fairly wide discretion to the responsible Minister. We have no experience in this country—and there is comparatively little experience elsewhere in the world—of the practical problems of administering this kind of legislation. Therefore, we believe that it would be unwise to circumscribe too closely the powers given to the Minister.

In the United States, where experience of these matters is greater than in Great Britain, it has been found undesirable to frame a mandatory code of safety. In fact, rather than do so in this Bill the Government have preferred to give the Minister power—just to give one example of statutory flexibility—to impose such safety requirements as he thinks necessary to meet the needs of particular cases, while, at the same time, giving to pipeline owners the opportunity to voice objections to the Minister's proposals.

We are now possibly at the beginning of a period of wide development of pipelines in this country, and I do not think any of us can foresee precisely what problems the future is likely to bring with it in this field. I am certainly convinced that it would be a mistake to write into the Bill detailed provisions, however apparently sensible, which might prove unduly restrictive later.

I will now get down to the purposes of the Bill. The Explanatory and Financial Memorandum makes clear that there are four main purposes: to control the development of pipelines; to ease their construction; to secure their safe working; and, lastly, to establish that certain pipelines in England and Wales are rateable. Our knowledge of moving things from one point to another through pipelines is in varying stages of development, that is to say, for different commodities. It is difficult for us to say at the moment exactly how pipelines will develop, but, however they develop, none of us, either on this side of the House or on the other, wants to see them do so haphazardly.

If I may be allowed a glimpse forward forty or fifty years, I am rather anxious that the industrialists of the early twenty-first century will have cause to say with satisfaction when they look around at the pipelines of Great Britain, "Conservative planning works". We would like to see an orderly system properly adapted to meet the needs of pipeline users and, at the same time, causing as little disturbance as possible to farmers and landowners by the careful planning of routes and by avoiding the unnecessary duplication of lines.

The Government believe that the approach in the Bill is appropriate to the great variety of circumstances which we are likely to meet in the near and more distant future. It leaves room for various arrangements which are subject always to the regulatory powers of the Minister to secure the objective of orderly development.

I should like to reflect for a moment what are or what seem to be the possibilities ahead. First, a line may be provided and owned by a single concern. Next, there may be—perhaps this is more likely—a consortium of owner-users. This is no doubt especially true in cases where the separate provision of a pipeline by each of the users would lead to wasteful duplication. Thirdly, a line might be rented by an owning company to one or more users, such as some of the proposals we have had before us in the past. Fourthly, the boards being set up under the Transport Bill might either themselves construct and own pipelines on their own land or arrange for others to do so.

For the next few years it appears likely that it will probably normally be the users of the pipeline who will themselves construct and operate it. Therefore, it seems right that, generally, the initiative should be left to them. Users know best their own business and its likely development. They are in the best position to determine when and where pipelines are feasible and economic and to integrate them with their own operation. They will naturally want to keep close control over the efficiency and costs of the pipeline operation and of carrying on this important part of their business. These seem to the Government to be right and proper objectives, which the Government are determined should be encouraged. At the same time, the Government feel that these objectives should be directed and regulated in the public interest. This is provided for in the Bill, in our opinion.

I want to explain one or two of the detailed provisions for controlling this development. The Minister is given a wide power of control by Clause 1 over pipelines which are longer than 10 miles and which are defined in the Bill as cross-country pipelines. The constructor of these lines will need an authorisation from the Minister. The detailed procedure by which he should obtain that authorisation is contained in the First Schedule, which includes, among other things, the proper advertisement of the project and the notification of the local planning authority and anyone else whom the Minister specifies. If the local planning authority objects, the Minister must order a public inquiry. In other cases of objection, the Minister is given discretion to hold either a public inquiry or a less formal hearing.

It was decided not to make all pipelines of whatever length subject to the authorisation procedure, because it was felt that such a comprehensive procedure would interfere unnecessarily with industrial development. Therefore, by Clause 2 shorter pipelines under 10 miles in length, defined as local pipelines, are not subject to this authorisation procedure, but advance notice of the constructor's intention to build one must still be given to the Minister so that he can make directions in the interests of safety.

There is a modification of these Clause 2 definitions in that under Clause 6 the Minister has discretion to direct that local pipelines of a particular kind or in particular localities should be treated as cross-country pipelines and be subject to the full authorisation procedure as the cross-country pipelines are under Clause 1. If the Minister takes action under Clause 6, it will be in the form of a Statutory Instrument which will be subject to the affirmative Resolution of each House.

Powers have also been taken in the Bill to ensure that no more pipelines are laid than are necessary for the community's needs. Under Clauses 8 and 9, if the Minister is satisfied on receiving an application that demand is likely in the future for further pipelines he may insist, when he replies to the authorisation, on sufficient capacity in the pipeline to accommodate the traffic of other prospective users. Under Clause 9 the Minister may oblige the owner of a cross-country pipeline who is not using it fully to share it with other users.

There are a number of supplementary provisions dealing with this general subject. Under Clause 40 both the Minister and the pipeline promoter must have regard to the effect on amenities. By Clause 42 the developer is under an obligation to restore agricultural land so that it is fit for agricultural use. Under Clauses 52 to 55 certain pipelines, such as those belonging to certain statutory bodies and railway undertakers, and pipelines in factories, mines and quarries, are excluded from the Bill.

To sum up, the Government are convinced that the Bill represents the right combination of flexibility, on the one hand, and detailed control, on the other, which seems to be proper in the circumstances and in the light of our present knowledge of pipeline development.

I said earlier that the second purpose of the Bill is to ease the construction of pipelines. The Select Committee on the Esso Petroleum Company Bill expressed concern in its Report that the then existing Private Bill procedure, and the still existing Private Bill procedure, did not afford landed interests the full protection provided by the Acquisition of Land (Authorisation Procedure) Act, 1946. This Bill seeks to remedy that defect. Whenever a pipeline promoter or a prospective pipeline promoter cannot obtain by private treaty the land or rights that he needs, he can, under Clauses 10 and 11, and under the procedure outlined in the Second Schedule, apply to the Minister for a compulsory purchase order or a compulsory rights order.

Here, again, there is a quite detailed procedure under which, among other things, the application must be advertised, individual notices must be served on owners and occupiers of the land concerned, and the Minister must hear objections. Finally, if the Minister, after hearing objections, makes an Order granting land or rights, the Order is subject to confirmation by Parliament in accordance with Special Parliamentary Procedure under the Statutory Orders (Special Procedure) Act, 1945, as modified by Clause 50 of the Bill.

Thirdly, this Measure seeks to secure the safe working of pipelines. There may be considerable doubts in our minds—I think that there are—about the future pattern of pipelines in Britain, but there seems to be no doubt that many pipelines will carry very large quantities of inflammable, or otherwise dangerous, liquids. The Government therefore ask for considerable powers in the interests of safety, and I am quite confident that they are right, but they have not proposed, as I have already said, that a detailed code of safety rules should be laid down for general application.

In this developing branch of technology, any statutory rules that were contained in the Bill would almost certainly be very quickly out of date. Instead, the Minister has the discretion to impose such safety requirements as he thinks necessary for any particular pipeline with, as I said earlier, the opportunity for the pipeline owner to object. Many industries in this country are developing their own codes of safety, and I am glad to find that in this connection the petroleum industry is in no way behind.

I should like to give examples of what I have just said about the provisions for safety. The House will see that Clause 19 provides for various controls over the actual construction of the pipeline; for instance, the kind of material that is used and the depth at which the pipeline is laid. Clause 22 provides for control over the working of the pipelines—that is to say, their maintenance, inspection, the pressure at which they are worked, and so on, and Clause 23 provides for control during the time when the pipeline is disused or abandoned, particularly to ensure that dangerous materials are not left in it at that time.

There are several later Clauses dealing with the avoidance of obstruction to navigation in harbours and the avoidance of interference with telegraph lines. Clause 41 puts on the Minister the duty to have regard to the need for protecting against water pollution. Clauses 30 and 31 lay down that serious accidents must be reported to the Minister, and Clause 39 provides for the appointment of inspectors, mainly needed in connection with safety.

I have no doubt that at later stages of the Bill we shall have considerable discussion, as I remember we have had on previous Bills, on the subject of safety, and these Clauses will then be investigated in some detail, but I am speaking now of the Bill's general approach to the question of safety, where I am quite sure that it is right to give the Minister discretion to impose particular requirements in particular cases, with opportunity for objection by developers if they disagree.

The last main objective of the Bill is to establish that certain pipelines are rateable. They have always been regarded as rateable under Section 24 of the Rating and Valuation Act. 1925, but, as the House knows, the Lands Tribunal, in deciding a recent case, came to the conclusion that pipelines could not be assessed for rates under that Section. There is no reason why pipelines should not be rateable, and it is to repair this recently discovered defect in the law that Clause 38 has been introduced into the Bill; otherwise, substantial rate income would be lost. For those hon. Members from north of the Border who are interested in the matter, I may say that the 1925 Act does not apply to Scotland, which means that the rateability of Scottish pipelines is not in doubt.

There was considerable discussion in another place about where the responsibility for administering the Bill should lie. It was frequently suggested that it should lie not with the Minister of Power, but with the Minister of Transport. The Minister of Power is, at the moment, concerned with the major industry—the oil industry—which is now making use of pipelines and, indeed, whatever may happen in the rather more distant future, the oil industry looks like being the main user of cross-country pipelines over the next few years.

The Government therefore feel it right that the responsibility for administering the Bill should rest, at least for the present, with the Minister of Power, but I myself readily admit that there is considerable force in the arguments I have heard advanced in other places that pipelines are a form of transport, and I would also readily admit that a case might be made out for giving to one Minister the responsibility for controlling the future development of all forms of transport in Great Britain.

I would merely say that I have no pride of possession as a parent. If I do succeed into bringing into the world what looks to me a robust and healthy baby, and helping it through the hazards of early childhood, I shall be very ready and happy later to consider handing it over to a foster parent, as long as I am certain that the foster parent can take good care of it. To me, this is largely a matter of judgment and timing. If it later appears desirable to transfer responsibility to my right hon. Friend the Minister of Transport this can be done without any difficulty by an Order in Council under the Ministers of the Crown (Transfer of Functions) Act, 1946.

The Bill is shortly to be criticised, I believe, in the terms of the Opposition's Amendment for failing … to provide for the development of a pipeline system by public enterprise in accordance with a policy of planned economic expansion … and for granting instead, … monopoly powers to selected private companies without either adequate safeguards for users or proper concern for the interests of the nation as a whole. I would be tempted to criticise the Opposition for a doctrinaire approach to the problem, but I have discovered that, in fact, one side always calls the other doctrinaire if that doctrine is unacceptable to itself. I have done my best to show what the Government's doctrine is, and I should like briefly to examine—and, no doubt, the right hon. and learned Member for Newport (Sir F. Soskice) will shortly explain—the doctrine behind the Amendment. All I would say in general is that, whatever their respective merits, it seems to me—if this is not an unduly controversial remark—that the Government's doctrine is less rigidly exclusive than is that of the Socialist Party.

What would the Opposition's solution of development by public enterprise involve? Either a publicly-owned corporation, established by Statute, would have to be set up to develop pipelines throughout the country, or the British Transport Commission, or its successors, or some other existing public body might be made responsible for this development. As I see it, such a body might, in theory, be given a monopoly to construct cross-country pipelines as a form of public transport, or it might be given, not exclusive rights, but the right to veto cross-country pipelines proposed by other interests if they went along routes which the public body itself wanted to use.

Whether a pipelines corporation, or the transport boards, was given exclusive powers, or whether it was given the right to veto other developments, it would, presumably, be entrusted with the task of promoting the development of a planned pipeline network. I would like to ask—and I hope that the right hon. and learned Member for Newport will give his view—what principles there are on which this planning would take place, because it is perfectly clear that a pipelines system cannot be planned in the abstract, merely by drawing lines on a map, for it must be shaped by the needs and location, not only of the suppliers and distributors, but of the users as well.

Any pipeline must be designed to meet either a known demand, or must be laid in anticipation of a demand arising. The difficulty that this presents seems to be that if the demand is assured and the pipeline is built to meet it, then the public pipeline authority would be investing large sums of public capital to meet the needs of private industry. I would feel that either a Conservative or a Labour Government would find such expenditure of public money extremely difficult to justify. If, on the other hand, the authority constructed pipelines where it thought they should run, hoping—and, perhaps, hoping on reasonably good ground—that use would be found for them, the authority would, none the less, be embarking on what must be a speculative and risky venture.

Most of this necessary capital would in the last analysis, have to be borrowed from the Exchequer and this seems—and perhaps I am falling into the limitations of my own doctrine—a strong argument for placing the financial responsibility, which would be involved, on private enterprise, which stands to gain or lose by the success or failure of the venture. The Government, for these reasons, do not intend to give monopoly powers to public bodies to build pipelines either as an uncertain speculation or at the behest of private companies.

We realise, however, that special considerations apply to routes owned by the transport boards, particularly along railways and canals, which may be suited for pipeline development, and Clause 12 of the Transport Bill allows the boards to build pipelines either for their own use or along their own routes as a transport service.

Whether the development is to be carried out by private enterprise or by the public boards, I am convinced that legislation—and this is the purpose of the Bill—should try to provide conditions which will stimulate and encourage pipeline development and, at the same time, make certain that such development is subject to the recognised pattern of public control which I have tried to describe.

The second part of the Opposition's Amendment refers to the granting of monopoly powers to selected private companies. To put it no stronger, this gives neither an adequate nor a fair description of the provisions of the Bill. The Bill makes no distinction between the types of applicant who may apply for pipeline construction authorisation, or for compulsory powers. Indeed, the granting of any authorisation over a certain route to one applicant does not preclude the granting of another authorisation later to another concern if there has been unforeseen growth in the traffic which makes this necessary.

The Bill contains provisions, in Clauses 8 and 9, which are expressly designed to make certain that an unnecessary number of pipelines are not built. These provisions enable the Minister to secure that the pipeline for which he has given his authorisation is of sufficient capacity to carry known traffic or traffic which is likely to develop by other users within a reasonable period. The Bill provides for the sharing of pipelines in certain circumstances, it safeguards the rights of those who use the spare capacity of an existing pipeline and it also contains provisions for the regulation of the charges which will be made. I submit that any monopoly element there may be is strictly limited by this variety of provisions and that there are ample powers given to the Minister to take against its abuse.

I apologise if I have taken up a good deal of the time of the House to claim that the introduction of the Bill fulfils the intention of the Government to legislate for the orderly development of industrial pipelines for use by private industry. I hope that this step will give impetus to an important modern industrial development. The Bill is brought forward in the belief that it provides the necessary public control while encouraging and making as easy as possible the future development of pipelines. I am confident that the general purpose of the Bill will be widely supported by the House.

4.15 p.m.

Sir Frank Soskice (Newport)

I beg to move, to leave out from "That" to the end of the Question and to add instead thereof: this House, while welcoming the construction of pipelines as a potentially valuable addition to our transport services, declines to give a Second Reading to a Bill which fails to provide for the development of a pipeline system by public enterprise in accordance with a policy of planned economic expansion, and which instead grants monopoly powers to selected private companies without either adequate safeguards for users or proper concern for the interests of the nation as a whole. We would, I feel, be anxious to express our gratitude to the Minister for the considerable care and clarity he used in putting before us the reasons which have induced him to present this Bill to the House. Such merits as it has he has certainly explained, but he has brought before the House equally, if not more clearly, what, in our view, are the substantial demerits and weaknesses of the Bill.

We know, and the Minister has reminded us, that the genesis of the Bill is the two Private Bills brought before the House by the Esso Petroleum Company and Trunk Pipelines Ltd. I would go with the Minister in agreeing that inasmuch as we are now dealing with a matter of general and growing national concern, it is advantageous to have a General Measure which will deal with all cases. To that extent I would go with the right hon. Gentleman, and, to that limited extent, I would welcome the Bill.

But that extent, as I say, is a limited one. The Bill contains a number of useful provisions to safeguard the interests of the private citizen. They have been exhaustively considered in another place and, no doubt, we shall have to give further consideration to them. I think that a General Bill, provided it is properly calibrated so as to protect not only the interests of the private citizen but the public interests as well, is the proper approach to this important national question. It is because I and those associated with me in the Amendment are firmly convinced that, in regard to the public interest, the Bill is seriously defective, that we have moved the Amendment.

Before I come to the provisions of the Bill and the detailed reasons I shall advance, I would make a brief reference to the nature of the topic we are discussing and the background against which we are discussing it. We are discussing the beginning, and something more than the beginning, of what, in the course of the coming years, will probably become a new and alternative system of transport. It will be used for white and black oils, liquid gases, chemicals, solids such as suspended coal and powdered coke and, as time goes on, who knows what other commodities as well. These are vital cost factors in a wide range of industrial production. Industry throughout depends for its cost computation largely on its spending on these products. Therefore, we are dealing with a Bill which will have a vital effect, particularly on the costing aspect of our industrial production over the years to come.

Pipeline development is capable, so I believe from such limited researches as I have been able to make, of providing an alternative system of transport, cheaper than and at least as efficient as railway transport. Surely that is a matter of vital national concern, particularly when British industry is fighting a desperate battle in a highly competitive world, and a world which daily is becoming more competitive in circumstances in which our social services and defence effort, and our very survival, depends largely upon the successful expansion of our industry.

We are discussing this matter at a time when it is at any rate possible that we shall be faced with the question of becoming full members of the E.C.C. and when our industries will have to face the blast of fierce competition from large European productive units. If it is the case that pipeline transport may provide a supplementary system of transport cheaper than and as efficient as existing forms, capable of being expanded in due course to a national network, surely, without further argument, there is a strong case for the nation as a whole, through some form of appropriate public enterprise, taking the matter in hand at the outset so as to secure that over the course of time it is properly planned and best shaped to serve the national ends.

What are the national ends? The Minister asked whether we should engage in the speculative laying down of pipelines. The main national end is to promote industrial expansion and all that that brings with it, but there are more specific national ends to which reference may be made and which are more immediately relevant to the Minister's question. For example, under the Local Employment Act, 1960, it is often desirable to encourage industry to go to areas which are less developed in order to promote employment, and facilities are provided by the Government to induce industry to go to those areas. Pipeline transport is just one of those facilities.

Supposing that a public enterprise provides those facilities in such an area, although the demand might not yet be there, that cannot be described as providing a service on a purely speculative basis. It would be providing it for the purpose of developing a national framework of co-ordinated transport to fit in with road and rail transport in order to promote the broader national aim of increasing our industrial potential and thereby making the nation more able to carry the burden of the social services, perpetually being improved, and the other burdens which rest on the Exchequer.

There are many other national purposes which may be achieved, but perhaps it is unnecessary to rehearse national advantages to be anticipated from the possession of an efficient supplementary means of transport for vital power products and of storage depots for consumers linked by pipelines throughout the country. We are not discussing something of unknown potentialities. The Minister addressed himself to the question as if we were talking about something which was unknown. We are not. In this country we already have about 1,200 miles of pipelines built by Government agencies mostly during the war, and some of them are now being used for transport purposes by the oil companies. I understand that we have about 430 miles of pipeline either functioning or in course of planning by private oil companies.

Crude oil and multi-produce pipelines have for years been in operation in other countries—in the United States, in Persia, in Russia, on the Continent of Europe and in Australia. In the United States the development since the war of multi-products pipelines, carrying up to 20 combinations of products belonging to different owners in pipes of diameters of up to 24 inches, has been prodigious and I believe extends to tens of thousands of miles. In Persia, there is a multi-product network of pipelines about 1,500 miles in length. In France, there is 150 miles of 10-inch pipeline built since the war connecting the Seine estuary refineries and oil ports with the consuming area of Paris.

It is not at all the case, as the Minister implied, that we are dealing with the unknown. This and other countries are using this method of transport. The problem is with us here and now. It is incumbent upon us to make up our minds about this, and to say that we must wait to see how it develops is missing the opportunity which is presented to us.

Therefore, in moving the Amendment I submit that it is up to us to decide here and now, in this House, whether this development should be allowed, as we believe it will be, to be sporadic and unco-ordinated and unplanned by remaining in the hands of private entrepreneurs, or whether it should be brought within the framework, as we think it should be, of a national plan and shaped and guided by the intervention of public enterprise so as to serve best the public purposes to which it can be harnessed.

How does the Bill provide for that aspect? How does it provide, if at all, for what I have called planning and shaping pipeline development in the coming years? Those of us who have put our names to the Amendment believe that the Bill does not provide for it at all. What does the Bill do? It vests in the Minister a purely negative control. He sits back and waits for the private entrepreneur to come to him and to ask him for what is called a pipeline construction authorisation. The Minister waits. A customer may appear on the scene, or he may not.

If the customer—perhaps "applicant" is the better word—comes upon the scene, the Minister, in saying that he will grant the authority, can impose conditions. He can impose the conditions to which he referred, safeguarding amenities and providing for safety measures. I do not quarrel with that at all; it is one of the few merits of the Bill. He may go further and authorise the entrepreneur to acquire other people's land by a compulsory purchase process. He may confer upon him what are described as compulsory rights by a compulsory rights order. He may say that the entrepreneur may, without buying other people's land compulsorily, carry out works upon it. All these conditions he may impose.

There was an article in The Times of 1st May, 1962, pointing out that what the Minister can do when he is approached by the applicant is virtually to give the applicant something in the nature of a public utility status. That article concluded, as I think most of us will conclude, that the quid pro quo for this public utility status should be that they"— that is, the pipeline owners— operate in the general public interest and not primarily for the purpose of reaping a profit. I certainly approach this matter from that standpoint.

So far—I emphasise the words "so far"—the Minister's control is purely negative. He can do no more than wait to see whether somebody approaches him and then impose conditions for allowing that person to build a pipeline and acquire the necessary facilities for so doing. If, or when, approached, he may impose conditions. The applicant may or may not accept those conditions. If he accepts them, the pipeline will be built. If it is not worth his while, the pipeline will not be built. [HON. MEMBERS: "Quite right."] I know that we differ doctrinally in the House.

One has to take into account that hon. Members opposite think that that is something desirable, but I am saying that it is wrong because the national need may require that a pipeline be laid down in circumstances in which it does not suit the financial interest of a would-be pipeline owner to lay it down. We disagree about that. That is the point at issue. We agree, at least, that the Minister has no power of initiation. He cannot cause a pipeline to be laid down and he cannot move a would-be pipeline owner to lay one down in any particular place.

It may be desirable that there should be pipeline facilities provided in, for example, an undeveloped area for the purpose of maintaining or securing employment, in order to induce industry to go there—a type of encouragement which has played a big part in post-war Britain—but, however desirable it may be for those purposes to have pipeline facilities provided there, the Minister is, under the Bill, completely powerless. As I have said—I am sorry to repeat myself—the question whether a depôt will be built in an undeveloped area, and whether that inducement to industrialists to go there will be provided so that the area may be set upon its way towards industrial growth and provide employment, depends entirely upon whether it is financially worth while for some applicant to put a pipeline service to that area.

I am quite sure that hon. Members opposite will say that this should be so. I am equally sure that my right hon. and hon. Friends will say that it is utterly wrong. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."] We differ in the House on that sort of question. In our view, it should be regarded as a matter of public service. Hon. Members opposite do not agree. It is out of the conflict of ideas that the truth emerges, and we urge our view on the Minister as a matter requiring very serious consideration by the Government.

The Minister referred to Clauses 8 and 9. Obviously, they are important Clauses, and, as I understand him, the Minister pins his faith in the value of the Bill, such as it is, from a planning point of view upon the provisions of Clauses 8 and 9. They are extremely limited in their application. They cannot achieve the purpose of procuring a planned pipeline network. What do these Clauses do? They are designed for no other purpose than securing that there is not more than the necessary amount of pipelines along any particular route. That is all.

An applicant comes to the Minister and the Minister is entitled to say to him that he will grant him authority to construct his pipeline, provided, I suppose, that it is constructed with such a bore that it will, over a period of time, take a specified amount of products of other would-be users. But let us consider this by an example. An applicant comes to the Minister and asks for permission to build an 8 in. diameter pipeline between point A and point B. Under Clause 8, the Minister says, "No; you must make it a 10 in. diameter pipeline."

The applicant may accept this and say that it is worth his while to build a 10 in. pipeline. However, according to estimates, our oil consumption in this country yearly increases at a compound rate of no less than 6 per cent. In twelve years or so, our oil consumption will be about double. A pipeline owner who constructs a 10 in. diameter pipeline, after originally wanting to make it 8 in. in diameter, will probably find next year, or the year after, that he will be using that 10 in. pipeline to capacity.

Clause 9 is the only Clause which in any sense gives rights to other persons, and I read this Clause as meaning simply that other persons may obtain the right, by applying to the Minister under Clause 9 (3), to use such surplus capacity, if any, as there is in a pipeline which has been provided by a pipeline owner. If there is no surplus capacity, the Minister cannot give any other would-be user any rights at all. Again, he is completely powerless. I see the Minister turning to the Attorney-General. I am sure that the Attorney-General will agree. At least, I hope he will; I am badly wrong if he does not.

I am sure that the right hon. and learned Gentleman will agree that the Minister, once having prescribed the dimensions of the pipeline, be it 8 in. or 10 in., will, when the pipeline is laid down, have no power at all thereafter to say that it must be enlarged so as to create surplus capacity to be available to other would-be pipeline users. A 10 in. pipeline remains a 10 in. pipeline, and, if there is no surplus capacity, there is nothing else that any other would-be user can do, and there is nothing that the Minister can do.

Any concept of common user or common carrier principle is ruled out by the provisions of the Bill. What happens, as I think I heard the Attorney-General say sotto voce, is that every would-be user, if he wants to transport his particular commodity, has to build another line.

We regard this as an utterly unsatisfactory position. There should be a service provided by a public authority, and it should not be left to the sporadic, wasteful proliferation of pipelines running, broadly speaking, along the same routes and owned by different owners. Some would-be pipeline owners may not be able to instal a pipeline along a particular route and they will have to go on using wasteful or more expensive road transport at a time when our roads are over-burdened with heavy commercial vehicles, and the burden is constantly growing.

I put it to the Minister that Clauses 8 and 9 are almost entirely ineffective. Here, I am not putting my own view only, but I am putting the view which was expressed in a leading article in The Times of 1st March this year. Clauses 8 and 9 are extremely limited in their purport. The most that they can do, if they operate, is to prevent more than two or three lines being put along the same route. They give the Minister no power to initiate the construction of lines. He rests in the position of having to wait until a private entrepreneur thinks it worth while to approach him under Clauses 8 or 9, or independently of those Clauses, to lay down his own pipeline.

I regard this—I do not mean it offensively—as a completely higgledy-piggledy arrangement. We have before us the example of sprawling, untidy development of railway lines by small competing railway systems throughout the nineteenth century under the terms of Private Acts. We fear that just this sort of thing may happen if the Bill is enacted, and it is left to the profit motive to determine whether and where a pipeline is to be laid down.

There are solid reasons why this development should be undertaken by public enterprise in some form, and I should like to give them to the House. In the nature of things, we are talking about a public utility service which should be available to all would-be users on the terms of a uniform tariff without discrimination on what is called the full public carrier principle. That reason relates to the nature of the service about which we are talking. Secondly, if that is right in principle, there must be a power in public hands to initiate and promote development as and where necessary within the framework of a national plan. There must be a forward-looking plan and the services must be provided so as to fill in its framework.

Thirdly, as I have said, we know how these pipelines work. We are not dealing with something which is unknown. Their working has been demonstrated in this country and abroad, and their potential performance can be estimated with reasonable accuracy.

Fourthly, the capital cost of providing pipelines and the servicing and maintenance cost can be estimated with reasonable accuracy. It is not a wild-cat scheme. The capital expended has a degree of permanence. A permanent enterprise of that sort is just the type of enterprise on which public funds should be embarked instead of private risk capital being called upon to finance it. Fifthly, it will provide a transport system for ingredients vital to a large sector of the national productive effort more cheaply than any present form of transport.

I should like to say a few words in amplification of those last two points. Hon. Members may have had the opportunity of considering what I think must be agreed was a most valuable and helpful article, published in the Petroleum Times of 30th June, 1961, written by a Mr. Nolan, who, as appears from the introduction, is an engineer with the highest qualifications and particularly fitted by a very wide experience to write on matters of this sort. In his article, he gives some figures which are directly relevant to what we are discussing, and I hope that I am not being selective in those I propose to quote.

Let me take the instance of an 8-inch pipeline from the examples which he gives. The cost of such a pipeline running for about 60 miles and operated on a conservative basis of what is called a 75 per cent. of hours capacity over the year would be paid off in 2.8 years by the difference between the cost of pipeline transport through that pipe and existing railway transportation costs.

An enterprise of that sort is not a speculation. If the capital cost can be written off as quickly as that—[Interruption.] Exactly. That is why I think that there should be a national plan. I agree with the Attorney-General that, if the pipeline is put in the wrong place, of course that is being wasteful. But if there is a scheme for finding out, both by reference to existing circumstances and to circumstances which are likely to eventuate as the economy develops, where it should be laid, we are not being wasteful. It is for that very reason that I am urging on the Government the point of view expressed in the Amendment.

I have just dealt with an 8 in. pipeline. In the case of a similar 12 in. pipeline, the pay-off period, as it is called, is reduced to one year. In the United States, pipelines of anything of up to 24 ins. in diameter are used. I imagine that the pay-off period for a pipe like that is a minus quantity. I do not put my own figures forward as reliable. I read them from a print, except the one relating to the minus quantity.

I have had the privilege of a conversation with Mr. Nolan. I put these further figures forward as coming from him, although entirely without commitment, and not as coming from me. I asked him what was the capital cost of an 8 in. pipeline. Taking an 8 in. pipeline 45 miles in length, he said, without commitment, that it would cost, from the capital point of view, £500,000 for the pipeline plus, say, £100,000 for the pumping installation necessary to propel the product to be carried by the pipe. Service and maintenance charges would be small. The life of the pipe would be anything up to 100 years, although the life of the pumping installation would be less—about twenty-five years.

An 8 in. pipeline is capable, so Mr. Nolan tells me, of transporting up to 1 million tons per annum of white oils and gas products if operated at 75 per cent. of hours capacity.

Mr. R. J. Maxwell-Hyslop (Tiverton)

Does the figure of £500,000 merely cover the cost of the metal of the pipe, or whatever material it is made of, and the cost of digging the trench, or does it also include the cost of the land through which it runs and the rights which are infringed?

Sir F. Soskice

I meant to ask Mr. Nolan that question, but did not. If the hon. Gentleman had asked me the same question with regard to the pay-off period figures—that is, the capital cost being paid off—I could have answered him, because that appears in the article.

According to a note in the article, the capital cost which would be so paid off by the difference between pipeline transport and rail transport includes virtually everything that I can think of. A whole list of things are included, such as land acquisition, Parliamentary procedure even legal charges, and so on. I therefore anticipate that what Mr. Nolan meant to say to me was that the figure of £500,000 included everything, but I cannot be definite on that. At any rate, the other figures which I quoted include it, judging from the terms of his article.

The Government have already gone a long way with us in the Transport Bill. By Clause 12 of that Bill, the railway boards are enabled by the specific terms of the Bill to provide, lay down and operate pipelines. If I read the Clause correctly, they can do that not only for the purpose of their own business, but, if they obtain the Minister's permission, for the purpose of transporting the products of other users. They can acquire land for that purpose provided at least 51 per cent. of the land which they use for a pipeline is land which they already own.

My right hon. and hon. Friends urged, when the Transport Bill was being discussed, that it should be for the Holding Company to provide and use pipelines, not the boards. I wish to quote what the Joint Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Transport said in answer to that proposal. He was quite specific. He stated: … we take the view that the Railways Board and the Inland Waterways Authority, in particular, are most suitable bodies for operating pipelines, for the simple reason that they have large tracts of land in the form of permanent ways along which it may well be suitable for pipelines to be built"—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 17th April, 1962; Vol. 658, c. 389.] There is very great wisdom in those words. The Government are saying that the railways boards are suitable bodies to provide and maintain pipelines. We would agree.

Mr. John H. Osborn (Sheffield, Hallam)

The right hon. and learned Gentleman has referred to Mr. Nolan's article, which I have here, and in which he said that a lot would depend on the cost of laying the pipeline. Do the figures which the right hon. and learned Gentleman quoted two or three minutes ago cover the laying of pipelines on a railway, which would be difficult and much more expensive?

Sir F. Soskice

I can only refer the hon. Member to the note on the page which has no number, from which, I think, he will find most of the answer.

With regard to pipelines on railway property, in the passage from which I was quoting the Parliamentary Secretary was pointing out that the property already exists. Surely, it would be much less expensive to lay pipelines on property we already have than on property which we have not. [HON. MEMBERS: "No."] The logic of the argument of hon. Members opposite escapes me. I should have thought that it would be much cheaper if one already has the land than if one has not.

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Transport was entirely in my favour. He was arguing on my behalf and I accept his argument. We merely ask the Government to go a little further than he did. The Transport Bill gives the railway boards permissive powers to lay pipelines. I ask the Government, if they select that form of public enterprise, and it may be the right one—that is to say, if they select the railway boards or some organ of our co-ordinated transport system, to the extent that it is still co-ordinated—to say not merely that they should have the right and the power to lay pipelines, but that they should be under the same duty to provide a pipeline service throughout the country as they are, under Clause 3 of the Bill, to provide a railway service.

The two sides of the House are not far away from each other on that basis. Our argument is that it should be public and not private enterprise. The Government say, at least as to a particular form of public enterprise, that it is to have the power. We go a little further, particularly in view of what the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Transport has said, and say that it should be made the duty of that public enterprise. We should be content if one of the railway boards has imposed upon it under the Transport Bill the duty of doing exactly what we want to see done: that is, building up on a planned frame- work a national network of pipelines instead of leaving it to the private entrepreneur, governed, as he is bound to be, by motives of private profit.

An additional reason in favour of the railways being selected is that they run under a deficit that arises largely for the reason that we have frequently pointed out. When the Government came to power, they proceeded to de-nationalise part of the road haulage transport system. They siphoned off into private pockets from the railway coffers a large part of the income which should have gone to the Transport Commission. Income will come from the operation of the pipelines. It will be diverted from the railways. We say that it should be integrated into railway income in order to diminish and, we hope, extinguish the deficit which the railways involve.

I have sought to give in general the reasons why we think that private profit should not be allowed to determine if and where pipelines are to be laid. We do not want sporadic, wasteful, sprawling development. It is not in the national interest. If these pipelines are allowed to go simply where it pays somebody to put them for the purpose of producing a good profit and loss account and balance sheet, that is exactly what will happen.

This is a great national development. It should be planned from what is now nearly the outset, although not quite the beginning of it. It is for those reasons, because, in our view, the Bill makes no sort or kind of provision for that purpose, that I have moved the Amendment.

4.55 p.m.

Mr. John Arbuthnot (Dover)

There is, of course, a cleavage of opinion between the two sides of the House about what the content of a pipelines Bill ought to be. I do not want particularly to enter into the political controversy over it. It is a difference in outlook between the two sides, and we recognise that we think differently upon it. I should, however, like to take up one or two of the points made by the right hon. and learned Member for Newport (Sir F. Soskice).

The right hon. and learned Gentleman may be under a misapprehension about how cheap it would be to construct pipelines along railways. One of the important things about the construction of pipelines in general, as his hon. Friend the Member for Deptford (Sir L. Plummer), who sat with me to consider the Esso Pipelines Bill, will confirm, is that the pipeline constructor to be at his most efficient should have a breadth of track in which to work of some 400 feet. It would be extremely difficult to have a breadth of 400 feet when working along a railway line. I have not myself seen the Esso pipeline being constructed, but I am told that it is going ahead at the rate of two miles a day. That can be done only if the constructor has room in which to work, but if he tries to lay a pipeline along a railway line he is so constricted that it is impossible to keep his costs anywhere near as low as if the work is done across open country.

I cannot help feeling that there must be snags in the financial prognostications of the right hon. and learned Member for Newport. If pipelines were as profitable as he suggests, hundreds of people would have promoted Private Bills in the years leading up to last year to take advantage of this great financial opportunity.

The right hon. and learned Gentleman has also taken my right hon. Friend the Minister to task for not taking powers for the Government to lay pipelines. The Government already have powers. My right hon. Friend has powers to lay pipelines under the Land Powers (Defence) Act, 1958, and pipelines were laid under Defence Regulations and the Acts of 1945 and 1948 for, admittedly, defence purposes.

My right hon. Friend and the right hon. and learned Gentleman have both said that today's Bill had its origin in the consideration of the Esso Bill and the Report of the Esso Bill Committee. I should like to take this opportunity of thanking my hon. Friends and hon. Members opposite who served on that Committee. It was a happy Committee, a unanimous Committee, and a hardworking one. If that Committee's Report has given rise to the present Bill, we have something substantial to our credit.

I was glad to hear my right hon. Friend paying tribute to the work done in another place in knocking the Bill into shape. Much has been done already to simplify our task. Many suggestions that had not previously come to light were brought forward, and the Bill is a very different Bill from what it was when it first went there. I listened to many of the debates which took place in another place, and very frequently I saw my right hon. Friend also listening there to those fruitful discussions.

Tribute must be paid to the spirit in which the Government met the various criticisms of the Bill and the way in which they have improved it as a result of those deliberations. Much of the credit goes to my right hon. Friend himself by reason of the receptive way in which he invited and profited by the various representations that have been made to him. Representations have been made from all sorts of quarters, I do not doubt; I have made many myself; local authorities have been making them; the people who have been considering laying pipelines have been making them; people who wanted to operate pipelines; potential users and all sorts of people have come to my right hon. Friend to discuss the various problems which the proposed new legislation poses. My right hon. Friend has been receptive to much of the advice that he has been given about the drafting of the Bill. He has said today that he looks forward to the further stages of this Bill as giving further opportunity for making a good Bill even better; that is to say, we shall have further opportunities ahead of us of improving the Bill.

Leaving aside the political content, or as hon. Members opposite would say the lack of content of the Bill, I believe that it is a good and workmanlike Measure. We had to do something to bring pipeline construction under proper control. That was clearly necessary, and this Bill does it. I therefore welcome the Bill as a whole. I feel that it does a good job of work, but I want to make one or two suggestions to improve it further. I do not want it to be thought that the suggestions that I make in any way detract from the general welcome that I give to the Bill as a whole.

My suggestions for improvement arise fundamentally from the difference in approach by this House and by the Committee on the Esso Bill, on the one hand, and, on the other, by the Ministry in drafting the Bill. It will be remembered that on 28th June, 1960, this House gave an Instruction to the Committee considering the Esso Bill to amend the Bill in such a manner as will ensure adequate safeguards to the interests of owners, lessees and occupiers of land likely to be affected, bearing in mind the provisions of the Acquisition of Land (Authorisation Procedure) Act, 1946, and to the interests of the public bodies referred to in paragraph 12, Part II, First Schedule to the Water Act, 1945. That Instruction was to amend the Bill to give greater safeguards to these people.

The Committee accepted this Instruction, but we had to report that we had complied with the Instruction only in so far as we were able to do so. We then drew attention to the fact that we thought that Private Bill procedure was unable to give full protection offered by the Acquisition of Land (Authorisation Procedure) Act, 1946, and, for this reason, that is to say because we had not been able to give full protection, we were convinced that the Private Bill procedure was not the best way of safeguarding the interests of owners, lessees and occupiers where a pipeline is to be constructed.

The approach of the Ministry is rather different, as is brought out in the second object of the Bill, as set out in the Explanatory and Financial Memorandum. The second object is to enable persons wishing to construct a cross-country pipeline or a local pipeline to obtain compulsorily the land and rights they need without having to promote a Private Bill. That was not the purpose which the Committee considering the Esso Bill had in mind. I do not know whether I am speaking for the rest of the Members of the Committee, but what I had in mind on the Esso Bill was that Government legislation on pipelines should impose, as it were, a code of duties and obligations and other provisions on pipeline constructions. What I myself envisaged was a sort of Pipelines Clauses Act, on the lines of the Railways, Canals and Lands Clauses Acts, which applied both to private and public legislation on these subjects and which seem to me analogous.

This Bill contains no such provisions. There is no power conferred on the Minister to make regulations on any of these subjects. It was argued in another place that it would be appropriate to deal with this according to the circumstances in each individual case. That worries me, since not only might this lead to unfairness or accusations of unfairness, but also to inconsistency and lack of Parliamentary control. It might also militate against the negotiation of agreements with such bodies as, for example, the National Farmers' Union.

In the case of the electricity boards, there is a series of agreements with the N.F.U. and the Country Landowners' Association and other bodies on such matters as the placing of electricity cables and pylons, and it would seem to me that a similar sort of basis might well be the appropriate type of legislation to try to incorporate in this Bill, if it were possible to do so. I would emphasise that my constructive criticisms are aimed at reconciling the different approaches to this matter by the House, the Committee on the Esso Bill and the Ministry, since I do not believe that they are incompatible at all. I want to ensure that the Bill gives proper safeguards to objectors and also ensures Parliamentary control, which seems to me under the Bill as drafted to be somewhat lacking.

There are three major points which I have to make on this matter, and one or two minor ones. The first major point is in regard to the holding of public inquiries. Under the Bill, public inquiries are compulsory only where the local planning authority objects. In other cases, my right hon. Friend may decide merely to hold an informal hearing, as he told us this afternoon. I suppose that this was designed to deal with the "lunatic fringe" of objectors, but it seems to me to be open to serious abuse.

I would give one example of the sort of abuse I have in mind. In his application to the Minister, the pipeline developer has to state, under the provisions of the First Schedule and Clause 2 (2) (c), whether compulsory rights or powers for compulsory purchase are needed and if they can be obtained. If the pipeline developer is untruthful or even optimistic on this point, the developer might persuade the Minister that there were no serious objections to the application. Subsequently, perhaps, an objector discovers that the application was going through, and at this late stage there would naturally be a strong temptation on the part of the Minister to dispense with a local inquiry on the ground that the strength of the objections did not justify the expense, delay and inconvenience and to substitute instead an informal hearing, as proposed under the First Schedule. It is worth noting that a hearing is virtually useless unless any objector who wishes to can achieve more than merely stating his grievance since he cannot cross-examine the applicant's witnesses or indeed even have the case for the applicant fully presented to him first.

Furthermore, such a hearing would probably be in private and unadvertised so that the chances of enlisting local support or the support of other people who might be in the same position as the objector would seem to be remote. I do believe that there are serious dangers here, and I would suggest to my right hon. Friend that anybody who would at present have locus standi under the Private Bill procedure ought to be entitled to demand a public inquiry as of right.

Possibly my right hon. Friend is fearful that this might lead to frivolous petitions. I would have thought he could safeguard himself against those by including a provision in the Bill for costs to be awarded against a frivolous petitioner. A precedent for this is in Section 7 of the Statutory Orders (Special Procedure) Act, 1945, so that he would not be doing anything very novel if he were to safeguard himself in this way. He could then allow anybody who had a locus standi to require a public inquiry as of right. The objector could then cross-examine witnesses and would be in a very much stronger position than at a "hearing", which is at present all to which he is entitled.

The second major point which I would put to the House is the proposal in the Bill to continue to use Special Order procedure. This is a new use for Special Order procedure and is applying it to circumstances for which it was never intended, that is to say, to assist one private individual, the developer, as against another private individual, the objector. The House will remember that the Esso Bill Committee recommended Provisional Order Bills. We set our face against Special Order procedure.

It is quite true that in another place the Government made a small concession making it easier for a petition of general objection to be referred to a Joint Committee, but I am far from happy about that concession, since under this Bill it is proposed that a resolution of one House only can block a petition of general objection from being referred to a Joint Committee. This follows the 1945 Act but practically no other legislation. In almost every other case an affirmative Resolution must be passed by both Houses, and it would seem to me that a Resolution of both Houses should be called for in this case. A requirement of this kind would present no difficulty to the Government.

The thing which I am fearful of is that I foresee a possibility, with a Resolution in only one House, that a powerful oil company or pipeline company could get enough Members or Peers to pass such a Resolution thereby voting down an objector who might not be able to command such a lobby, regardless of the merits of the petition. So I hope that this point will be considered very carefully by my right hon. Friend and in Committee.

The Bill as drafted does nothing at all to meet other objections to Special Procedure Orders and in particular the objections of too short petitioning time, too short time to move that an Order be annulled, and the general rigidity about petitions. For example, there is no provision for petitions which are late in time even though their lateness may be no fault of the petitioners. Again, there is no provision for Orders to be amended even if the Minister wishes to amend them. For those reasons I am not satisfied with the concession which was made by the Government in another place.

In view of the undertaking which was given by the Government spokesman in another place I had hoped, and I still hope, that the Government will agree to the deletion of Section 4 (2) of the Statutory Orders (Special Procedure) Act, 1945, altogether in relation to applications for pipelines. However, my real belief is that the Esso Bill Committee was right in recommending Provisional Order Bills and not Special Order procedure for dealing with these matters.

My third major objection is this. Compulsory purchase orders which come under Clause 10 (5) and compulsory rights orders which come under Clause 11 (7) are subject to Special Parliamentary Procedure, but pipeline construction authorisations, that is to say, authorisations relating to pipelines exceeding 10 miles in length, the big ones, which are dealt with in Clause 1 and in the First Schedule, do not come under this procedure. These pipelines may be quite formidable undertakings which would seem to me to merit further scrutiny in the event of objection and closer Parliamentary control, and frankly, I do not quite understand the reason why they escape it under the Bill as drafted. I think that they ought to be brought in.

Now I turn to one or two minor points. In Clause 58 (2) it is provided that pipelines wild mean certain things and "no other". Among the things which are included in the "no other" are terminal buildings, that is to say, terminal buildings are excluded from the scope of the Bill. It would seem to me that a pipeline which had no terminal buildings might be a white elephant. I can see no reason for their not being brought into the scope of the Bill, as well as the pipelines and other machinery which go with them.

I also wonder whether control of local pipelines, up to 10 miles in length, particularly, for example, those pipelines which might be carrying some very poisonous substance, is covered by the special powers which are in the Bill for my right hon. Friend in certain cases of pipelines less than 10 miles long.

The next point which concerns me is the question of penalties. The penalties imposed by the Bill for contravention of its provisions seem to be low. In fact, I would almost describe them as derisory. The penalty for unlawful construction of pipelines is only £100, and there is a like penalty under Clause 2 relating to local pipelines. The penalties for unlawful construction under Clauses 1 and 2 seem to be based on penalties under the Town and Country Planning Act, 1947, but it seems to me that there are one or two considerations which ought to be borne in mind. Prices have increased substantially since 1947, and the companies likely to contravene those Clauses are much richer people than those likely to infringe the Town and Country Planning Act. Furthermore, the development undertaken would be of a more serious nature than most contraventions of the Town and Country Planning Act. I know that it was argued in another place that really these penalties were not an effective deterrent for the pipeline operator and that the Government had other ways of bringing pressure to bear on pipeline constructors and operators, but at any rate it seems to me that this may be worth further consideration.

Although, as has been pointed out, this Bill arose out of the recommendations of the Committee on the Esso Bill of 1960, in fact it departs very considerably from the ideas which first led to the setting up of that Committee and from the ideas which were set out in its Report. The Esso Committee was concerned that Private Bill procedure did not give adequate and fair treatment to objectors and further thought that a new field was being opened up with no provisions for ensuring proper and equal standards of treatment for objectors and in the public interest generally.

The Bill in some respects alters the situation in these matters for the worse. For example, the whole burden of proof is shifted from the promoters, in the case of a Private Bill, who have to satisfy Parliament that their development is in the public interest. This Bill merely requires the developer to tell the Minister that he wants a pipeline and it is then for the objector, if he finds out about it in time, to satisfy my right hon. Friend that the pipeline will do him harm or is contrary to the public interest.

The Bill, good though I think it is, wants further amendment. I believe that we can improve it substantially as it goes through its stages. I hope that in the light of some of these considerations it will be looked at with care in Committee and that my right hon. Friend will continue to be as accommodating as he has been so far in con- sidering Amendments when he comes to consider future Amendments to be tabled in Committee.

5.22 p.m.

Mr. Niall MacDermot (Derby, North)

The hon. Member for Dover (Mr. Arbuthnot) has damned the Bill with the faintest of faint praise and has pointed out many of its minor defects. I hope that he will forgive me if I do not follow him on the interesting points he has raised, though I hope to return later to his initial comments on the capital cost aspects of pipeline development.

In our view, not only is this a most unsatisfactory Bill, for the reasons stated in our Amendment, but it is from the constitutional point of view a most peculiar Bill. As far as public general Acts go, it is without precedent in that it gives to private enterprise the rights and advantages of a public utility undertaking without imposing on it the burdens and duties of providing a public service. Throughout the Bill the keynote is that the whole of this development is to be dominated by the consideration of profitability. Everything is to be sacrificed on the altar of profit, not only the public good in the true sense, but the opportunities which the Bill gives for positive planning and for making real savings in the interests of the public purse.

The Government have deserted even further the already deserted friends of the party opposite, the private landowners. In days gone by we should have seen hon. Members opposite coming to the House in hordes in a storm of fury about the Bill in order to defend the rights of private landowners, and perhaps we should have seen even greater hordes and greater fury in another place. As it is, in the passage of the Bill through the other place few voices were raised on their behalf, and I would be interested to hear how many are raised here today. The party opposite is no longer the party of the big landowners and still less of the little landowners. For anyone who is interested in studying the party opposite, the whole passage of the Bill throws an interesting light on who truly are the influential voices with the Government. They are, of course, the big business interests.

To show how far the party opposite has fallen, under the Bill not only will private enterprise companies be able, by use of compulsory powers, to acquire rights over landowners for their own profit, but they are not going to pay a penny piece in wayleaves for the rights that they acquire compulsorily. They will sit back with all the advantages of public utility organisations, merely paying compensation in damage for actual and future loss which can be proved. Those who have experience in this field know that anyone who is subjected to compulsory purchase often sustains future losses which he is not able to prove at the time, but there is not a penny piece to be paid by a private enterprise organisation for the rights themselves which they acquire.

The real battle hitherto on the Bill has been between two different sections of big business. On the one hand, we have had the oil companies and, on the other hand, a consortium which formed a company known as the Trunk Pipelines Company Limited which sought to promote a Private Bill here to lay a pipeline from Canvey Island to London and to extend it later to Birmingham and Merseyside. That body intended to operate the pipeline roughly on a common carrier basis and to make it available to be rented out to all comers.

The conflict between these two interests is between those, and particularly the oil companies, who want to construct their own pipelines to use them as their own means of delivery, and the private interests who want to be able to obtain a licence to operate a transport service. It is the old conflict that we know in the transport industry between the "C" licence holder and the "A" licence holder. As far as things have gone up to date with this Bill, one can say that Trunk Pipelines Limited and those who have been urging its interest have secured certain concessions, but in general the oil companies are winning hands down.

I should like to turn for a moment to the question dealt with by my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Newport (Sir F. Soskice) and say something about the economics of the pipeline business. The oil companies have been putting out the story that the capital cost of construction of pipelines is highly expensive and requires a vast capital outlay. It was described in a glossy publication, which no doubt all hon. Members have received from Esso, as being a "considerable capital cost". Government spokesmen have followed the same line of argument and have used it against the development being undertaken by private enterprise. They say that it is not right to impose this great capital burden upon the public purse when it can be done by private enterprise.

No figures are given in support of this argument. My right hon. and learned Friend quoted certain figures put forward by Mr. Nolan. Other figures were put forward in an article in The Times on 15th February last year. As far as I am aware, those figures have not been challenged. The figures there given show that for an 8 in. pipeline 100 miles long the cost of construction would work out at £11,000 per mile. In other words, with an outlay of £11 million one could construct 1,000 miles of pipeline in this country. The article also stated that for a 10 in. pipeline costs would be 30 per cent. greater. When one compares that with the cost of constructing a motorway at £250,000 per mile one can see that the capital costs involved in pipeline construction are nothing like the vast figures which have been suggested but never quoted.

My right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Newport also quoted examples of the pay-off period given in Mr. Nolan's article in the Petroleum Times. Hon. Members will find many more such figures showing the quite remarkably short time in which capital costs can be paid off, particularly with the shorter lines because, contrary to the general belief, as Mr. Nolan shows, the shorter lines pay off quicker than the longer ones. For example, he estimates that a 6 in. pipeline of only 10 miles long would be paid off in 16 months and a 1 mile pipeline could be paid off in one month. Taking the longer distance of 60 miles, my right hon. and learned Friend quoted the case of an 8 in. pipeline which, operated on a conservative basis of what is called a 75 per cent. hour capacity over the year, would be paid off in 2.8 years. A 12 in. pipeline of 60 miles length could be paid off in one year and pipelines of 8 ins. and 12 ins., respectively, over longer distances would be paid off in four years and 1.6 years. So again one can see that these figures—and they are the only available quoted figures—do not support the contention that this is some vast expensive burden which cannot possibly be put upon the public purse. What it quite obviously is is a highly profitable one which could, if developed for public enterprise, greatly relieve the public purse.

These figures were all given in relation to multi-product pipelines. Another thing which appears in the article is that the economics of the single product pipeline are very much more favourable to the user than those of a multi-product pipeline for a number of reasons. First, the percentage of the available time for which the pipeline can be used is much greater—nearly 100 per cent. instead of 75 per cent., as quoted by my right hon. and learned Friend. Secondly, the overheads are much less, less tankage is required and the management, of course, is simpler and the controls much less costly.

The next argument put forward against public ownership, and which was put forward by the Minister in moving the Second Reading today, is that the Government have not the necessary knowledge to enable them to initiate and plan the development of pipelines in this country. As was said in another place, the Government cannot initiate without knowing what is needed and what is necessary for industry. If this is true, the admission makes nonsense of the Government's pretence that they will control the development of pipelines in the public interest. Again it was said in another place that the Government would ensure that there was public control on "a recognised plan and pattern." Which way do the Government want to have it? Have they a recognised plan and pattern? If they have, it must be based on a proper assessment of what are the future needs and requirements, what is necessary in the public interest and what is the basis upon which pipelines ought to be developed in this country. If the Government have that plan and pattern, why on earth cannot it be undertaken by public enterprise and initiated by public enterprise in accordance with such a pattern?

When one looks at the very limited powers which the Minister has under the Bill, it becomes perfectly patent that the Government have no intention whatever of imposing any plan and pattern on this development. Take the example of a petrol company which applies to lay a single-product line between points A and B. Suppose that the Government decide that in accordance with their plan and pattern what is needed between A and B is not a single product line but a multi-product line. As I read the Bill, there is no power whatever vested in the Government to require that the developer shall lay a multi-product line. The only power which the Government have is to require that the developer shall use a larger single-product line.

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

I have had a great deal of experience of building pipelines, and I should be fascinated to know what is the difference between laying a single-product pipeline and a multi-product pipeline.

Mr. MacDermot

Like the hon. Gentleman, I, too, should be fascinated to know that. Obviously in terms of the pipeline there is none, but if the hon. Gentleman will look at the Bill he will see that there is a difference and a distinction drawn in it between the pipeline to be used for a single-product and one to be used for a number of products. If the application is made for a single-product pipeline then the Minister has power to instruct the developer to construct a pipeline capable of carrying more of that product. He has no power to order him to construct one which is capable of carrying many products.

In many cases, dependent on the type of product, there could be a difference in the tensile strength of the steel, the pressure at which the product was to be pumped, and so forth. But this distinction, as drawn in the Bill, shows, in my submission, that the powers which the Government are proposing to take to themselves are inadequate for ensuring a proper control of the development. The point has already been made by my right hon. and learned Friend that even when under Clause 8 the Government have required the developer to lay a larger pipeline, if he himself in the course of his own business is able to use that additional capacity, the Government have no power whatever to require him to make available any of the use of that pipeline to anyone else. In other words, if it is intended to be a means of ensuring multi-use of the pipeline this can be defeated by normal economic expansion on the part of the producer, and it does nothing of the sort. To describe this, as has been done by some of the oil companies, as imposing a form of common carrier liability on the developer shows either a complete misunderstanding of the Bill or a complete misunderstanding of what common carrier liabilities are.

Again, if one looks at the power of the Minister for regulating charges one sees that he has extremely limited power. If and when the owner of the pipeline refuses to make it available to someone else when he has surplus capacity, the Minister can then direct that it shall be made available to another user and can prescribe the rate at which it is to be made available. That is the only power he has. He has no power in a case where the owner is making it available to someone else though at extortionate and excessive rates, something which happens as one knows well, in the history of the American development of pipelines.

There is no power in the Bill in that circumstance for the Minister to control the rate at all, nor any power to make a direction to the company in respect of any other user because the facilities are being offered and made available albeit at an extortionate rate. There is no power for the Minister to alter the rates later if economic circumstances change. When one compares these powers with the powers of control over the common carrier which there is in the American legislation one can see how little real intention there is to exercise control under the Bill.

Again, there is no power vested in the Minister to order at any stage the expansion of the capacity. Once the pipeline has been laid down on a particular route which has been authorised and it is found that a second pipeline is required, there is no power as under the French legislation for the Government to say to the user, "You will now lay a second pipeline" After all, one must remember that—

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

This is not the correct interpretation of the French basic law of 16th May, 1959.

Mr. MacDermot

Perhaps we can argue that later. As I understand the French law, the Government have the power, as was stated in an article in The Times, to order the expansion of the capacity. There is no such power under this Bill as again there should be if there were any serious intention to develop it.

When one remembers that in the initial authorisation a private enterprise concern is being given compulsory powers over a given route and has already paid all the compensation for the damage suffered and for land which has been sterilised, it is surely insanity to say that if at a later stage more capacity is required another company has to construct another line along another route again having to pay all over again the whole of the compensation and, which is worse, sterilise another 20 feet belt of land for the whole length of the pipeline.

Again, the powers of the Minister to call for information from the operators are very small indeed. An operator can cease to operate a pipeline completely and does not have to tell the Minister about it until three years have elapsed. How on earth, if that is to be the relationship between the Minister and the operators, is he to exercise proper direction and control in accordance with a plan and pattern?

The Minister has no power to control the change of ownership of the pipeline. Despite the significance and importance of pipelines from the defence point of view, it would be quite possible for one of these companies to sell its interest in a pipeline to a foreign concern. Is it right that the Minister should have no power to control that? As I read it, nor has he power to control any change of user. An authorisation can be obtained to lay a pipeline with a view to its being used for a particular product and a particular purpose, but if there is a change to another user, does the Minister have power to control that change?

These powers are pathetic, if there is any real intentions to exercise proper control over this development. But the real object that emerges from the Bill and from the discussions which took place in another place is not to control the development of pipelines in the public interest but "to allow private enterprise the greatest possible scope". Indeed, those were the words used in introducing the Bill into another place. Our submission is that the object should be to allow our own publicly-owned transport industry and not private enterprise the greatest possible scope in developing this in a planned, orderly manner. The arguments for public ownership are clear.

They are, first, to ensure a properly planned development as part of positive economic and social planning; secondly, to prevent the anarchic development which would result from leaving the initiative to private enterprise; thirdly, to see that the profits of the most profitable users are not left to swell the profits of private enterprise, and, in particular, of the oil companies, but are used to help finance less profitable but socially useful development.

I will try to illustrate this through a hypothetical example from my own constituency. I do not know, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, if you have ever had the pleasure of going to Derby, but if you have it could not have escaped your attention that immediately behind the cathedral, in the centre of the town, there is situated a large and not very attractive power station. The second thing that would probably have attracted your attention was the day and night thundering through the streets of large ten-ton coal lorries carrying industrial coals from neighbouring pits in Derbyshire, many of them to this power station.

These lorries were counted, I think, by the chief constable recently, and it was found that they were passing through Derby at the rate of 179 to the hour, which is three every minute, squirting diesel fumes over the inhabitants, quite apart from the congestion they cause to traffic. There is no railway line serving that power station. I do not know, and do not pretend to know, whether it would be possible and feasible to carry coals to that power station from the local mines into Derby by pipeline. Technically, it would be possible, for in the United States they have been carry- ing coals to power stations for distances of 100 miles and more.

Let us assume that it would be a feasible but not highly profitable undertaking. Assume from the purely economic point of view it would about break even. Obviously, from the social point of view, under these circumstances, it would be a highly desirable development. Under this Bill, however, one thing is plain: that development would never take place.

It would not be undertaken by private enterprise for the simple reason that there would not be any profit in it. It would not be undertaken by the Government because they have not the power to initiate socially useful development. It would not be and could not be undertaken by the British Transport Commission or its successors because it has no railway line along which it could lay the pipeline. It would not be and could not be undertaken by the National Coal Board which supplies the coal, for the simple reason that it has no power to lay pipelines. Equally it could not be and would not be undertaken by the nationally owned electricity industry for the same reason. The result would be that this very socially useful and desirable pipeline simply would never be laid.

My submission is that this illustrates what is the essential evil of this Bill—that it means that this important new development in transportation will not be planned and developed truly in the public interest but will be left to spread itself sporadically and unplanned purely in the interests of private profit.

We consider that this is a bad Bill. I hope that the Government realise that they will have to bring up some very heavy pumping machinery if they are to get it out of the pipeline in this House in the time they expect.

5.47 p.m.

Mr. F. V. Corfield (Gloucestershire, South)

I think that everyone who has spoken has referred to the pedigree of this Bill as arising from the debate on the Esso Petroleum Company's Bill and the recommendation of the Select Committee. I can at least claim some responsibility for the fact that it ever got to the Select Committee, because I drafted the appropriate Instruction and moved it. I think, therefore, that I might be allowed to recall the reasons why I did that, with a view to seeing the extent to which the Bill meets the objections I raised to the Esso Bill in particular, and to the use of the Private Bill procedure in general, for projects of this sort.

Obviously, the main matter with which we were concerned was the suitability or otherwise of the Private Bill procedure and that, of course, inevitably raised the whole question of pipeline policy in general—whether pipelines should be allowed to proliferate all over the country, whether they should be more or less controlled, and who should exercise that control, Parliament or the Government.

These are matters on which it is inevitable that the two sides of the House should take differing views, in some cases totally opposing views. But I suggest that the answer to the point raised by the right hon. and learned Member for Newport (Sir F. Soskice) about the provisions of Clause 9, whereby a prospective operator can apply to use surplus capacity, is that those provisions must depend for their effectiveness on the estimate of likely demand, which is provided for in Clause 8. There is no reason to believe that the Minister is likely to make a worse shot at estimating demand than any of the boards of the nationalised industries to which Members opposite are so devoted.

In considering the whole question of Private Bill procedure in relation to pipelines, one was struck by the precedent of the railways and the necessity of providing general legislation in the form of the Railway Clauses Consolidation Act, 1845, to replace former procedure by private legislature. This was something which seemed to be appropriate to pipelines at this stage of their development, bearing in mind that in many respects a pipeline is equally suitable for liquid as for many types of solid.

At the time of the Esso Bill, as a Member for a constituency affected by one of the pipelines which that Bill proposed to develop, my main concern was with the adequacy of the safeguards for the rights of private individuals, local authorities and statutory undertakers. There was a good deal of evidence at the time of the Esso Bill to show that those people had not been adequately consulted, even in the case of such important undertakings as those responsible for water supplies in the neighbourhood of this pipeline.

I have always taken the view that one should always look with some suspicion on any effort to extend powers of compulsory acquisition, and one should look with even graver suspicion when that is in favour of private bodies. One of the main difficulties of the Private Bill procedure is that it is necessary on these occasions to delineate the proposed line with a considerable degree of accuracy, and that makes it very difficult to allow for minor modifications, because in many cases it is impossible to alter a pipeline, even quite small distances, because solids, at any rate, will be forced round a pipeline only of a limited curvature.

The only course open to a landowner who particularly wants a small modification, perhaps a horticulturist with a glasshouse, is, in any case, the very cumbersome and expensive course of petitioning. It seemed to me absolutely essential that we should introduce a cheaper and more expeditious means of resolving the various conflicts of interest which inevitably arise when a pipeline is proposed and when local authorities, water undertakers and so on are likely to be affected.

It was with these considerations in mind that I moved the Instruction and it may be appropriate to remind the House of its contents, because the present Bill is supposed to meet the demands of that Instruction: That it be an Instruction to the Committee to amend the Bill in such a manner as will ensure that the safeguards to the interests of owners, lessees and occupiers of land likely to be affected are similar to and no less effective than those available under the Acquisition of Land (Authorisation Procedure) Act, 1946, and that the interests of the public bodies referred to in paragraph 12, Part II, First Schedule to the Water Act, 1945, are similarly protected; and to inquire whether general public legislation relating to the laying, maintenance and operation of pipelines is desirable, and to report thereon to the House. It is with that background that I have studied the Bill and my first observation of a general nature is that it appears to be the view of the Government that the corollary to improving safeguards for the individual is to increase the power of the Minister.

I have the honour to represent a constituency which, although entirely in the County of Gloucester, is very close to and in its interests and so on closely tied up with the City of Bristol, which was formerly represented by Edmund Burke. It may not be inappropriate, even in the twentieth century, to ask ourselves sometimes whether the power of the Executive is not increasing and whether it ought not in some respects to be diminished rather than increased. That is the sentiment which, I think, it is useful to bear in mind in studying the Bill from this aspect. My right hon. Friend has put this forward as a merit of the Bill; I find it a little difficult to agree.

Clause 1 gives the Minister completely unfettered discretion in deciding whether he allows the first stage of the pipeline procedure, that is, whether he accepts or refuses a pipeline construction authorisation. This seems a little curious because it may well be, and probably will be in the future, that the majority of the pipelines concerned will be designed to carry something with no possible connection with the Minister of Power. I am not quite certain what the relevance of the experience of my right hon. Friend's advisers is when he gets an application from the Milk Marketing Board to pump milk, or from the British Oil and Cake Mills to move feedingstuffs through a pipeline. One would have felt that there would be some better provision to see that the application went to somebody whose advisers might know a little about the problem.

If the applicant is fortunate enough to get my right hon. Friend's approval, his next hurdle is to look through the various provisions of the First Schedule and to publish certain notices. The curious thing is that although the Bill is supposed to improve safeguards for the individual and the owners and occupiers of the land on the route in particular, the Bill does not lay down any need for the applicant to send those people any form of notice. All he has to do is to publish a notice in the Gazette and such other manner as the Minister may direct and notify local planning authorities and such other persons as may be specified by the Minister. One would have thought that the owners and occupiers of the land would have been notified automatically.

Of course, I accept that if the promoter has been fortunate enough to be able to negotiate and reach agreement with the various owners and occupiers who may be affected, it can be assumed that they will not object and that they know all about it without being notified, but there are people besides the owners and occupiers of the land actually on the route who may be very much affected. These pipelines go along a relatively narrow stretch of land and can affect neighbouring property, particularly if they are carrying obnoxious substances of one sort or another—poisonous, explosive or inflammable. I would have thought that if local planning authorities had to be notified, it was sensible to notify the ordinary local authorities, the county districts, and so on, and the statutory undertakers who may be very much affected by a project of this sort.

In general, I welcome the provision in paragraph 4 of the First Schedule which says that the Minister shall in no event grant an application without convening either a public inquiry or a hearing, but I share the apprehension of my hon. Friend the Member for Dover (Mr. Arbuthnot) about the alternative power given to the Minister to decide upon a hearing in preference to a public inquiry. In my experience, hearings convened by the Minister of Housing and Local Government under the planning Acts and the housing Acts are very similar to public inquiries in the sense that both parties are present and the applicant has an opportunity of cross-examining the witnesses for the authority which he is opposing, whether it be a housing or planning authority. I understood that a hearing under the Bill had the same meaning and would be applied in the same way. If this is so, then perhaps my hon. Friend's apprehensions are not quite as serious as they might otherwise appear to be, but I hope that my right hon. Friend will confirm that that is his concept of a hearing.

If it is, it surely gives him very little advantage over a public inquiry, because if the objection is a frivolous one, no one will turn up at the inquiry to object, other than the objector who has caused the hearing to be held. We have to remember, too, that the ordinary citizen does not study the London Gazette very much. He does not always study the advertisements in his local paper, and it often happens that the first somebody who may well be affected—but who has not had specific notice served upon him—knows about a project of this sort is the convening of the public inquiry.

There does not seem to be any object in saying that he cannot come along at this stage and make his objection and explain his position simply because by this time the Minister will have decided that a hearing would be easier than a public inquiry. I cannot see that it will save my right hon. Friend or any of the members of his Department any trouble, and I hope that we shall have an assurance on the lines suggested by my hon. Friend the Member far Dover, that public inquiries will be held in all cases.

The next stage is that if the promoter is unable to obtain the agreement of all the people who own land over which he wishes to put his pipeline he has to apply either for a compulsory purchase order, or a compulsory rights order. Under this we seem to have a similar procedure to that laid down in the Acquisition of Land (Authorisation Procedure) Act, 1946, subject, however, to what may be regarded as an additional stage of the Special Parliamentary Procedure.

This is a matter again on which I strongly support my hon. Friend the Member for Dover, because, as I understand it, there is a ruling from the Chair that on a Statutory Order of this kind the one thing that the House cannot do is to discuss any alternative means of obtaining the same object. This seems to me a serious and major defect in this procedure, because it could well be that in a proposed pipeline project Parliament and the Minister could take opposing views. Generally, these matters will turn in the last resort perhaps on one objection or one type of objection, and it will be a question of balance whether the public interest should override the objections, or the other way round.

It could well be that the Minister will take one view, and the House another. If this happens the House will have no alternative but to throw out the whole project, and that may mean enormous delays before it can be reinitiated on another route to avoid all the problems that have arisen and brought about this impasse. If it can be shown, as it often can, and one can anticipate this to some extent, that the project is a matter of grave national importance and urgency, the House will be under great pressure from the Government to let it go through, notwithstanding that the sympathies of the House are with the objector or with a set of objections.

If that happens, this Special Parliamentary Procedure will become useless as any form of a safeguard. In fact, from this point of view the objectors, whether private individuals or local authorities, will be worse off than they would be under the old procedure by which the matter could be discussed on Second Reading, and an Instruction moved indicating that a change of route should be provided. I hope that my right hon. Friend will look at this again and try to introduce a final procedure which will enable modifications to be made and not leave the House with the alternative of either complete rejection or complete acceptance.

As I understand it, Clause 2 requires a minimum of 16 weeks' notice for the erection of any pipeline under 10 miles in length. I have looked with some interest at the definition of "pipeline" and "local pipeline", but it seems to be that there is nothing in the Bill which prevents the ordinary pipes that float around a chemical works to be pipelines governable by the Bill. A large chemical works is being erected in my constituency, and to the ordinary layman it consists of almost nothing but pipelines.

I hope that my right hon. Friend—whose attention I hope I can have on this matter—will give us some assurance that people who are developing chemical plants and the like, such as is being done by I.C.I. in my constituency, will not have to give 16 weeks' notice for every pipeline within their own curtilages, which in many cases are part and parcel of complicated chemical and other plants.

In that connection, my right hon. Friend said that he was reluctant to issue any general safety regulations, and felt that it was better to operate under Clause 19, making conditions with regard to safety in respect of each case. But I think that if we are to use the Clause 2 procedure to get conditions of safety inserted we have got very muddled up with our Departments, because most of these accident and safety precautions present almost precisely the same type of problem with which the Factory Inspectorate deals every day of the week in chemical and engineering factories and the like. It does not seem sense that we should set up a parallel body of experts to send out a series of conditions for the installation and safe management of pipelines when there exists an establishment capable of, and actually doing, that very job.

Perhaps I might turn for a moment to the question of compulsory acquisition and damage. As I read Clause 12, to which the hon. Member for Derby, North (Mr. MacDermot) referred, I take it, although perhaps I have not given to it the time given by the hon. Gentleman, that this follows closely what happens at the moment in respect of the payment of compensation for gas pipes, water pipes, electricity lines and the like.

Mr. MacDermot

Public utilities.

Mr. Corfield

Although the electricity board makes wayleave agreements, that, as I understand, is a result of agreement with bodies such as the N.F.U. and the Country Landowners' Association that this is the easiest way of finding a formula to cover the general inconvenience caused by lines of pylons or timber poles, or whatever it is, across farmland.

I appreciate the point made by the hon. Member for Derby, North that all these bodies are public utilities, but I am not sure that one can draw a distinction, and on another occasion I shall be interested to hear his views and the reasons why people should get paid more for the same service, that is, providing land for pipes, simply because it is demanded in one case by one body and in another case by another. I have never understood this argument, and it is the argument against which I based a lot of my complaints to the Government a few years ago on the subject of the differentiation between the compensation paid to people when land was acquired by public bodies and the price that they would receive in the open market when it was acquired by anyone else.

Mr. MacDermot

If he had not powers of compulsory purchase, the developer would have to pay more. But what is happening here is that the private developer is getting all the advantages as if he were a public authority, and merely paying compensation for actual loss and not giving any of the profit advantage to the person whose land he takes.

Mr. Corfield

I sympathise with the hon. Gentleman, but, when he says that the owner of the land would get more, it is the marginal owner who would get more; the last man in. That is difficult to justify where one gets reasonable agreement on nine-tenths of the length and has the remaining one-tenth held to ransom, and it is doubtful whether it makes sense to pay those last owners a higher rate. I should have thought that that was the crux of the argument.

I want to turn very briefly to the question of damage resulting from these pipelines. I suppose that we have to deal not only with the possibility of leaks, but with materials of this sort there is at least the possibility of explosion. I should like an assurance from my right hon. Friend that it is intended that the liability for damage should be absolute under the Bill, as I think I am right in saying it is under common law under the rule in Rylands v. Fletcher. Unless that is so there is a danger of damage arising subsequently not only to the owners of land through which the pipe passes, but to the owners of land and other interests over a very much wider area.

If this is an absolute liability it is quite clear that it could run into very large sums indeed if something went wrong, and I hope that my right hon. Friend will consider very carefully whether a Clause should not be inserted in the Bill to provide for compulsory insurance, because we are dealing with something that could have enormous repercussions and result in such great damage that even some of the great oil companies would find it difficult to meet their liabilities if things went very badly wrong.

Therefore, on the question of safety, I hope that the Government will consider very carefully whether they cannot themselves produce a code of safety regulations or a code of conduct for the construction of these pipelines, both from the point of view of the general pipelines and if necessary with supplements for pipelines for special types of material, because however much easier it may be to make these regulations case by case under Clause 19 it is difficult for prospective operators to know what they are up against and what conditions they have to fulfil if there is no code of conditions. As these things get larger in number it will be difficult, I think, to have an efficient and equitable administration of these various conditions which will vary from pipeline to pipeline and from operator to operator.

Finally, I deprecate a little—this is a minor point—the Clause which enables my right hon. Friend, as, indeed, do many other Acts, to give planning permission. In other words, he has some planning powers. I am certain that at the moment there is a very widespread feeling that the various defects of planning stem to a large extent from the multiplicity of Departments that can interfere. After all, planning is basically dictated by the pattern of communications, the location of industry and the provision of power yet the Minister whom we hold responsible in this House has responsibility for none of these things.

Until the Government accept the suggestions which we on this side of the House have put forward more than once for a permanent sub-committee of the Cabinet of all these Departments to see that there is co-ordination in planning, I think that it is very unwise indeed to extend the planning power of any Minister other than that of the Minister responsible to this House, namely, the Minister of Housing and Local Government.

I conclude by saying that I welcome the Bill. I think that it goes a long way towards what I had in mind when I first got interested in this matter, although I doubt whether the safeguards are quite as good as they appear to be. I think that we need to look at that carefully. On balance, I would rather like to see less power in the hands of the Executive and more in the hands of Parliament, but I welcome the Bill as an effort to achieve what the Select Com- mittee recommended and what most of us had in mind when we debated this matter a few years ago.

6.15 p.m.

Mr. Desmond Donnelly (Pembroke)

Like the hon. Member for Gloucestershire, South (Mr. Corfield), I, too, have a constituency interest in this matter. I put mine as being rather a wider constituency interest and in a way a national interest.

I intervene in this debate because the area of Milford Haven, in my constituency, is now in the process of becoming perhaps the largest oil port in Western Europe. About £25 million have been invested in it, mainly in the Esso Oil Refinery, at Herbrandston, and now the British Petroleum landing stage at Popton, which the Minister himself opened, which pumps oil 60 miles to the oil refinery at Llandarcy. In addition, another £30 million is to be invested shortly by the Regent Petroleum Co. near Pembroke Dock.

The consequence of this is a revolution in the whole life of West Wales. The deep water harbour of Milford Haven, which has been neglected for centuries, is now seeing the largest ships in the world coming into it, ships of over 80,000 tons. It is all very exciting, but there are many difficult, practical problems involved for us in that area; and, naturally, we are interested in the implications of the Bill.

During the course of my few remarks I hope that the House will forgive me if I wear two different kinds of hat. The first hat that I shall wear for a short time will be my doctrinal hat to show my support for my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Newport (Sir F. Soskice) and then I propose to put on my practical hat to deal with some of the implications. A little later on I propose to still retain my practical hat in order to take a closer look at the Bill and, finally, to ensure that there is no doubt at all about the colour of it, I shall put on my doctrinal hat for my concluding words. I have studied various kinds of political millinery very closely. They all fit very well and it is surprising how snugly the practical hat fits under the doctrinal hat and how useful it is.

First, in my doctrinal hat I support the Opposition Amendment, which my right hon. and learned Friend moved extremely ably, if I may say so. In my judgment, the Government have approached this problem by means of half-hearted stages. First, we had the Esso Petroleum Company Bill as a Private Bill. As the Select Committee subsequently reported, that should have been a Public Bill. No private company should have to deal with the problems and responsibility of having to undertake a matter of this kind. It was the Government's failure to face their public responsibility in the first instance that the Private Bill was promoted. Then, pushed by the Select Committee, we have now this Public Bill. As my right hon. and learned Friend said, it still does not go far enough.

The Minister said that we were possibly only at the beginning of the development of the possible use of pipelines. If this is so—sand I accept it—surely it would have been much wiser to take wider powers, so that it would not be necessary to ask the House for further legislation to enable the Government—even accepting the Minister's political premises—to operate a governmental public sector of a pipelines system side by side with a private sector. I should have thought that that was doctrinal, or perhaps merely half-hearted—because it is half-heartedness that has been the record of the Government—to exclude the idea of a publicly-owned system operating side by side with a privately-owned one.

Secondly, it is unwise, and perhaps wrong, not to take power to enable the Government to initiate pipelines for various reasons, such as the social purposes referred to by my right hon. and learned Friend. But I should have thought that a much more important point—as my right hon. and learned Friend mentioned, by implication—was that it is in the national interest to have a national system of pipelines for defence purposes. At the very least the Government have missed an important legislative opportunity, which will cause difficulties in the future. It is for that reason that I wholeheartedly support my right hon. and learned Friend.

I now put on my practical hat. Having said what I have, I nevertheless agree that there are certain limitations upon the foreseeable use of pipelines as a transport system. I say "foreseeable" thinking of the short-run of three, four or five years. The hon. Member for Gloucestershire, South talked about pumping milk. There is an almost science-fiction wishful-thinking about the possibilities of pipelines. We must be realistic. The most likely users of these pipelines are the oil companies, partly because of the costs involved, partly because of the great throughput which is necessary to meet the costs, and partly because of the fact that the pipelines have to go specifically from the point of production to the point of use if they are to be a real factor in cutting the cost of transport.

The most important illustration of the use of oil pipelines is that which is now taking place under the COMECOM arrangements on the other side of the Iron Curtain—the Russian pipeline which terminates in East Berlin after going through some of the satellite States.

Another possible user, as my hon. Friend the Member for Derby, North (Mr. MacDermot) said in his admirable speech, is the coal industry. I interpolate here to say how glad we are to see him back in the House in such good form. It is a great pleasure to see him coming here with such a large bank balance, in terms of votes. It is true that the Coal Board has considered the possibility of the pipeline transport of coal, making it into a sludge, either oil-borne or water-borne, as has been done in the United States of America. However, I understand that the Coal Board has had second thoughts about this, on economic grounds.

The Board did set up a research unit, which has now been handed over to the Central Electricity Generating Board and it is that authority which is considering the possibility of transporting coal from pitheads to power stations. This is the other possible use, and I hope that it comes about, and that the Central Electricity Generating Board will prevent the asphyxiation of the inhabitants of Derby, North—long may they live and prosper—and that lorries will not thunder by, but that the coal will go by pipeline.

Beyond that I see limitations. There is a suggestion that we might have a grid system, something like the ancient vacuum tube system which is employed by some departmental stores, where the customer's money is sent away through a tube and the change comes back through a tube. The counting house gives one twist to make the change arrive at counter A, another to make it arrive at counter B, and so on. I do not think that it would yet be possible to construct a pipeline system in which one twist would send the coal to Birmingham, two would send it to Manchester and three to Glasgow. Such a system is very much in the distant future.

Although coal is a possibility and oil is a certainty as a requiring industry for this kind of undertaking, and although the use of oil is likely almost to double, from about 66 million tons of coal equivalent to 100 million tons of coal equivalent—it is very much the fuel of the future—it is almost inevitable, in this small island, that most of our transport of these products will go round the coast by coaster I have to say this to put the whole project into perspective.

If any situation arose in which, suddenly, the lionhearted limpets were removed from the Treasury Bench by the action of the electorate, and the Labour Party found itself confronted with the practicalities, it, too, would have to address itself to the question of where the money should come from for such a grid. There are many competing claims for capital—the social services, education, roads, railways, and so on. We would have to think about it and recognise the difficulties while appreciating that here, in a certain instance, it is possible—subject to safeguards in the national interest and matters of planning being taken into consideration—that those gentlemen who are prepared to pay might be the best people to be allowed to pay, at least at this stage. I accept that.

That brings me to the third part of my speech—the Bill itself. I have three points which, like those of the hon. Member for Gloucestershire, South and the hon. Member for Dover (Mr. Arbuthnot) are Committee points. I will make them in broad outline tonight, so that the Minister may have a chance of considering them before the Bill goes to Committee.

First, there are the provisions in Clauses 8 and 9 which enable the Minis- ter—if it should be in the national interest—to require a pipeline to be made of a size larger than the undertaker concerned wishes for his own interests, and also enable the Minister, where surplus capacity is not being used, to make it available to another user.

If the Minister stipulates these conditions I am not clear—and some of the oil companies are not clear—who pays. I am all for the Minister's having power to say, "Build a larger pipeline, because we think that we may need it in the future", but in the intervening period who will service the capital required as a result of the Minister's decision? In the subsequent period, when the pipeline is being used by another undertaker, I am not satisfied with the provisions which fix the charges to be made to the second user of the pipeline.

Secondly, there is a twelve months' time limit under Clause 1 (4) and (5), requiring the pipeline builders to show a substantial start in their developments in the building of pipelines within twelve months. The period of twelve months is a short time. A lot of planning has to go into this sort of project. It may be that the pipeline will have been started. But supposing the whole pipeline has not been started. It may be that whilst we are approaching the end of the pipeline at the end of the twelvemonths' period all of it will not have commenced. I should have thought that it would have been better to have another look at the matter and give the builders a little more time, providing that the intention is manifestly there.

My third point is of less importance. The requirement is laid down for a detailed 6-in. map of the pipeline. When the map is prepared any possible developers will experience difficulty, because they will not have had an opportunity to enter upon the land to survey. They may only have had permissive consent, or perhaps had to look over hedges and guess. There is a precedent in the Water Act of 1948, where these powers to survey in advance are available. I wonder whether the right hon. Gentleman will think about this problem between now and the Committee stage, to see whether something can be done.

Having said that, I return to my doctrinal hat and say that, obviously, if pipeline transport becomes a major system of the future, it will be essential for there to be—to protect the public interest—a very close form of public control. When the control reaches the point where the national interest sometimes conflicts with the financial interests of the developers there comes a dividing line at which it is much better for the national authority to own the pipeline because it is so much better to do the planning then.

At this point it is clearly incumbent on the Government to take positive action and I feel that it is regrettable that the Government have not foreseen this possibility and legislated against its eventuality so as to ensure that we shall not have to have a second pipeline Bill in the near future. I warmly support the remarks of my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Newport.

6.31 p.m.

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

We have listened with considerable interest to the double presentation of the hon. Member for Pembroke (Mr. Donnelly) who indicated that he wore two hats, the doctrinal and the practical. The hat which appeals to me much more however is reality. The hon. Member mentioned the possibility of coal pipelines. There is one of 10¾ in. in the United States extending for 108 miles from Ohio to Cleveland. Another project in the United States is the 350 mile line 25 inch from the Virginia coalfields to the East Coast.

The hon. Gentleman is perfectly right to say, when dealing with the practical side, that the chances in the future of having such pipelines in the United Kingdom will depend much on future research and development. But I think it right to say that development will be confined largely to the construction and operation of oil pipelines. Regarded from that angle this Measure becomes an oil Bill. If we examine the matter a little further we discover one or two rather significant facts. I wish to take up some of the points indicated by the right hon. and learned Member for Newport (Sir F. Soskice) who would like to see some sort of corporation, or something in the nature of the British Railways Board, conducting pipeline facilities in the United Kingdom.

One of the nearest analogies may be found in the French legislation on the subject. It is true that the Société Trapil, to which the right hon. and learned Gentleman and other hon. Members have referred, has a 46.7 participation by the State both direct and indirect. The decree lays down that the State shall have a direct participation of 31 per cent. That, however, was in 1949. As I indicated earlier in the debate, the basic law in France was passed on 16th May, 1959, and it was not then contemplated that the State should have any direct investment in such enterprises.

One of the most significant facts is that the Lavera-Strasbourg line which was constructed pursuant to the decree of 14th October, 1959, incidentally allowed for a direct State participation of under 6 per cent. Therefore, we are faced with the situation that in Europe the only country which has comprehensive pipeline legislation—France—in which they have numerous socialised or public institutions, the State participation is relatively small.

Mr. E. L. Mallalieu (Brigg)

The hon. Gentleman has given us the percentage of direct State participation. Can he give us the percentage of public participation as distinct from private participation, presumbly participation by municipalities and departmental or other public bodies?

Mr. Skeet

I can deal with these points so far as the Société Trapil is concerned. There we have the State direct investment of 31 per cent., C.F.R.—which is an affiliate of C.F.P. in which the French State has a 35 per cent. interest—has 11 per cent., and Total, which is also an affiliate of C.F.P., has a 4.7 per cent. interest. Besides there are numerous other operators, primarily oil companies and marketeers in France. If we take the Lavera-Strasbourg line conveying crude oil line from the south there are approximately 16 owners. Apart from the small State investment all the others are marketeers and refiners of the principal or minor oil companies.

To pursue the question put to me by the hon. and learned Member for Brigg (Mr. E. L. Mallalieu), if we move into Germany we find that there are the pipelines from Wilhelmshaven to the Ruhr and from Rotterdam to the Ruhr, which contain no provincial or State participation. The holdings in the Wilhelmshaven to Cologne line are: Esso A.G. 42.27 per cent. West German B.P.—I will not give the full name—with 26.37 per cent. and four others with 26.5 per cent. The Rotterdam line is owned with B.P.M. 40 per cent., Gelsenberg and Mobiloil Handels-und Transport G.m.b.H. 40 per cent., Caltex 20 per cent.

The point I am trying to emphasise here is that when we have a run round Europe we find that there is little distinct State participation in these enterprises because I think they recognise that they are closely tied up with the oil industry. They are the people with the technical knowledge in these matters and they run the lines rather as related communications either between terminal and refinery or between the refinery and a point of consumption.

The right hon. and learned Member for Newport went further. In the Middle East and elsewhere pipelines are owned exclusively by the companies concerned.

Sir L. Plummer

In his interesting speech the hon. Gentleman referred to the French Act of 1959 in which the authorisation of the pipeline has to be granted by the Government. The hon. Gentleman failed to say that it has to be granted on grounds of public interest and not necessarily of private profit so that the question of participation seems irrelevant against a background of the needs of public interest which are paramount under that Act.

Mr. Skeet

One has to recognise the set-up generally in France. Let us see who authorises it. The authorisation will be sanctioned by the French counterpart of our Minister of Power, that is, the Fuel Department of the Minister of Industries, and is countersigned by the Ministry of Transport and the Ministry of Finance. There are, therefore, three people concerned, but the primary person concerned is the French equivalent Minister of Fuel. So far as the other matters are concerned, I think it right to indicate that the State should lay down certain guide lines. What my right hon. Friend the Minister has indi- cated in this Bill is that he is trying to propose certain guide lines and a code which private enterprise will be able to operate.

Following the argument, which was implied, that if it was in the public interest that industry should be attracted to an undeveloped area it might be desirable to build a pipeline into it, is somewhat short sighted. Pipelines, like any other form of transportation, must be justified on an economic basis. In other words, the reason why in the United Kingdom we have not had pipelines built all over the place is that they have not been economically justified, and there are further few points in the United Kingdom to which they could have been justifiably built. Probably a pipeline from the London area to the Midlands could be justified, but a pipeline from London to Yeovil certainly could not compete with ordinary forms of transportation. In that case it would be better to use coastal transportation or the railway or perhaps road facilities.

It is not a question of the State deciding that there should be public services here or there. I appreciate the remarks of Mr. Nolan, who, of course, is very much in favour of the extensive degree of planning which has been envisaged by the right hon. and learned Member for Newport. It is worth bearing in mind that if these pipelines can be paid for at an early stage the advantage would accrue to the consumer because he would then have a reduction in the price of the products. In the case of petroleum products a large element in the cost is the taxation paid to the Government. The actual experience of companies, as I understand it, has been to reduce their prices. This is apparent in Europe. If, however, they reduce them too far in the United Kingdom they would possibly underpin coal, and that would be extremely undesirable. Another factor is that a pipeline is liable to be rated and a very high imposition placed upon it.

I want to deal with one or two points raised by this Bill and to criticise it modestly by saying that my right hon. Friend is looking very much further ahead. It covers a number of products for which pipelines will be built. It is noteworthy that legislation both in France and Switzerland has been confined to the movement of hydro-carbon oils under pressure or hydro-carbon or gaseous fuels. This Bill travels outside that and covers solids, gases and a number of other products. Does it not seem, therefore, that the Bill is travelling a little too broadly? Will we not be running into difficulties because possibly we shall not be able to perceive some of the difficulties which will later emerge?

Clause 2 deals with local pipelines of ten miles and under. There must be a host of those in this country. I.C.I. has eighty-eight pipelines of under 25 yards running outside factory premises. Those would all fall inside this Bill. Associated Portland Cement Manufacturers has about twenty pipelines of under 25 yards outside factory premises which also would come under Clause 2. Notification would have to be made to my right hon. Friend and he would have to consider what conditions to lay down. It would seem that he will have a myriad of applications to face unless he does something to alter the provisions in the Bill dealing with shorter lines.

My right hon. Friend may consider marine non-factory premises such as brine works a factory, mine or quarry for the purposes of the Bill, or he may reserve to himself power to exclude certain areas, works or facilities as and when there appear to him good causes for exemption. Another way of looking at the problem would be to do what the Swiss have done. Pipelines running across land in common ownership or between adjoining factory premises would be exempted. It may be that we could have pipelines operating in a designated area compact in size and in a certain part of the country, such as pipelines conveying china clay, hived off.

Perhaps the most helpful suggestion I could give to my right hon. Friend, because he is rather concerned about the question of safety, is that pipelines could be classified according to what goes through them. Then he could say that pipelines which are designed to carry a scheduled list of materials or products which may be dangerous or semi-dangerous must be notified to him under Clause 2. That would seem one way of limiting this problem. It would have The effect that the public interest would be served because it would not be troubled on matters where no question of safety arose. On the other hand, it would suit industry, because it would not be subjected to undue interference. Alternatively, an enormous department would have to be built at the Ministry to deal with hundreds of small lines.

My right hon. Friend twice mentioned safety arrangements in his speech. They come under Clause 19. He mentioned what happened in the States. If I may respectfully say so, I think he gave the wrong reason why there is not a very extensive code in the U.S.A. Gordon C. Locke of the General Council of the Association of Oil Pipelines, in a paper on the subject of oil pipeline regulation, wrote: In 1947 the Inter-state Commerce Commission, after intensive investigation of the matter, concluded that while the Commission have ample authority the safety record of the oil pipeline industry and its situation did not warrant the development of a safety code to apply to oil pipeline operations. This conclusion of the Commission still stands. Therefore, it is on the record that because of the safety of pipelines in the industry he did not consider that a code was necessary. However, a code has been developed by industry and I have a copy of it, "Oil Transportation Piping, an American Standard Code of Pressure Piping", by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. It lays down a code for the industry to follow covering structure, design, materials, etc., and all these matters at an early stage can avoid accidents happening. An argument was put forward in another place. That we might consider here a group of regulations being made similar to those made under the Factories Acts—most hon. Members are familiar with them—such as wood working regulations or regulations applying to the manufacture of lead compounds.

If we examine Clause 19 carefully we find that the Minister has not reserved to himself the right to make regulations—far from it. All he can do is to give notice. That seems an extraordinary way of proceeding. The noble Lord, Lord Mills, said in another place: We have the experience of the United States, where it was shown that safety matters cannot be dealt with satisfactorily by statutory regulations. The drawing up of safety regulations is a complicated and lengthy task, and I think that a better way would be to provide for the application in individual cases, as required, of a code of practice drawn up by the individual industries concerned."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, House of Lords, 3rd April, 1962; Vol. 239, c. 103.] The Institute of Petroleum has produced a code of practice for petroleum pipelines. In the preface, which is worth looking at if hon. Members wish to read about this subject, it sets forth general requirements for the safe design, construction and operation of the transportation of petroleum, It says: this Code should be regarded as complementary to such requirements. The Code has been formulated to define, in general terms, uniform recommendations for good engineering practice based on known experience and appropriate existing standards already in use by the petroleum industry. Another code is in course of preparation by the chemical industry. We see, therefore, that there is no need to make heavy weather of these provisions under Clause 19. Progress could be made by giving the codes statutory or semi-statutory force and thus ensure that these vessels are reasonably safe.

My right hon. Friend mentioned the important matter of rating. He seems to imagine that we have reached the point when rates for pipelines have been paid all along. I am not certain that that is correct. When the Ritson Committee reported in 1959, it recommended that to the Class IV items of flumes and conduits should be added main pipelines. A Plant and Machinery (Valuation for Rating) Order was made in 1927. It was after 1959—in 1960—that a new Plant and Machinery (Rating) Order was made. Main pipelines, however, were not included. They were deleted probably for a very good reason. I should like to know from my right hon. Friend the Minister why they were deleted after the Ritson Committee recommended their inclusion. It is then incorrect to say, therefore, that the Bill is an attempt to maintain the status quo.

If we are to bring pipelines within the rating law, the right thing to do would be to have a new plant and machinery rating order, which would be made after consultation with the industries concerned and certainly not by confronting industry with a Clause in a Bill which is not a rating Bill, particularly after industry has had a succession of vic- tories in the courts, among which is the case of Bright (Valuation Officer) v. British Oil Storage Company, Ltd. In this case it was declared that although rates may have been paid on an assessment without prejudice, they are not liable to be paid under the law. Therefore, I strongly recommend my right hon. Friend not to do it that way, but to do it by means of a plant and machinery rating order, of which so far we have had two, one in 1927 and the other in 1960.

Mr. Ede (South Shields)

Does the hon. Member contend that pipelines are not at present liable to be assessed for rates?

Mr. Skeet

Pipelines as here are not assessable for rates unless they are classified as structures, which they are not, or conduits, which, of course, they are not. If the right hon. Gentleman cares to look at the photostat copy of the case which I have with me, he will find that that is the conclusion.

The other matter to which I wish to refer arises under Clause 51, which seeks to strike out the advantage of certain provisions of the Mines (Working Facilities and Support) Act, 1923, by eliminating the effect of Section 3 (2, b). A mining undertaking will make use of this Act to apply to the court if it desires to make compulsory purchase of property. At the same time, it can also obtain certain auxiliary rights, namely, to work the minerals and secure underground and surface easements. The effect of this provision is to delete the mineral undertaker's chance of securing these easements in the High Court. In future, for pipelines he must go to the Minister.

That would seem to be entirely unreasonable. A publication known as the Control of Mineral Workings issued by the Minister of Housing and Local Government in 1960 makes the rather significant statement that All applications to the High Court under these provisions are made to the Minister of Power who refers them to the High Court if he is satisfied that a prima facie case has been made out. I would have thought that if the matter came to the Minister of Power in the first instance, before being referred to the High Court, he would have an opportunity of stating what he requires and, therefore, it would be unnecessary concerning pipelines to insert this Clause in the Bill. That is a practical point which needs to be extremely carefully considered.

I wish to refer briefly to Clauses 8 and 9 and to pay tribute to the very good work done in another place to reassemble these Clauses, which formerly appeared together as Clause 8. They are amenable to still further improvement. What is being carried in the pipelines is a third party's products. Should not a time limit be imposed upon him? Oil or other companies will be working out their plans for many years ahead and may later require the spare capacity for themselves. If, however, they have to carry the products of a third party for a number of years, they may be carrying somebody else's oil and not their own. Therefore, if the Clause is passed in its present form, it may be desirable to specify a period of years or to say that at the end of a given period the matter could be reviewed.

If capacity in a pipeline is being allocated to somebody, he should either take up that capacity or pay a reasonable charge for it. I apologise to the House for raising a number of points and for taking time on these matters. It is, however, advisable to do it at this stage, so that my right hon. Friend will have an opportunity of considering them in advance and considering what Amendments are likely to be put forward. An attempt may be made to cut down the size of the Bill by limiting its application. If it was so limited and reduced to the carriage of things which are immediately before us—hydrocarbon oils and chemicals—it might be much more desirable. If, however, my right hon. Friend extends it over a much broader field, it may well be necessary in ten or twelve years' time to come back to the House thoroughly to amend the Bill because of matters which are now unforeseen. In that event, it would be much wiser and tidier and a more pragmatic approach if we seek to confine its application as it has been done on the Continent.

The Bill is a fair compromise between giving power to the State, on the one hand, and allowing private enterprise to operate in certain spheres, on the other hand. To go too far towards what is termed the theoretical approach which has been put forward on the other side of the House might be to fall between two stools. The system would not work and pipelines simply would not be provided. We cannot, for example, expect the Transport Commission in its new format to build pipelines if it does not have the money. We cannot expect the Government to provide the money when many other sections of the community are in need. If ability and experience lies with the companies concerned—and it is their business to know—and they want to put a pipeline between any two points, they will certainly do so. Hon. Members may say that it is wrong to make a profit, but it is generally the case that a venture which makes a profit is successful. Many pipelines could be built, but they might not be used. If they are not used, they are unprofitable and it is the taxpayer who would ultimately have to pay.

The hon. Member for Pembroke (Mr. Donnelly) said that he wears two hats. I wear one. I am a realist. I try to understand this legislation as a realist. We should not have a too academic approach. We should try to make the legislation work, and I hope that I have made some contribution towards that end.

7.0 p.m.

Mr. Arthur Skeffington (Hayes and Harlington)

We have listened to a very interesting speech by the hon. Member for Willesden, East (Mr. Skeet). I shall not attempt to cross swords with him on his obvious considerable technical knowledge of the subject, but I shall certainly cross swords with him on one or two of his philosophical reflections. Very few hon. Members on this side of the House—indeed, I should have thought few members of the public—would accept the hon. Member's view that any system of transport must be economically justifiable—by that I assume the hon. Member means must make a profit for someone—in order to bring it into being. It was very unfortunate from his point of view that the hon. Member chose France as an example. Paris spends no less than £7 million per year subsidising public transport within the city to prevent traffic falling into chaos, which it undoubtedly would if the tube and buses were expected to show an operating profit at the end of the year or not to run.

I did not quite follow the hon. Member's argument about the French pipeline. I should like to get further information. My information is that as a matter of fact the French Government have a 51 per cent. holding in the Paris to Havre pipeline. Whatever may be the case in France, in Italy the Italian Government have a considerable financial interest in oil distribution, which shows the view they take about these methods of transporting petroleum and the position of the State.

The hon. Member put forward a rather elaborate defence at the beginning of his speech to support the Government's view about private enterprise pipelines, no doubt leading to the conclusion with which he ended that if a profit is made it proves that the venture is successful. If this argument were the criteria applied to all things, we should get into queer streets indeed. All sorts of things—bingo halls—could be justified as being desirable because they made profits. In a serious national matter like this we must pay regard to other considerations as well as that of profitability. In many instances it is not the only factor which should determine development, if we are to have a balanced and decent society. The Labour Party, and I believe the country, would greatly quarrel with the point of view advanced by the hon. Member.

This is obviously a Bill of very considerable importance, not only because of the intrinsic matters with which it deals, but because of the constitutional implications flowing from it. In addition, the public will be facing a considerable new hazard which I do not want to exaggerate, but the House certainly should not lose sight of it. Further, this legislation will undoubtedly usher in a substantial new transport development in the movement of a considerable number of liquids and, indeed, solids.

This legislation period seems to me to be very similar to that which was the prelude to our great railway development 130 years ago when for the first time in our history it became necessary to place some limitation upon the old concept of unlimited land ownership. Looking back over the 130 years, I do not think that anyone would doubt that but for that early railway legislation we should not have had the railway development which took place. This is a lesson which I hope will not be lost on the House, even today. It became necessary to limit ownership to some extent in the interests of the whole community.

There are two reflections from a study of this period. First, while it is right for us to consider all the new risks involved—they are substantial, but I hope that we shall not exaggerate them—I hope that we do not expose ourselves to the sort of posthumous ridicule to which some of our forebears laid themselves open in regard to the railway legislation. They alleged that the smoke from the engines would upset the cows and curdle their milk and that the birds would die from the pollution. We must certainly be careful in the criticism we make of the new risks which will face the public as a result of this development. It is worth recalling the fears expressed 130 years ago of a fire risk from engines was a real risk. It is still with us. Indeed, throughout the intervening century it has needed a considerable number of legislative enactments to reduce the risks to more reasonable proportions.

The second reflection from a study of the legislation of 130 years ago is this. There is not much doubt that the procedure of those days, which was by innumerable private railway Bills, gave rise to the piecemeal and uneven development of the railway system in our country for which we are today paying very dearly. One of the ironies of it is that many of the opponents of public ownership today ascribe the difficulties of the railways to the fact that they are under public ownership, whereas their difficulties are due to the reverse reason—piecemeal development by private enterprise interested in profitability rather than on a national system.

We all know, from a study of the period, the intrigue and commotion that went on and the kind of auctioning that went on, for concessions between rival groups. Large centres of the population where there was thought to be a profitable freightage received the attention of various competing developers, which sometimes led to duplicated routes, even unnecessary routes, whereas other equally important centres from the point of view of the interests of the country were neglected and received either no service or a very poor one.

Mr. Skeet

I am following the hon. Gentleman's interesting argument about the mistakes that were made on the railways in the early days. However, it must be remembered that we come into the pipeline business at the end of a very vast experience. After 100 years' experience of pipelines in the States we have learned not to adopt the Hepburn Act of the United States. We also have precedents in France, for example, which will enable us to go on the right lines.

Mr. Skeffington

I fully accept that. That was the point to which I was coming next. It is true that the Bill will prevent some of the worst features of private development, but I do not think that the Government have learned nearly enough from the experience of the past. The Bill is a very weak compromise between what might have been possible—a bold national scheme—and this attempt to regulate private enterprise in the hope that in the long run the national interest will be served. I do not think that is a possible compromise to make. I believe that we shall get the worst of both worlds.

It is because we take this different view, as a result of many years' history, not only in this country but elsewhere, that we have tabled the Amendment which gives this clear alternative to the nation which I hope it will be possible in the not too distant future to implement.

I believe that the Bill is an eloquent manifestation that the basic Conservative doctrine has changed very little in 130 years from its attitude towards railway development. Hence we have this failure to put forward what I have just described as a bold conception of a national scheme. A great opportunity has been missed by the Government to act in the interests of the whole nation.

I turn now to what I believe without exaggeration to be a new real risk which now confronts the public. It is clear that the conveyance of liquids, and indeed solids, certainly petroleum and other inflammable liquids, through built-up areas constitutes a serious fire and explosive risk. No doubt the pipeline operators—and I shall give my reasons for saying this—will take every precaution, but the conveyance of these inflammable liquids, presumably under pressure, constitutes a considerable hazard. Many people take the view that it is not absolutely certain that we can avoid all possibility of a leak for a variety of causes.

In the event of a fracture to a pipeline conveying inflammable material of one kind or another under pressure, a considerable area of the country, including rivers and canals, could become contaminated and seep into buildings through a leakage. If there is a leak of coal gas it will in time disperse, providing there is no explosion and a naked light is not brought into contact with it. However, in the case of petroleum under pressure the ground would become contaminated for a long time either in the form of liquid or very heavy vapour.

The hon. Member for Willesden, East does no service by suggesting that no risk was involved here. That is certainly not the view of the London County Council, which has considerable experience of large installations, within its area, of the nature which we are considering. The Council has authorised me to express the view that hazard is involved and cannot be absolutely eliminated. I do not say that pipelines should not be constructed, but there is an element of risk in them. There is a hazard, and it is for that reason that I and my hon. Friends, together with many people outside the House, would much prefer a public authority to deal with this matter because it would have a responsibility to the public as its first consideration. The same fairly cannot apply to a private developer.

Nothing was said by the Minister about this element of risk. I do not wish to exaggerate it, but in built-up areas inflammable liquids under pressure constitute a risk if there is a fracture in the pipeline. I should like to know what standards of construction, what margin of risk and what steps they propose to deal with the risk.

There are other points which, perhaps, it would be more appropriate to raise during the Committee stage, but I must refer to two matters which seem to me to be gross defects in the Bill. I think it quite wrong that the construction of any pipeline, which can be up to ten miles in length, should not require specific Ministerial authority and should not be subject to the safeguards of the First Schedule. Ten miles is quite a long way. I should imagine that generally the shorter lengths of pipeline will be through built-up areas. I should have thought that this was just the sort of case in which one would want every precaution to ensure that the public were not subject to risk of fire or explosion.

The same argument applies to the exemptions in Clauses 52 and 57. I am sure that all the authorities will take every care to ensure that there is no risk, but I think that, from every point of view—from the point of view of a general code of national safety, from the point of view of the welfare of those working in the industries concerned, such as the mines, quarries and electricity—it was a matter of common sense to have one authority responsible for safety regulations, standards of construction, and so on. I do not think that that would cause any great administrative difficulty. It is not as though the number of pipelines will multiply to such an extent that no authority could deal with them. I do not believe that that is likely.

There is the strongest case for saying that all pipelines, whether ten miles in length or whether they come within the categories mentioned in Clauses 52 and 57, should be subject to Ministerial authority and such safeguards as are laid down in the First Schedule.

I should like briefly to touch on my experience when I was a member of the L.C.C. Within its area, there are certain buildings which are exempted from the very strict fire prevention code of the L.C.C. These buildings are exempted by the London Building Acts (Amendment) Act, 1939, although the county is still responsible overall for fire precautions. Having exempted certain buildings, the result was that they constituted great difficulty in areas where safeguards otherwise could reasonably be enforced. It was necessary to have lengthy negotiations in order to get a minimum code voluntarily accepted. Obstacles were put in the way of general fire precautions which the L.C.C., as the body charged with the responsibility of fire precautions, has found have created considerable difficulty. For that reason, and because it seems to me that here there is a golden opportunity to put all pipelines under one authority and to standardise safety, construction and maintenance regulations, I hope that the Minister will give these points serious consideration.

I believe that, in view of the sort of companies likely to be involved, the penalties laid down in the Bill are derisory. I do not place too much emphasis on penalties because the important thing is to ensure that there is no breach of the regulations or of the Act. But I am sure that the public's reaction to these piffling penalties will be that this is a matter which has not been treated seriously. I gather that there was some debate about this in another place. Perhaps the Minister will be able to announce that it is proposed to make some alteration in the penalties.

Pipeline developments are bound to affect constituencies like mine very much. Because London Airport is in the area, a very large volume of spirit, paraffin and petroleum is bound to be brought into it. I should be delighted if it were possible to get the conveyance of this material off the roads. I am therefore not against pipelines. The more we can get off the roads, the more we shall help safety and traffic flow. But, particularly in view of the opinion expressed by the L.C.C., I am apprehensive about the question of fire risk and explosion risk. I hope that the Minister who replies will be able to say something about this matter, because it has already caused some apprehension among those in the vicinity of London Airport, who already experience considerable risk from other things apart from the one which I have just mentioned.

I am sorry that the Government have missed the opportunity of introducing a national system which could have served the public interest and not merely the private interests instead of being content with the lopsided system which we shall have. All I can say is that we may get a mandate in the next few months to alter the priorities. When we do, perhaps we shall have a very much better Bill than this one.

7.19 p.m.

Mr. John H. Osborn (Sheffield, Hallam)

My aim is to introduce a note of realism into the debate. On certain matters, such as safety and penalties, both sides of the House are in agreement. I think that perhaps our greater concern is with the future practical uses of pipelines when we have passed this legislation and with some of the more important economic considerations, whether the governing body is a nationalised body or, as we on this side plan, private industry.

Having followed the Bill from its introduction in another place, I must say that I am most impressed by the way in which it has been changed and improved. I am not a lawyer, but I feel that the last version of the Bill has been altered out of all recognition from the Bill which was first considered. Their Lordships considered themselves amateurs, but I feel that that is a modest assessment of their ability and is far from the case.

What does a Bill such as this mean to the ordinary people of the country? We must remember the consumers and the general public, and I have been considering the Bill from that point of view. Surely pipelines are but a means of improving the efficiency of distribution of certain products, and, therefore, indirectly a means of raising our standards of living. The question is one of man-hours. We have to compare the man hours required to lay a pipeline, with the man-hours required to lay down or maintain roads, rail or even shipping, and to compare the man-hours required to maintain an existing capital asset such as the railways with the man-hours required to lay down and bring into operation a new asset. We have to compare the man-hours of operating a pipeline with those of driving lorries. I refer particularly to the problem mentioned by the hon. Member for Hayes and Harlington (Mr. Skeffington) about London Airport.

Particularly after our discussion about the article by Mr. Nolan in the Petroleum Times, we are agreed that there are decided economies to be achieved by using pipelines. I therefore welcome the Bill in broad principle, as will many of the organisations and statutory authorities which will be affected by it. It implements the recom- mendations of the Select Committee under the chairmanship of my hon. Friend the Member for Dover (Mr. Arbuthnot), which recommended that no further Private Bills should be used in connection with the construction of pipelines. There have been various disadvantages in the old procedure. Local authorities have asked for different safeguards and safety factors. As a result of the Bill, there will be consistency.

What will people want? First, there must be positive encouragement to use pipelines as a new form of industrial development, although, as we have seen in the debate, they are nothing new. There is the possibility of conflict between the pipeline developer or operator and landowners, and I endorse many of the views expressed by my hon. Friend the Member for Gloucestershire, South (Mr. Corfield). There must be uniform conditions under which rights of way are granted to operating companies. I believe that as a result of the Bill this has been achieved.

There is a potential danger to the public and a need for safety—a point which several hon. Members have raised. Certain conditions are laid down by pipeline operators already. My hon. Friend the Member for Willesden, East (Mr. Skeet) mentioned the new code of regulations which has been prepared by the Institute of Petroleum, and I want to dwell on that later. It is essential that somehow the Government should control pipeline development, not in the sense in which hon. Members opposite want control but in the sense of co-ordination with a degree of planning, on which I want to elaborate later.

Mr. E. L. Mallalieu

Will the hon. Gentleman explain the difference between what he wants in the way of control and what he thinks we want in the way of control? They seem to be just the same.

Mr. Osborn

If the hon. Member allows me to pursue my theme, in the normal course of events I will answer him. If I do not answer his question I will willingly give way to a further interruption by him.

The sense of disorder and arbitrary growth of the railway network of a hundred years ago should not be repeated with pipelines. Before dealing with the economics of the operation of pipelines, I want to review the likely scope. No one has reminded the House that the most vital use of pipelines in this modern age is for water and water undertakings. The second greatest use is for gas. This is a use in transporting fluid and gases. It is in no way new to transport water or gas by pipeline. That immediately helps us to put the problem in its correct perspective. I mention this bacause the mileage required for petroleum transport in this country is infinitesimally small compared with the mileage already required for water and gas.

I have discussed the implications of the Bill with suppliers of pipelines. It helps to put the Bill and the project into perspective to realise that the few hundred miles of pipeline used for petroleum products as well as for other materials in this country are insignificant compared with the requirements for water and compared with overseas projects for the transportation of oil.

In considering the transportation of other materials we can disregard such materials as dry sand and grain. Although contrary to the views of my hon. Friend the Member for Gloucestershire, South, I suggest that we can disregard the transport of milk. The transport of these materials is not a practical proposition at this stage. There are other commodities, such as clay and various aggregates in the cement industry, which are being transported by pipe and have been transported in this manner for many years. Gravel is another commodity so transported. That is why I support the view of my hon. Friend the Member for Willesden, East that we may find that the Bill goes too wide.

Another problem is that of the transportation of iron ore from a mine in this country to a blast furnace. A belt conveyor is one means of doing it, but the normal means is overhead ropeways. A company which is using one overhead ropeway is considering the economics of a pipeline. There is this alternative method for the transportation of iron ore as a slurry. The complications of pipeline legislation must not be allowed to drive people away from the use of pipelines when they might prove to be a more economical means of the transportation of solids.

Reference has been made to the transportation in the United States of coal and coal slurry. Research has been carried out by the British Hydraulic Research Association, and I asked Questions on this a year ago. I think that the hon. Member for Pembroke (Mr. Donnelly) also mentioned it. The Central Electricity Generating Board is taking the matter up. As a result of some of this research limestone is being transported in this way in Trinidad. This, admittedly, may be an indirect rather than direct result of this research. We have other examples of petroleum pipelines particularly that in Russia. There is the development from the north to the south of France which has been mentioned. The length of these pipelines is much greater than anything which we contemplate in this country.

I want to deal with the fundamental economic criteria and with cost. One yardstick shows that transportation by sea is invariably cheaper for petroleum products than are pipelines. Another yardstick used in Europe shows that where there is a requirement of 500,000 tons or more it is probably cheaper by pipeline than by rail or other methods of land transport. Volume is the decisive factor in economics.

We have talked about the future development of the transport of petroleum by pipeline. It is possible that a company may put down excess capacity to meet an expected rise in demand over a number of years. We have figures for the operating costs for that capacity, based mainly on the article by Mr. Nolan, but there is also a liability. What happens if the company puts down a pipeline for excess capacity and its market research is wrong? Who should be encouraged to invest money in a venture in which there is some risk?

I think that commercial "know-how" should be the criterion rather than that the ambitions, perhaps, of the chairmen of non-commercial concerns should provide the correct basis for deciding whether to proceed with a project. This reference includes some of the chairmen of the boards of our nationalised industries. Prestige and other factors may come in, whilst that commercial "know-how", which the oil companies in this country certainly have, will be nonexistent in the nationalised undertakings.

I wish to make a further comment on the complexities of transporting different commodities by pipeline. These are not difficult to visualise. We may have three refineries making various products which are fed into one pipeline and various feeder lines going to various distribution points. These is a tremendous science in developing these projects, and that knowledge is held by the oil companies of the world. It may be gained by those outside the oil companies, but the experience may well and truly be costly, because "know-how" is something that is developed only by experience and practice over a long period of time.

This brings me to the point which divides the two sides of the House. Surely the object of pipelines is to provide a service to the community, and so, for that matter, is the object of industry. The criterion for the survival of an industry, whether we like it or not, is its profitability. I am aware that a decision given, in the end, by the Minister and endorsed by the House will give a pipeline operator a chance of constructing a pipeline over certain routes in such a way that he has a possible economic advantage over a competitor who may not be given this licence or permission by the Minister.

For the same reason, why should a landowner allow a pipeline over his property if the profit from it goes to the operator, unless there is to be reasonable compensation, and unless the landowner is satisfied with the terms of the contract which is made. There have been private negotiations beforehand, but the landowners must be satisfied that they have been given an adequate price for the route or the wayleave? On the other hand, given this right, if an operator makes a wrong assessment of the usage which is likely to be made of the pipeline, there will be a loss. Therefore, as I said before, the decision as to whether or not a pipline should be constructed must be taken on a purely commercial basis.

Turning specifically to the transport of oil by pipeline. I would reiterate that it is the oil companies which have the necessary "know-how" and knowledge from the pattern of their trade. I would sooner see the oil companies making a profit out of these ventures than the nationalised undertakings take part in them. There is no supreme penalty, such as that which faces the chairmen of private industry, to confront the chairmen of nationalised industries. They do not have to face bankruptcy as a result of their mistakes. The taxpayer pays, and one of our aims on this side of the House has been to seek to relieve the taxpayer of that particular risk.

I therefore wish to take up the point made by the right hon. and learned Member for Newport (Sir F. Soskice) and say that it is in the public interest that there should be no liability on the taxpayer when embarking on a project of this kind. It is much better that the risk should be taken primarily by the oil companies, which have the resources, concerning petroleum pipelines, rather than that the outcome should be financed by the State and ultimately the taxpayer.

Reference has also been made to legislation in Europe and in the United States of America. The one lesson that has been learned is that the common carrier obligation does not work properly in the United States, and the trend is to contemplate joint venture projects; and I would certainly describe the Trapil pipeline from Le Havre to Paris as a most interesting venture, built by all the interested parties, with, of course, the State as a participant.

This brings me to Clause 8. I have shown that the common carrier obligation does not work, but how is a pipeline to be constructed and owned to ensure its profitable operation, with due regard to the rights of landowners whose property the pipeline will cross? How will Clauses 8 and 9 operate when the Bill is passed, and how will the Minister use his powers? The first essential, obviously, is that the bigger companies, which have the bulk of the demand from one refinery to one distribution centre, should give facilities to their smaller competitors.

The biggest area in which there is demand is the West Midlands, and the first authorisation—I am looking ahead, and I look to the Minister to contemplate what the decision would have to be—might well be for a supply by pipeline to the Midlands. If this is granted on one route from, say, the Thames to the Midlands, it would place most private operators with refineries in the Sopth-West—Pembroke, Wales, Stanlow, in Lancashire, or the North-East, at a disadvantage. On the other hand, if he authorises four small pipelines, the pipeline operation could well become un- economic. Thus we in the House have to decide who is to have the final say in the taking of this decision.

The question of granting a common carrier obligation to help a small company, which may in due course want to use a pipeline laid down by a larger company, has been dealt with in Clause 9, which I believe that it has been reworded and changed in another place so that we now have adequate safeguards. I think that the best way of using legislation is to ensure that there is a degree of co-operation between competitors. The joint venture, as such—even with State participation, if necessary, which is something on which I should frankly frown in the early stage, as there is no need for it—is the ideal solution. But we have to be careful about this. It is wrong for the House to give rights without relevant obligations. It would be wrong for us to make provision to help small people if those people are not to accept some financial liabilities. My reading of Clause 9 is that the words in line 40 being payments in consideration of the right's being secured to him. will give adequate cover to the big operator granting facilities to a smaller one.

It is very encouraging to note that the two leading oil companies are contemplating working together, and have interested smaller ones interested in the routes to join them in the venture. In regard to the long-term question of planning, I think that there might well be a special section of the National Economic Development Council to deal with the oil companies and those operating pipelines.

I have various comments to make on other Clauses of the Bill. The first is that we must make quite certain that a steel company, because of the legislation which we pass, does not elect to transport its ore by any other than the most economical means. Would it be easier, under the Town and Country Planning Act, to construct an aerial ropeway rather than contemplate the construction of a pipeline for over 10 miles for the conveyance of raw materials to the steel works?

I should like also to comment on safety with regard to pipelines, and to suggest that there is a lot to be said for greatly reducing the Clauses on safety—Clauses 19 to 23—and bringing in regulations instead. The technical criteria for the operation of pipelines, pumping stations and other equipment are changing from year to year. Are we to have these factors too closely tied up in the Bill, or would it not be better to make use of regulations?

The final thing is the question of the choice of routes, and now I would develop the interruption I made in the speech of the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Newport. We have to face the fact that the laying of a pipeline would be cheaper across country than alongside a railway for the simple reason that the equipment could not be got alongside railway sidings to dig the necessary trenches to carry the pipeline. The general view is that it would be very costly in practice to lay pipelines alongside railway lines. I know that this view is not shared by certain members of the British Transport Commission, but unless a new technique is found for quickly laying pipelines alongside railway lines I am certain that cross-country routes will be cheaper.

May I end on a personal note? I am one of what I believe to be the very few hon. Members who have a pipeline already across their own land. I have one at the end of my garden. I had the opportunity to buy some land. There was a notice in the deeds that there was a pipeline, but I did not read my deeds carefully, and proceeded to obtain planning permission to build a house. I forgot completely all about the pipeline, and arranged to have my deeds filed away by my solicitor. Six to nine months later, when I had almost completed my house, I had a letter from one of the offices of the Ministry of Power to remind me that I had a pipeline going through my land, and also to remind me that a building should not be placed within 10 ft. of it—as is similarly provided in Clause 24 of the Bill.

What would have happened under the Bill if I had inadvertently constructed a house over that pipeline?

Mr. Skeffington

Pull it down.

Mr. Osborn

That is a fair answer, but as a landowner I should be sorely peeved, having invested a large amount of money in a house or other building, at being forced by a Minister to pull it down. A situation such as this could be a means of causing immense ill-will between those in power and a private individual.

There is another answer, of course. It could be arranged by agreement, if such a mistake had been allowed to happen, to have the pipeline diverted, and that would be cheaper. This is the sort of problem which could arise, and I think that there must be adequate safeguards to ensure that landowners have protection against those in power.

In principle, this is a Bill which I support and endorse, and I am quite certain that in the long run it will enable fuels—and solids, too—to be transported more cheaply and effectively, and on a proper basis.

7.42 p.m.

Sir Leslie Plummer (Deptford)

The Minister can be under no illusions about the number of Amendments which are going to be tabled to this Bill when it goes to Committee. A very considerable number of them are going to be tabled by hon. Gentlemen who are sitting behind him. Indeed, the hon. Member for Willesden, East (Mr. Skeet) excused his speech by saying to the Minister that he was giving him advance notice of Amendments he would put down.

I am not going to follow that example. I do not propose to give any notices of Amendments which I think should be made to the Bill, and I do not propose to discuss it Clause by Clause. In any case, I do not think there is time enough for that, and it would weary the House. I would much prefer to deal with the Bill in purely general terms.

As was said by the hon. Member for Dover (Mr. Arbuthnot)—who, incidentally, is to be congratulated on the way he acted as Chairman of the Select Committee, on which, with three of my colleagues in the Parliamentary Labour Party, I sat—this Bill really emerged from the unanimous decision which we came to on the Esso Bill. I do not myself want to join with him or with the hon. Member for Gloucestershire, South (Mr. Corfield) in claiming any paternity for this Bill, because this Bill, as it stands now, does not represent the view of the four Members of the Parliamentary Labour Party of what would be a proper substitute for the sort of Measure which we had before us. I think we ought to make this quite clear. While it is perfectly true that we were a happy band, as the hon. Member said, and that we came to a unanimous decision, we came to a unanimous decision only on the Report which we produced; we came to no unanimous decision on the terms and conditions which are laid down in this Bill.

My hon. Friend the Member for Derby, North (Mr. MacDermot) referred to the anarchical position which is now existing, and which, I think, will continue to exist unless this Bill is altered very considerably. When I sat on that Select Committee day after day I went through one of those great brainwashing experiences which all of us suffer when we sit on Select Committees. That is to say, we faced a bench of learned counsel who were taking every opportunity to convince us that their clients were right. It was an arduous, even a nerve-racking, experience to keep alert and to resist the blandishments of those gentlemen. They did not convince me. Indeed, I have had a sweet revenge since sitting on that Select Committee. Although I am frequently told that the Esso sign means happy motoring, I have solemnly sworn never to buy a single drop of Esso petroleum—in revenge for what they did to me during those laborious days. I buy another brand, whose name I shall not reveal.

What came out of that investigation was the cold-blooded way in which it was argued that what Esso wanted was good for Esso and therefore was good for the nation. An hon. Member opposite said a little while ago that to make a profit is for the public good, and that that is the justification for it. That is roughly the line which the Esso Company took. It said this: "We are not concerned with whether it is bad for the railways or bad for shipping. We want to run a pipeline from Fawley to Severn-side"—I think it is called—"because we want to have our petroleum bought by I.C.I. and turned into flannel trousers—into man-made fibres. It is in the interests of the profit of I.C.I. and it is in the interests of the profit of Esso that this operation should take place, and, of course, it is going to mean a considerable reduction in cost."

To whom? I ask. That was what one of my hon. Friends asked. A considerable reduction in cost to whom? The consumer? Or is it that what is really meant is that there is going to be a considerable increase in profit either to I.C.I. or to Esso? We got no answer to that at all.

That was what was impressed upon me all the time, and it has been impressed upon me listening to the debate today—and I have not moved from the Chamber, except for two or three minutes, since 2.30. The assumption by hon. Members on the other side, who constantly describe themselves as realists, is that providing this thing is profitable it is therefore in the national interest and it is for the common good. But this was not the view of Esso. Esso's view was that it was in the interests of Esso. That was the purpose of the legislation which we were considering in the Select Committee.

I am concerned with the ultimate control of the Act which will emerge. I do not believe it comes properly and naturally under the control of the Minister of Power, with all respect to him. He himself has made it quite clear that he has no possessive pride in this. I believe that it should come ultimately—and soon—under the control of the Minister of Transport, because this is a transport operation. Therefore, it ought to come under his control, and it ought to come under his control because one of his duties is to preserve what is left of the railways of this country and to save them from going even deeper into bankruptcy and insolvency.

We ought to have before us the lesson of what took place in the United States when there was uncontrolled pipeline development which resulted in the pipeline operators themselves, Standard Oil, which is the American name for Esso, being responsible for fixing to some degree the freight rates on the railways with which they were competing. By virtue of the fact that they were taking oil off the railways and bunging it through the pipeline they were able to say, "You must accept our rates for carrying fuel."

It is true that the Americans have accepted the principle of the common carrier. If the pipeline development in this country were under the control of the Ministry of Transport it would be perfectly right and legitimate for the Minister to see that the common carrier clause was applied. This is not a job for the Minister of Power. It is essentially a job for the Minister of Transport.

I was lunching today downstairs with a delegate to the Commonwealth Parliamentary Study Group. He is a white South African from Bechuanaland. He explained what happened when there was an attempt made in South Africa by pipeline developers to build a pipeline from Durban to the Rift. The Minister of Transport in the South African Government—and, heaven knows, I do not want to pray in aid the South African Government but this man clearly knows his job—said, "I am not going to have this. This railway line makes £7 million a year. It is in the national interest that we should keep the railway line running efficiently and properly." They run 150 extra trains a day for the Christmas holiday. The Minister said it was essential that the line should be kept open and he said, "You are not going to open a pipeline because it is against national interest that you should do it."

Here we have an example from a country for whose normal policy I have nothing but abhorrence and detestation, taking the view that what is in the public interest shall run and not what is in the interest of private profit. Therefore, I should like to see the whole of this operation under the control of the Minister of Transport and the development of pipelines vested in one of the boards which will take the place of the British Transport Commission, or perhaps the holding company.

We have already suffered in this country from the Government's denationalisation of road transport in 1952–53, which dealt railways a tremendous blow. We are now faced with the development of pipelines. I do not object to their development, but unless they are integrated with our national transport system what we shall have is the affluence of pipeline operators and the poverty of our national transport system. We cannot have two worlds—a prosperous pipeline industry and an even more bankrupt national transport industry.

I wanted to raise a point with my hon. Friend the Member for Pembroke (Mr. Donnelly), whom I am sorry not to see in his place. I also want to raise it with the hon. Member for Sheffield, Hallam (Mr. J. H. Osborn). When, under the chairmanship of the hon. Member for Dover, we listened to expert witnesses, they made it clear to us that we are only at the beginning of the development of pipelines, and that it is is not only a question of pumping petrol or gas or oil but that all sorts of things will be put through them. This is an amazing development. In the next 50 years the country will be honeycombed with a complex of pipelines carrying goods of all sorts.

We should, therefore, be having a working party set up by the Government to talk to these experts and to ask people like the dairymen whom the hon. Member for Gloucestershire, South (Mr. Corfield) mentioned, "Where do you want the pipeline to go?" Esso said, "We must have a pipeline from Fawley to London Airport for the good reason that Shell have one and they are competitors of ours." This is the anarchy of the situation. It is simply saying, "Let us duplicate pipelines all over the place because our competitors are doing it and there is plenty of dough attached to it." It is our job and that of the Government to see that the development of the pipelines over the next decade or two is not bedevilled with the inflationary things that took place in railway development 130 years ago.

Just as it is important that the essential services are put into an area before factories come there, that is to say, water, electricity and transport, so it is necessary, if we are to open up new areas of development and to deal with problems of under-employment in certain places, that we should be pushing pipelines in those directions. As has been said, a pipeline can be an instrument in creating new lines of development.

The Bill is better than nothing at all, but, it can and must be made much better than it is. If I were the Minister I would have been concerned at and alarmed by the speech of the hon. Member for Dover, because the hon. Member uttered perhaps the most cogent detailed criticism of the Bill to come from either side of the House. I know that the hon. Member is a passionate supporter of the Minister. Therefore the right hon. Gentleman had better watch out. I assure him that there is a lot of trouble coming from that quarter. I should not be too happy with the reception given to the Bill in its present form.

Finally, I apologise to the right hon. Gentleman for making an intervention while he was speaking. I thought that he was irritated by it. I asked whether he would let us know the names of some of the people whom he had been consulting while the Bill was being drafted. I did not intervene in any flippant way and I did not mean in the slightest degree to upset the right hon. Gentleman for whom we all have a great deal of respect. I asked because I wanted an answer to something that was bothering us on this side of the House.

We have been told that Trunk Pipelines Ltd. has been negotiating a contract with the British Transport Commission and that the Commission, despite what hon. Members opposite have said about the impossibility of running pipelines along railway verges, is very interested in that development. This is a matter of considerable concern to us. I wanted to find out whether an agreement had been reached between the Commission and Trunk Pipelines Ltd., whether the Minister was aware of it, and whether if such an agreement has been reached it stands and is valid with the new authority which is being set up to take the place of the British Transport Commission. This is an important point which I hope will be dealt with in the Government's reply.

Finally, I hope that in the Committee stage we shall have an opportunity to improve the Bill to such a degree that this House will not have to come back in ten or twenty years' time with an entirely new Measure to deal with all sorts of disturbances and obstacles in the way of development and blocks on the road of progress because we proved to be too limited, too narrow, too pedestrian in our approach in this Bill. That, however, is the fault in the Bill. It will be up to the Minister to eradicate that fault and see to it that the development of pipelines in this country is, primarily, fundamentally in the national interest.

8.0 p.m.

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

When I interrupted the hon. Member for Derby, North (Mr. MacDermot) I said that I had a certain amount of experience of pipelines. I was referring to the fact that I was on the board of the company which built the trans-Persian pipeline, which has several times been referred to by hon. Members in this debate. I have been interested to note that no right hon. or hon. Member has doubted in any way the advisability of building pipelines.

My hon. Friend the Member for Sheffield, Hallam (Mr. J. H. Osborn) mentioned the economic effect. I have indirectly been connected with pipeline building in Persia for more than thirty years, and the House should know that there has been tremendous development in engineering and safety in the construction and use of pipelines. I join with the hon. Member for Deptford (Sir L. Plummer) in paying my tribute to my hon. Friend the Member for Dover (Mr. Arbuthnot) for the work that he has done on the Bill. My hon. Friend's speech very well demonstrated that he had done his homework on the subject.

As so many different points have already been raised, I will confine my remarks to one or two. First—and I hope that my right hon. Friend will be with me in this—I hope that, in building lateral pipelines throughout the country, special care will be taken not to sterilise building land. The House has had so many debates on the shortage of building land that I think I shall have right hon. and hon. Members with me when I say that it would be a tragedy if a pipeline was so constructed as to sterlise such land for possible development either now or in the future. My hon. Friend the Member for Hallam gave a practical example of how, inadvertently, he almost built a house on a pipeline. Some provision should be that, if a pipeline is to be constructed near a possible development area, it should be sunk deeper or surrounded by concrete.

The hon. Member for Hayes and Harlington (Mr. Skeffington) made special reference to the anxiety of the London County Council about safety. It is fair to say, however, that there is always a risk in any form of transportation. But the danger in transporting liquid fuel by pipeline is very much less than in its transportation by any other method. The risk of an explosion in a pipeline carrying petroleum products is probably a good deal less than the danger from a gas main, particularly bearing in mind that the type of pipe used to convey liquids is flexible and without the spigot, socket and joint of the gas main. The House can be reassured on that point.

However, the central theme of the debate has been whether these pipelines should be constructed and run by private enterprise or under public ownership. Members opposite have kept true to form with their formula, "Our Johnny, public ownership, looks to the country's welfare, and your Johnny, private enterprise, looks only for profit." They assume that anything done by a public authority will be for the benefit of the public.

Quite recently, however, there was an example in Lancashire, where my company introduced from the United States a new firm to set up in a new town. This firm water a supply of gas for construction purposes, but the public utility—and this may be surprising to hon. Members opposite—said, "You can have a gas main only if you pay the cost of bringing the main into the area." I forget the exact figure, but I believe that the cost was about £40,000. As my hon. Friend the Member for Dover is present, I will also mention the case of a firm in his area, where the gas board wanted money before introducing services. Members opposite say that public ownership must be for the public benefit, but I doubt whether the nation goes far with them when it considers some of the nationalised industries.

Hon. Members opposite base some of their case on the argument that this does not need much capital expenditure, and have referred to an article in the Petroleum Times, written by Mr. Nolan. I have had the privilege of knowing Mr. Nolan for many years. We were in Persia together and I have high respect for his technical ability. When I first knew him, he was in road transport, and he is a recent convert to pipelines. He is employed by one of the best consulting engineers in this country, who has dealt for some time with pipelines. I am sure that, when Mr. Nolan wrote that article to give an overall picture of the cost of pipelines, he did not expect hon. Members opposite to use it as a prospectus to bring out a national pipeline company.

Mr. Nolan talked about averages. In an article of that sort one can only discuss averages. One cannot possibly float a company or a nationalised industry on averages. The hon. Member for Derby, North made play with the fact that an 8 in. pipeline might be proposed while the Minister stated that it should be a 10 in. pipeline. He asked whether that size would be big enough. Does the hon. Gentleman realise that a 10 in. pipeline has 50 per cent. more capacity, and that by doubling the pressure one can increase the capacity by 41 per cent?

Hon. Members opposite say that pipelines are easy to run—that one just puts the products through and brings them out at the other end. Having had something to do with running pipelines, I can assure them that the system is as complicated as is the railways system. I know of cases where the railways have lost a steel truck in the open air where it could be seen. If that is so on the surface, what about underground, where one cannot see these things? The distribution through pipelines depends on very accurate delineation of where the products are. I do not want to develop this at great length because I know that, like myself, my hon. Friend the Member for Tiverton (Mr. Maxwell-Hyslop) has been here since the debate began, hoping to catch your eye, Mr. Deputy-Speaker. I will, therefore, summarise my main objections to public ownership.

If this project were carried out by private enterprise, one of the oil companies—possibly B.P.—would be one of the firms involved. B.P. is, anyway, very largely owned by the Government. Private enterprise has to pay rates.

Mr. Herbert Butler (Hackney, Central)

Does B.P. lose its goods?

Mr. Costain

That firm has experience of pipelines and I want it to help with the job. I do not want to see another public corporation set up. This job can be done by experts who are already experienced in the work. I was going on to say that when it is run at a profit a company pays rates, and there is such a thing as Income Tax. Having got somebody else to do the work, the Government take more than 50 per cent. of the profit—the word which hon. Members opposite regard as dreadful—without having made any capital investment.

I was impressed by the speech of the hon. Member for Pembroke (Mr. Donnelly), who kept putting a hat on and taking a hat off. Most of the time I found myself more in agreement with him than I had expected. He pleaded that the Government should use their capital for purposes other than this. I fully support him. On the other hand. should pipelines go to public ownership, and a loss be made, as is often the case with a nationalised industry, the rates, Profits Tax and Income Tax are lost, and the losses are borne by the ordinary taxpayer.

I welcome the Bill. I hope that the Committee points about housing and land, and so on, will be considered by the Minister. There has been some reference to whether a 10-mile pipeline inside a chemical works would come under the Bill. This is a Committee point, but I would like the Bill to lay down a distance from the point the liquid enters the pipe to the point it reaches its destination as forming the length of pipe which would be covered by the Bill.

In welcoming the Bill I ask hon. Members to make one reservation. Pipelines have a wonderful future, but they should not be given credit for what they cannot do. Hon. Members have spoken of putting milk in pipelines, but they should remember that the whole length of the pipeline would have to be filled with the product and I would not like milk which had been in the pipeline for three weeks to be delivered to my doorstep.

8.12 p.m.

Mr. E. L. Mallalieu (Brigg)

The hon. Member for Folkestone and Hythe (Mr. Costain) is one of the two or three hon. Members opposite so far who have welcomed the Bill generally. Most of the speeches of hon. Members opposite, as well as many from this side of the House, have contained Committee points which have completely devastated the Bill. The right hon. Gentleman has nothing in the Bill of which to be proud. He has been told in advance that he must expect trouble from his hon. Friends in Committee. But those are not the matters to which I want to make reference.

Much has been said about the principle underlying the Bill. The hon. Member for Folkestone and Hythe has just said that hon. Members on this side of the House have been sounding off their trumpets in order to get public ownership. He has completely misconceived our views on this subject. We like public ownership, particularly when there is a profit which can be brought into the public coffers; but our main criticism of the Bill has been on the question not of ownership, but of planning.

Ownership can be completely irrelevant to whether an undertaking is efficient. If there is one lesson to be learned from the fact that Richard Thomas and Baldwins has not been sold back to private enterprise, whereas most other steel concerns have, it is that public or private ownership is completely and utterly irrelevant to efficiency. Richard Thomas and Baldwins cannot be beaten for efficiency, or for the relationship between management and employees. It is an excellent firm from every point of view and it is under public ownership. Does any hon. Member opposite dispute that it is thoroughly efficient? The Government are greatly to be congratulated on not having denationalised Richard Thomas and Baldwins for doctrinaire reasons.

I use that merely as an example to show that the ownership of the shares in a concern need not necessarily have the slightest relevance to the efficiency with which that concern operates. It is not on the question of ownership that we have been stressing our opposition to the Bill, but primarily on whether the Bill brings about an orderly development of our pipeline resources.

Although there are some, there are few hon. Members who can say from their own knowledge whether there will be a tremendous development of pipelines in this or that direction. On this subject I am happy to take the comments of those who know more, or who have been better briefed than I, about this subject, and to recognise that the Minister was probably right to say that we are on the threshold of considerable development in the pipeline world, or underworld. If that is the case, is it not plain common sense that there should be some direction of this development in the national interest? Yet we have the Government sitting in their ample armchairs and doing nothing, absolutely nothing, about this direction. Are we to have a completely haphazard development of pipelines? Is there not to be any thought—when deciding whether a pipeline should be driven from this point to that—as to whether it is in the long-term national interest? Is profit to the individuals who construct it to be the only consideration?

Hon. Members opposite, again including the hon. Member for Folkestone and Hythe, have said that we object to profit. They can go on believing that if they like, but it is not true. We object not to profit but to the exploitation of the public for personal profit. We say, not that it is wrong that pipeline companies should make a profit, but that it is wrong that the profit of individuals should be the sole criterion in deciding whether an undertaking should be made.

There is this further consideration which has been touched on in the debate today, namely, that when public powers are given to private individuals, when they are given privileges to dig up roads and purchase land compulsorily, or whatever it might be, they should not be given solely or mainly to enable private individuals to profit.

Mr. Costain

They are given primarily because a service is being provided.

Mr. Mallalieu

They may be providing an excellent service, but they will also be making profits—some of them handsome profits—and all this is being done by steamrollering pipelines through the country at the expense of individuals.

Most individuals do not mind having things done at their expense, provided they can see that these things are being carried out in the national interest. They do not mind someone making a profit at their expense, provided that it is done in the national interest. We cannot tell whether this haphazard pipeline development will be in the national interest; indeed, all experience leads us to believe that it will not be in the national interest if it is done haphazardly. I am not afraid of being impolite or rude to right hon. and hon. Gentlemen opposite, but I do not think that it is necessary in this case. I could use stronger words than higgledy-piggledy, but that phrase precisely describes what will happen in the development of these pipelines. There will be absolute chaos and duplication.

There are only two small parts of the Bill which even remotely touch on the question of control from above in the national interest. Clause 1 has a slight element of control in it, and Clause 8, which is designed to prevent unnecessary duplication, may be partially successful in its application.

The Clause 1 controls are in the nature of town planning controls and restrictions. They are not positive controls in the direction of development in the national interest. They are restrictions which may be desirable from a town planning point of view, but this is only a small element in what I am trying to put across to the Front Bench opposite, namely, that there must be something more than is proposed here. There must be national control and direction in the construction of the lines.

I do not want to speak for too long because many wise things have been said during the debate already which I think should have shown the Government that there is strong feeling on both sides of the House about this Bill. The Government must not approach this or indeed any other question from too doctrinaire a point of view. My feeling is that the Government are not being particularly doctrinaire on this occasion. They are merely being bone idle. They are going to sit back in armchairs watching this thing happen around them and are not going to take sufficient steps to control it in the right direction in the national interest.

This is one more example of what I regret to have to describe as Tory thinking in this day and generation with regard to private profits. We do not mind private profit, but when it is made the be all and end all of economic activity, it strikes us on this side of the House as being a sad state of affairs indeed.

Mr. Charles Loughlin (Gloucestershire, West)

Is my hon. and learned Friend suggesting that on some occasions the Tory Party has not considered that profit was the beginning and end of everything?

Mr. Mallalieu

No, indeed not. I was suggesting that sometimes right hon. and hon. Gentlemen opposite were too lazy even to consider that motive, or indeed any other motive. This seems to be happening at the moment because they are too busy thinking of private profit in other directions. I submit that they have allowed a great deal of unnecessary sprawl and unsuitable building, making the landscape and skyscape round London eyesores. The Government have allowed shocking planning because it has been thought profitable to individuals to do so.

There is also the example of the railways. Hon. Gentlemen opposite never tire of referring to the unprofitability of the railways, even though they created the present situation by giving to their friends that part of the transport undertaking which was extremely profitable, namely, the road transport. It is the Tory philosophy of profit which is creating this sad situation in the country. Ugliness is becoming more and more frequent and permanent, and gradual stagnation is setting in in the economy, due to laziness on the Government's part and failure to give proper thought to directing our economy in the national interest.

This Bill is not only an example of the law of the jungle. It shows that the Conservative Party is actually signposting the way to the jungle to encourage people to go in and scramble about in it if in the process these activities increase and the jungle encroaches on decent land, it will be just too bad. This seems to be the philosophy of hon. Gentlemen opposite, and shows that we have reached a sad state of affairs. I know there is uneasiness about this Bill on both sides of the House, and I am grateful to my right hon. Friends for putting down the Amendment which embodies the opposite theory, that we ought in the national interest to have thought for planning—to see to it that our activities are co-ordinated in the right direction. I am grateful to my right hon. Friends for having tabled the Amendment, and I hope that the House will accept it.

8.25 p.m.

Mr. R. J. Maxwell-Hyslop (Tiverton)

Trunk pipelines, or at any rate pipelines up to ten miles in length, have a considerable history in the West Country. They were primarily used for transporting china clay from the china clay workings to the factories, where the clay was dried out into blocks, whence a large proportion of it was sent to the docks for export. Those pipelines had this distinction from the ones we are discussing today. First, there were no compulsory purchase orders to enable the ground through which they passed to be compulsorily acquired; it was purchased by free negotiation. Secondly, they were operated by gravity rather than by pumping. Lastly, the substance they carried was in no way injurious or dangerous.

Those who live in the West Country and drive on roads which sometimes get covered with a mixture of china clay which has fallen from trucks, which has been diluted with rain, have good reason to be thankful if the china clay reaches its destination through pipelines rather than by road transport. Quite apart from the economic cost of transporting goods by trunk pipelines, there are many commodities which travel by road, as the hon. Member for Derby, North (Mr. MacDermot) mentioned, which might for one reason or another cause grave inconvenience to other members of the public.

Until the first quarter of this century, or a little later, it was generally believed that people not only owned the pillar of ground going down to the centre of the earth, where presumably it tapered to a point, below their property, but also enjoyed the ownership of the column of air above their property. Space in those days was not a relevant consideration. Then Air Navigation Acts came along entitling the general public to the right to fly over property without requiring wayleave or permission of any kind so long as they flew above the minimum altitude limitations. This surely is another extension of that principle. It is limiting to some extent the right of people to exercise the ownership of their property below a certain level, and it also restricts to some extent what they can do with their property above that level. For instance, they cannot build houses which may crush a pipeline. This brings me to a matter that I should like my hon. Friend to consider.

Clause 23 gives the Minister the right to cause an abandoned pipeline, or a pipeline that has not been used far over three years, to be removed when it constitutes a source of danger, but has no power under that Clause to cause a disused or abandoned pipeline to be removed on the grounds that it causes grave inconvenience. This is an alteration which could well be considered in Committee. One can imagine a number of cases where ground has been sterilised by the existence of pipelines. A pipeline might no longer be of any use because the airport which it served has been closed.

Had there been fuel pipelines to Blackbushe Airport before it was closed, those pipelines would presumably still be in existence. The fact that they have been washed out and therefore do not constitute a danger would mean, hypothetically, that the Minister could not act under the provisions of Clause 23 and either order their removal or alleviate the effect of the prohibitions upon building over the disused pipelines. That matter could well be considered in Committee.

Clause 10 (2) provides that: The Minister, on an application for a compulsory purchase order, shall have power in his discretion to grant the application or to refuse it. To my untutored mind that excludes the possibility of refusing a compulsory purchase order but granting, instead, an order far the compulsory acquisition of rights over land for construction of pipelines, which is the alternative means by which the company which wishes to introduce the pipeline may obtain the necessary permission to do so.

It is very important that applications for compulsory purchase orders should not be made when an acquisition for rights over land for construction of pipelines would suffice. In other words, if we grant the case for limiting the rights of individuals, for the greater convenience of the community, it is nevertheless incumbent upon us to make sure that the restriction on those rights are not greater than is necessary to achieve the objective in respect of which those rights are being restricted. Unless my interpretation is incorrect, with an Amendment to Clause 10 we could achieve the result which the Bill sets out to achieve in this respect, while limiting the scope of potential hardship or injustice more strictly than at the moment.

Incidentally, in the early days of railway legislation there was a fairly widely held view that the constructors and owners of a railway line and system, having a monopoly right, in the sense that they owned the system which they had constructed, should not be permitted to operate trains upon that line but should merely act as owners of the system, the use of which was hired out to one or more competing organisations, individuals or bodies corporate who wished to avail themselves of the facilities brought into existence by the company concerned in pursuance of the rights conferred by Private Bills.

Although this system was tried in a few cases it met with no success. It will not be at all difficult for hon. Members to guess why. The safety aspect, with a number of completely dissociated operators endeavouring to run on one system, left so much to be desired that the experiment was not persisted with.

I sometimes wonder how a number of different substances can be pumped through a solitary pipe by a number of different operators, if that is the objective of one of the Clauses. Although there are great similarities between many of the products of the various petroleum companies they do not compete with each other in price in many cases. The whole import of their advertisements is to point out the alleged differences between their products rather than the similarities between them. If the substances to be pumped through the various pipes are dissimilar, and perhaps inimical to each other, it would seem that great operating problems are in- volved in cleansing between one operation and another.

Mr. Costain

indicated dissent.

Mr. Maxwell-Hyslop

I am happy to be told by my hon. Friend that this is not the case.

Mr. Costain

Provided the products are basically the same they can be separated by what is technically known as a plug, which is simply a volume of water or some other substance. It is not possible to send raw basic fuel and finished products through the same pipeline because certain residues would be left in the pipeline.

Mr. Maxwell-Hyslop

I am grateful to my hon. Friend for clearing up that matter.

The question of liability has already been referred to. I merely wish to appeal to my right hon. Friend for insurance cover.

I think that is not unreasonable. Whether it be an aircraft or a motor car, or any device or process liable to cause extensive damage to members of the public, I think it reasonable that the operator should have to carry a large amount of insurance. I am not suggesting that pipelines are inherently hazardous. If the substances conveyed are inflammable or volatile substances, such as petroleum spirit, I should imagine that the risk of transferring them in a sealed pipe over a given distance is much less than the risk of sending the substance by road, or even by rail, with the accompanying hazards of accidental damage. This point has been mentioned by other hon. Members, but I hope that it will be referred to by the Minister.

My right hon. Friend in introducing the Bill made no plea that it should be passed into law in the virgin, or somewhat polluted virgin, state in which it has arrived in this House. I believe that the fundamental objective of the Bill is desirable. Whatever view we may take of the merits of the profit motive, it is irrelevant in a situation where this process, as a means of transport, is desirable. With a society of 52 million people which is increasing each year, and with the volume of trade and transport increasing each year, I think that there is every incentive to increase to the maximum those means of transport which do not involve further congestion of the land surface. At present we are losing 500 acres of agricultural land a week to house and factory building and road construction. I look forward to this process as an additional means of transport which will tend to alleviate a certain amount of the congestion on the land surface; remove an element of danger which attends the movement of certain types of commodities and also as something which will expedite the delivery of commodities in a manner which is both safe and effective.

8.38 p.m.

Mr. William Warbey (Ashfield)

A number of hon. Members have praised this Bill with faint damns and others have damned it with faint praise. I have not heard anyone speak about the Measure with great enthusiasm. On the other hand, every one agrees that we ought to have a Bill on lines similar to this one.

The difficulty which we all face is the fact that there are three conflicting interests which have to be reconciled and, almost inevitably, in trying to achieve this the Government have done a very bad job. Firstly, there are the interests of the private enterprise developers, who wish to go ahead and build pipelines in order to make a profit from them or in order to save money on transport and thereby increase their profits in other ways. There are, secondly, the interests of private individuals, whose personal rights in land or property may be affected, and local authorities and public undertakings whose services may be affected by pipelines cutting across them or going above and below them and leading to all kinds of disturbances, including the blocking of streets while the pipelines are actually being constructed.

Thirdly, there is the general public interest, which is to ensure that this very important and valuable new means of transportation shall serve the public. Here I agree entirely with the hon. Member for Tiverton (Mr. Maxwell-Hyslop) on its value as a comparatively safe, convenient and efficient means of transportation in certain special cases. The public interest requires that this great new development should take place in ways which, firstly, realise the maximum of which it is capable and are not neces- sarily restricted, secondly, in ways which avoid unnecessary and wasteful duplication and multiplicity, and, thirdly, in ways which result in some degree of co-ordination and integration, not only within the pipeline system itself, but also with other forms of transport.

Finally, as was pointed out by one hon. Member, there is a possible strategic interest in this matter. The railways are regarded as a matter of strategic importance and the pipeline system obviously also, in fact so much so that we already have 1,200 miles of publicly-owned pipelines in the country, built and belonging to the Government and still belonging to the Government. This is one of the bits of public enterprise which have not been sold off to private enterprise, although some is rented at rentals which we are not able to discover but which we suspect are very advantageous to those who do the renting.

We already have three-quarters of the pipelines existing or under construction in the country under public ownership and for a reason of public interest. I should have thought that a very good precedent indeed for saying that on this system of publicly-owned pipelines we should build and extend until we have a complete, properly planned and co-ordinated network of value to the community as a whole. That, of course, we cannot get from this Bill, although we shall do our best to amend it. Vie shall not get anything like it I am afraid from this Bill, not even with the proper safeguarding of public interests and the beginning of planning and co-ordination.

Hon. Members opposite have pointed out how inadequate are the powers vested in the Minister in the various Clauses of the Bill and also that most of those powers are permissive. A great deal of discretion, including, for example, that in relation to safety regulations—an extremely important matter—is left in the hands of the Minister. There is a curious mixture of a kind of feeble attempt at planning in parts of the Bill with an almost total laissez faire in the rest of the Bill. In Clauses 8 and 9, for example, there is a little planning. Under certain limited circumstances only, the Minister may, if he wishes, exercise the power to prescribe what the capacity of a pipeline shall be and the charges that shall be made for its use.

That is extensive central planning by the Government, but it is to be applied, as it were, to a little bit of the system and in circumstances which may arise only in limited cases. What the Minister cannot do is to plan the overall network, to have a total picture and see that the development conforms to it. He cannot initiate anything. Initiation must come entirely from private enterprise and possibly from such public bodies as the successors to the British Transport Commission in the limited cases in which, under the Transport Bill, they are to be allowed to develop pipelines. As my right hon. and learned Friend said, the Minister will sit in an armchair and wait for the applicants to come to him with their piecemeal proposals. He has to deal with the proposals, in effect, piecemeal. He can consider what may be the likely developments in the future in other directions or along the same route, but he cannot plan the whole thing as a co-ordinated development in accordance with the requirements.

On the other hand, in so far as he has powers, those powers are almost autocratic. The Minister alone, by his own ipse dixit can take the decision, subject only, if local authorities object, to a public inquiry. After sitting all by himself in his lonely room, the Minister has in his discretion the power to hand over to a big oil company, for example, the authority to develop a pipeline which gives that company a very useful extension to its existing semi-monopoly powers. He can do this without any reference to Parliament. I am sorry that the Minister is not in the Chamber at the moment, but the Attorney-General will be able to deal with this point, no doubt, when he winds up the debate.

In presenting the Bill in this form, the Minister has breached an undertaking which he gave to the House. I will read to the House what he said on Second Reading of the Trunk Pipelines Bill on 27th April. Speaking of possible inquiries under a Bill which might eventually be brought forward by the Government, he said, The inquiry might be on the lines of those held when the Generating Board make proposals to build generating stations or place grid lines over the country, with anyone being able to be heard and make representations, the subsequent procedure being to allow the House of Commons to express an opinion on the provisional decision reached as a result of the public inquiry. The hon. Member for Ashfield made the point that it was important for Parliament to be allowed to look at all the proposals that might be made. He was quite right. An important project which did not happen to require compulsory powers might escape the net. I feel that the procedure which is eventually agreed upon must be such that important projects of the kind he mentioned should be those on which Parliament should have the right to express a view"—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 27th April, 1962; Vol. 639, c. 720] Under this Bill, Parliament will have no right to express a view on any of the projects which are considered by the Minister. I hope that the Attorney-General will tell us why the Government have abandoned the undertaking given on their behalf by the Minister of Power that all major projects authorised by the Minister would be submitted to Parliament for approval. That does not happen under the Bill except in two comparatively minor cases. The rest the Minister decides alone. There are no guiding lines laid down in the Bill on which he has to make his decision. He is not required to make his decision in accordance with the national interest, the economic interest, or the social wellbeing of the country. No such considerations are laid down. If he liked, the Minister could decide solely on the ground that a scheme would be advantageous for the applicant and not for anybody else. That is a possibility under the Bill.

The result is that private interests are queueing up at Millbank to put in their applications, some of them rival applications. The oil companies have their plans out. In fact, the oil companies are so confident that the Government will give them an authorisation that they have gone ahead with parts of their plans. For example, Shell-Mex-B.P. is constructing its terminal at St. Albans which is planned to be the terminal point of a trunk pipeline coming up from the Thames through Essex and Hertfordshire to St. Albans. The company is so confident that the Minister of Power is going to give it an authorisation when it makes an application that it has gone ahead with the preliminary arrangements in advance, just as Trunk Pipelines was so confident that it would get its Bill through that it spent £70,000 on promoting it—but it made a mistake. Trunk Pipelines is also in the queue along with the other oil companies for this great grid that is planned to go from the Thames, through London to Birmingham and up to Merseyside, which would obviously be made the central front line of a national system.

Who is going to get the benefit of this grand concession? The would-be concessionaires will have the benefit conferred upon them by a Minister making his decision without any guiding lines, without even having to make any report to Parliament, let alone having to consult Parliament. He is to do this solely on his own judgment and that of his advisers.

In almost any other country in the world except this, provisions of this kind would be regarded as an open door to corruption. No other country in the world would dare put such powers in the hands of a Minister. It is only because there is a fantastically high standard of integrity among our civil servants and Ministers of the Crown that we can even think that such powers could be operated without the gravest public dangers arising, because there are great profits to be made and great advantages to be gained by private interests out of the concessions that will be handed out under the Bill when it becomes an Act. We on this side are concerned to ensure that these profit-making concessions are not handed out to private interests but that the profits and advantages which will come from this pipeline development shall accrue to the public interest.

8.54 p.m.

Mr. Grant-Ferris (Nantwich)

I am sure the whole House agrees that we have had a very interesting debate. I shall not detain the House for more than a few minutes. There is no great difference of opinion in the House about the necessity for a Bill such as this. The only difference seems to be about who is to own and run the pipeline system. I was very interested today in the speech of the right hon. and learned Member for Newport (Sir F. Soskice). I am always interested in his speeches. I always thoroughly enjoy them. I do not have to agree with them to enjoy them. I certainly enjoyed everything he said today, although I saw the fallacies of his argument. He was at great pains to tell the House that if we put a Bill such as this into law we should produce in the country the same mess and proliferation of pipelines as we had in the case of railways and that the very trouble into which we got in the last century would take place in this.

I do not think that the right hon. and learned Member for Newport could have read the Bill very carefully if that is the view which he holds. Clause 8 expressly lays on the Minister the duty to avoid that state of affairs. I see that the hon. Member for Hamilton (Mr. T. Fraser) does not agree with that, but I think that that is the case. The whole object of the Bill is to prevent the sort of thing of which hon. Members opposite seem to be afraid.

A Private Bill was introduced into the House in the last Session on this matter and the Government rightly thought that the question of pipelines was so important that it was not a fit and proper subject for Private Bill legislation. The railway system of the past was the subject of Private Bill legislation, and we all know the present difficulties which have been caused by that. Therefore, the Government rightly thought that there should be a public Bill to deal with this matter.

Nationalised industry stands to gain a great deal and will lose nothing from the Bill. Instead of having to foot the bill itself, someone else will do it and will pay very well for the privilege of travelling on nationalised industry's land.

I was very interested in the speech of my hon. Friend the Member for Sheffield, Hallam (Mr. J. H. Osborn), who spoke of the difficulties of running pipelines along railway property. That may be so, but one thing which is certain is that canal towpaths are an ideal site for pipelines. Thank God, they travel mainly in the directions in which the largest number of pipelines is likely to go. They go from here to Birmingham, from here to Bristol, from Bristol to Birmingham and from Birmingham to Liverpool and Manchester. The pipelines will bother nobody. They will travel along the towpaths and will not, I hope, be an eyesore but will bring a substantial revenue to the new Inland Waterways Authority.

I understand that the company which was to promote the Private Bill had arrived at a very satisfactory arrangement with the British Transport Commission over what the royalties should be merely for the use of the Grand Union Canal towpath from Birmingham to London. I know some of the figures, but perhaps I should not mention them in the House. The money arising from just that one route would have made considerable inroads into the not very great deficit of the inland waterways over the past year or two. One can visualise a very large revenue accruing to the waterways in that respect.

I hope that my right hon. Friend, when he replies, will say something more about the amenity aspect. This matter is given little attention in the Bill. I should like to see Clause 40 strengthened. One can readily understand that if a pipeline is to be laid along some of our more beautiful canals unless it is properly hidden it could wreck that beauty and be a very great eyesore. I hope that my right hon. Friend will consider an Amendment to Clause 40 to strengthen the words "preserving natural beauty" in line 20 and will substitute other words saying that, if necessary, these pipes, running over considerable distances, whether through railway property, along waterways or anywhere else, should be buried.

Nowadays, there is a very good method of laying a pipe through the sort of obstacle which will be repeatedly encountered, namely, a humpback bridge. The towpath goes under the bridge. There is a tool which will bore quickly under the ramp of the bridge to enable the pipe to be laid instead of having to go round the narrow part of the towpath. I hope that the question of amenity will be safeguarded carefully by the Minister in Committee, because I do not consider that the Bill is quite strong enough yet. We could easily lose a great deal of our natural beauty.

I have only one more word to say, which, I suppose, is not strictly on the Bill. This is really a communications business and it should be for the Ministry of Transport in the long run to take the responsibility on the Ministerial side. It is not the job of the Ministry of Power but has been thrust upon it by force of circumstances and the fact that oil companies and others want to do this job. I hope that in due course the Government will take note of this and will not proliferate the number of Ministries which have to be dealt with. Concerning canals alone, we have to deal with the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, the Ministry of Housing and Local Government and the Ministry of Transport. To have to deal with the Ministry of Power as well is rather too much. It is clearly the job of the Ministry of Transport.

9.1 p.m.

Mr. Thomas Fraser (Hamilton)

We have had an interesting debate. It began with a speech from the Minister which was a lucid explanation of the provisions of the Bill. Towards the end of his speech, the right hon. Gentleman commented upon the reasoned Amendment which appeared on the Order Paper. I felt, however, as I listened to the excellent speech with which my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Newport (Sir F. Soskice) introduced the Amendment, that the Minister would recognise how puny was his objection to it.

From time to time during the debate, I have found myself just a little depressed by the unwillingness of hon. Members on the Government benches to comment upon the speeches made from this side of the House in support of the Amendment or to comment upon the Amendment at all except to criticise public enterprise. They appeared to imagine that the Amendment contained only the proposition that pipelines to be constructed under the Bill should be constructed by public enterprise. Of course, we on this side take that view.

As I listened to the criticism of public enterprise from the Government benches, I wondered why we had not denationalised the railways, gas, electricity and the coal mines and, perhaps, even the Post Office. Clearly, hon. Members opposite believe that anything that is run by a public authority in the public interest must be run at a loss and less efficiently than if the service were run by private enterprise.

The Amendment suggests not only that development should be by public enterprise, but that it should be in accordance with a policy of planned economic expansion. I have not heard hon. Members opposite comment upon whether that is desirable. From the newspaper comments I have read on the Bill since its publication, I have had the impression that most people outside who take an interest in the matter rather took the view that the pipeline system should be in accordance with a policy of planned economic expansion.

Hon. Members opposite have not had anything to say about the later part of the Amendment, which suggests that the Bill grants monopoly powers to selected private companies without either adequate safeguards for users or proper concern for the interests of the nation as a whole. I recognise that some hon. Members opposite have said that they are not quite satisfied with the provisions of Clauses 8 and 9. For the most part, they seemed to be more than satisfied with Clauses 8 and 9, and so certain were they that what was good for the oil companies was good for the country that we wondered whether, during the Committee stage, they would not want to move the deletion of Clauses 8 and 9.

This is the impression one could hardly avoid having from the tone of so many of the speeches that were made, and I hope the right hon. and learned Attorney-General, who is to reply, will tell us whether he accepts that, even with Clauses 8 and 9 in the Bill, monopoly powers will undoubtedly be granted to selected private companies, without adequate safeguards for other private companies, which might conceivably be users of the pipeline, and without adequate safeguards for the customers of other oil companies who will be in the areas supplied by the pipelines owned by individual companies.

Would the right hon. and learned Gentleman tell us whether the Government are quite unconcerned with the interests of the nation as a whole? In writing in the phrase in the Amendment about the desirability of a pipeline system being developed in accordance with a policy of planned economic expansion, we had hoped that the Government would recognise that not only do we all want to see economic expansion in this country, but economic expansion all over the country, and not only in selected parts of the country. There is at present very great congestion in the Midlands and in Landon and the South-East. These are the parts of the country which are attracting population all the time, and almost every other part of the country is shedding and losing population.

Government spokesmen have boasted many times of the provisions of the Local Employment Act, 1960. The Minister of Power knows plenty about colliery closures and what has happened to the mining industry in recent years. The Minister of Power, who has given us the Bill—

Mr. William Ross (Kilmarnock)

Where is he, by the way?

Mr. Fraser

—knows that the mining industry is employing 150,000 fewer men than it did four years ago. He knows that there are very considerable colliery closures in some parts of the country, and when we have questioned him on what the Government are to do to protect the social fabric in those parts of the country, the answer always has been, "We shall do what we can under the provisions of the Local Employment Act, 1960."

We say that if we leave this entirely to the oil companies, the companies will put in their pipelines to supply their customers in London and the South-East, and will put in other pipelines to supply customers in the West Midlands. Hon. Gentlemen opposite have been telling us today that because this will be an economic operation their customers will get the benefit.

If this is so, then surely oil will become cheaper in the areas of the country which are suffering the greatest congestion at present than it will be in other parts of the country. Will not this nullify the Government's professed efforts to steer industry into those other parts of the country? How are they to induce industrialists who are expanding their businesses to go from London or the Midlands into Wales, or into the northern part of England or Scotland? As a matter of fact, the whole of the country North of the Humber is shedding population at present.

If, in those parts of the country, fuel supplies are to be available at a higher price than in the congested areas of the country it is no use pleading with industrialists to occupy factories which are being built for them in those parts by the Board of Trade, and it will not encourage industrialists to go to B.O.T.A.C. to get loans to build factories in those parts. Does not the Minister recognise that? Does he not recognise that production costs there will from the start be seen to be higher than in the congested areas from which the Government say they are trying to steer away industry and population?

It is in these circumstances that I would have thought that hon. Gentlemen on both sides of the House would have recognised that, if there is to be a tremendous development of pipelines for the conveyance of oil and oil products, if there is to be a system of pipelines which will carry solids, many kinds of which have been mentioned in the debate today, it would be better to avoid the proliferation of private enterprise lines, and better to put pipelines down in a planned way, and that it would not be a bad thing to have some lines going into the parts of the country to which it is the Government's desire to steer industry, even though the profitability of those lines might be a little, less than the profitability of lines running into London or the Midlands.

That is what we have in mind when we talk of laying them in accordance with a policy of planned economic expansion. The Minister will be satisfied to learn that nobody on this side of the House is against pipelines.

Mr. Ross

Except the Secretary of State for Scotland's.

Mr. Fraser

I said nobody on this side of the House. We are fobbed off from time to time with the proposition that there are jobs in the pipeline for those areas which are much in need of additional employment.

However, we take the view that pipelines must be in the public interest. We take the view that the public interest is rather important. The only interest which has been hammered home on the other side of the House today is the interest of the landowners whose land is to be traversed by these pipelines, notwithstanding that in almost every case all that will happen will be that a trench will be dug, a pipeline laid in, and the land covered over again and restored to its agricultural or other use—except that it will be sterilised from building.

As I listened to many speeches today I learned that we are to have Amendments moved in Committee to make sure that the owners of that land will share in the profits to be made by the oil companies out of the pipeline built; but there was nothing said at all about the public interest.

I would have thought that hon. Members opposite, as well as the right hon. Gentlemen who occupy the Treasury Bench, would have taken the view that where public utility powers have to be given to operators, and recognising that public utility powers are being given by the Bill to the pipeline operators, they might have agreed with us that those operators ought to carry out their activities in the interests of the community as a whole, and not in the interests of mere profit making.

It ought not to be for us in Parliament to confer great powers on the Minister to confer in turn great powers on private persons outside to compulsorily acquire other private persons' rights merely for the purpose of gaining more profits for themselves. When they obtain public utility powers they should be required to carry out their functions for public purposes and in the interests of the community as a whole.

Hon. Members opposite have learned nothing whatsoever from history, and I suspect that the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Attorney-General has not learned anything either, because the most illuminating comments that I have heard in the whole of this discussion have been the right hon. and learned Gentleman's rather audible mutterings in reply to speeches made from this side of the House when my hon. Friends, in the public interest, were commending the reasoned Amendment.

The Attorney-General and his hon. Friends are prepared to see repeated our whole experience of railway devlopment in the last century when ultimately, in the course of this century, order has had to be brought in and it has had to be recognised that railway systems must be co-ordinated. I should have thought that the party opposite would have recognised that all of us have a duty to see that this does not happen with pipelines, but there is no recognition at all of this.

It is because we on this side of the House do not wish to see this proliferation of pipelines, and want to see their development carried out in the public interest, that we say we must have an integrated transport system. At each terminal point of a pipeline there will be depots from which tankers will run by road and rail. There must be a good deal of integration between the existing different systems of transport and the new transport to be provided under the Bill.

It is for that reason, among others, that we on this side take the view that the Minister who should be responsible for this is the Minister of Transport. Inasmuch as this co-ordination of our different systems of transport is desirable in the interests of the country as a whole, we believe that it should be a public enterprise authority that should be entrusted with the job. I should have thought that this might have somewhat impressed hon. Members opposite. It may be that they could have resisted our public enterprise proposals, but they might have gone as far as legislatures have gone in most other countries which have had to deal with this problem. I do not know of any country which has introduced legislation to give power to a Minister to authorise the laying down of pipelines which has not taken greater care of the public interest than is being taken in this Bill.

Suggestions have been made today that in the United States the common user principle has not been a great success and that there has been a great deal of litigation about it. But there is litigation about many things in the United States and in this country. We do not decide not to try to render a service to the community just because there might be litigation in consequence.

But the United States Government have never discontinued their insistence in statute on the common user principle in the operation of pipelines. The tariffs to be charged have to be published and approved by the Inter-State Commerce Commission so that unreasonable profits shall not be made. I believe that the accounts also have to be published, so that the public can see that no undue profits are being made by the operators. Is there anything like that in this Bill? There is not. There is no provision to control tariffs, to ensure publication of accounts—nothing of that sort. There is no guarantee that other concerns will be able to get the use of a pipeline after it is constructed.

On the Continent, most of the general laws, although they do not insist on the common user principle, insist on the multiple user principle. They do not give authority to individual oil companies to pipe only their own products.

Mr. Skeet


Mr. Ross

Speaking for the oil companies again.

Mr. Skeet

I have no interest to declare. In Europe, the French and the Swiss, for example, stated at the inception that there must be capacity within the pipelines which could be utilised by third parties. Am I not right in saying that the Bill goes further than that?

Mr. Fraser

In the first place, the European countries did not grant authorisation to individual oil companies. They only granted authorisation to consortia, to multiple users, so that there would be multiple use of the pipelines from the beginning.

I can understand it if hon. Members opposite are against the proposition that this should be done by public enterprise. But I cannot understand why they do not at least insist that the pipelines should be owned and operated by consortia which would be controlled, in some degree, by the Minister with regard to tariffs and to the availability of the lines to smaller companies which might not be members of a consortium. I thought that hon. Members opposite would have been in favour of the tariffs being controlled and the accounts of the consortia being made available for public scrutiny. But they seem quite unconcerned about providing any of these safeguards in this country.

I now give one or two examples of pipelines which should be constructed in the not too distant future. My hon. Friend the Member for Pembroke (Mr. Donnelly) called attention to the great developments at Milford Haven. There is an Esso refinery there now. Regent proposes to build one nearby. B.P. has a refinery near Swansea. There will surely be a pipeline in the not very distant future from Milford Haven to the Midlands. This may well be an Esso pipeline. It will be reasonable for the Minister to say to Esso, "Regent is to build a station nearby, so we had better have a pipeline to take the products of both refineries."

One need only look at the map to see that the more sensible thing would be to start a pipeline at Milford Haven, bring it round in an are coming close in to Swansea to pick up the refined product from the B.P. refinery, and take it on through industrial South Wales into the Midlands. But if Esso applies to the Minister for permission to run a pipeline for its product from Milford Haven to the Midlands, he will not, under Clauses 8 and 9, be able to do more than call its attention to the probability of a supply of oil from the Regent refinery going up nearby also being taken to the Midlands.

The right hon. Gentleman will not be able to say, "Your proposal is wrong. I want a route which will go round and take in the product from the refinery at Swansea." As I understand it he is not given that power in the Bill. Yet this is precisely what should happen. Let us take the example of pipelines from Canvey Island, or the northern bank of the Thames Estuary. Esso is considering building a line from there to St. Albans and Trunk Pipelines Limited has proposed to build a pipeline from Canvey Island to Denham, in Buckinghamshire, and thence to the Midlands and on to Merseyside.

From the map one can see that the lines of the proposed Esso project and the Trunk Pipelines project are very different and need to be different. Let us recognise that on the whole length of those lines we have 20 feet of land sterilised from building for all time, or as long as any of us can possibly foresee. Those lines will probably be down for 100 years or more, for all practical purposes for ever.

Mr. Grant-Ferris

If the pipeline takes the route of the towpath of the Grand Union Canal, no building land will be sterilised. That is the obvious route and it is the route already chosen.

Mr. Fraser

I support what the hon. Member for Nantwich (Mr. Grant-Ferris) said about building along the towpaths of canals. It is also right to use railway tracks. But if he has listened to the debate, he will have learned that many of his hon. Friends take the view that the oil companies should be encouraged to go through virgin land, across country. They do so because it is easier and cheaper to build pipelines in that way.

Hon. Members opposite who have claimed great knowledge of these matters, including the hon. Member for Folkestone and Hythe (Mr. Costain), have been very careful not to give us any figures of the cost of constructing pipelines. They were ready enough to cast doubt on the figures produced by Mr. Nolan in the articles in the Petroleum Times. They acknowledge that he has some expert knowledge, and some of them that he has great expert knowledge. The hon. Member for Folkestone and Hythe said that he knew him well, but that Mr. Nolan had only recently come into this business. I would have thought he was one of the experts. At any rate, he has gone to the length of producing some figures. I wonder why the hon. Member for Folkestone and Hythe did not do so.

Mr. Costain

I have been accused of not giving an estimate for producing a pipeline. Equally, I would not state the length of a piece of string. Producing a pipeline depends, among other things, on the terrain to be covered, whether the pipeline passes through town or countryside. I would put a pipeline along a canal if I could. One cannot possibly say how long a piece of string is.

Mr. Fraser

Hon. Members know very well that they could produce figures of the cost of building the pipelines which we now have. They were careful not to do so. The Government have built 1,200 miles of pipeline in this country already. We think that it would be sensible to integrate the new pipelines with the pipelines we already have. We could have been told the cost of the present pipelines, but hon. Members opposite who are knowledgeable about the activities and the finances of the oil companies have not said what it costs to build the Esso, Shell, or B.P. pipelines.

Mr. Corfield

What would that prove?

Mr. Fraser

It would prove Mr. Nolan right. Hon. Members opposite were concerned only with proving him wrong. They have called attention to the additional cost of building pipelines along, railway tracks. Mr. Nolan dealt with that in his article.

It costs slightly more to lay a pipeline along a railway track than across open country, but other savings are made in the process, and in as much as it is desirable to integrate the transport services and prevent sterilising land that might be required for other public purposes, it would be better to run pipelines alongside the railways and the canals. I thought that most people who were knowledgeable about this subject agreed with that proposition, but apparently hon. Gentlemen opposite take the view that if the oil companies do not agree it cannot be right.

We take the view that local pipelines, for which provision is made in Clause 2, ought to be dealt with in like manner with cross-country pipelines. Most of these local pipelines of less than 10 miles in length will be laid in the populous areas, in places like London, Birmingham, Manchester, and Glasgow. They will be built by private individuals who will be using public utilities. They will build these pipelines under streets which are owned and controlled by local authorities, and perhaps even building them against the wishes of the local authority concerned. All this will be done to make a profit for the company, and I think that these short pipelines will be as important as the longer pipelines which are to be laid in open country.

The criterion to decide whether the pipeline should be subjected to all the controls laid down in the Bill should not be the length of the pipeline, but the purpose for which it is required, whether it is to be used for a public purpose, or whether it is to be used to transport solids or oil products of one sort or another, or whether it is to be used to take crude oil to a refinery. These considerations ought to be taken into account when deciding whether the full provisions of the Bill should apply.

This is merely an oil companies' Bill. I think that we have all had this week a copy of the Esso magazine.

Mr. George Lawson (Motherwell)

Has my hon. Friend made an estimate of how much money the Bill has brought to the Conservative Party funds?

Mr. Fraser

I have no way of finding out what contributions have been made by the oil companies to the Conservative Party funds, but on reading this week's edition of the Esso magazine I see that the Bill gives the oil companies everything for which they could ever ask. It saves them all the expense and trouble of the Private Bill procedure. It gives up all the powers that they could ever have obtained under a Private Bill.

Mr. James Dempsey (Coatbridge and Airdrie)

All for nothing.

Mr. Fraser

It gives them everything for which they could possibly ask, for nothing, or, at any rate, very little, except to the public purse.

I repeat that this is purely an oil companies' Bill. If the Minister thinks that I am being a bit rough on him in saying this, let me point out that he is responsible for the coal industry. He told us that one of the products that can be carried in pipelines is coal. Does the National Coal Board have power to build pipelines? I do not think that it does. If the Board wants to supply coal by pipeline to a generating station, it cannot do it. Hon. Gentlemen opposite are getting impatient, but I understood that the right hon. and learned Gentleman wanted twenty to twenty-five minutes in which to reply.

The Minister envisaged that coal would be carried by pipelines, but he has not taken the trouble to give the Coal Board power to construct pipelines to transport its coal to power stations. He has given power to the oil companies to build pipelines to take their oil to the generating stations. Of course, if we had not nationalised the coal mines, and they had still been privately owned, the private owners would have that power to construct pipelines. In time, no doubt, the Railways Board or the Inland Waterways Authority will construct pipelines between the coal mines and the power stations. The right hon. Gentleman knows very well that in a good many cases nowadays there are no railway lines near to where new generating stations are being built. An example of this was given by the hon. Member for Derby, North (Mr. MacDermot).

This is a bad Bill. It does not deal with this great problem. There has been a suggestion from hon. Members opposite that it would be wrong at this time to burden the public purse with the cost of putting down pipelines. I say that this would not be a burden at all, but would be a very worthwhile investment. I can prophesy with safety that in a few years' time a very much heavier burden will be put on the public purse when other legislation has to be brought in to bring order out of the chaos which will be brought about by this Bill.

9.36 p.m.

The Attorney-General (Sir Reginald Manningham-Buller)

The right hon. and learned Member for Newport (Sir F. Soskice) will know that attorneys are sometimes required to perform tasks which they do not expect to do. That is certainly my situation tonight. I should not be replying to this debate but for the illness of my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Secretary, and I am sure that the House will join me in wishing him complete and speedy recovery—sufficiently speedy, one trusts, to enable him to enjoy taking part in the discussions in Committee, which, to judge by the debate, are likely to be both interesting and enjoyable. [HON. MEMBERS: "And prolonged."] My right hon. Friend gave a very clear exposition of what the Bill will do. My task is to reply to the criticisms which have been made and to the main attack, which has been in support of the Opposition's Amendment.

Many points have been raised which, no doubt, will be more fully discussed in Committee, but I should like to reply shortly to some of them and then come to the Socialist Party's Amendment. For that reason, I shall start by replying to my hon. Friend the Member for Dover (Mr. Arbuthnot) who thought that the right of public inquiry should be extended to all objectors, the frivolous objectors being penalised by costs.

The proposal in this Bill follows the Electricity Act, 1957. I think that the power to have an informal hearing is useful and I have never heard of any complaint of the exercise of Ministerial discretion between having an informal hearing and a public inquiry. The procedure envisaged in the Bill is criticised to some extent by my hon. Friend, but I believe that when it is thoroughly examined it will be found to be a completely satisfactory procedure. He went on to say that pipelines less than 10 miles in length should be included in Clause 1, subject to authorisation. The same thing was said by the hon. Member for Hamilton (Mr. T. Fraser). My right hon. Friend can under Clause 6 require short pipelines to come within the procedure under Clause 1.

The other point made by my hon. Friend and some other hon. Members was that the penalties contained in the Bill were too small. I do not think that that is so. We must bear in mind that in addition to the penalty which can be incurred in a prosecution there is the liability to remove the offending works, and to pay the cost of their removal if it is carried out by someone else. That may be a fairly substantial amount. In addition, there is the sanction—the effect of which should not be minimised—of the publicity resulting from a prosecution.

The hon. Member for Derby, North (Mr. MacDermot), who supported the Socialist Amendment, made a number of criticisms which will fall for consideration in Committee. He alleged that the Bill did not provide my right hon. Friend with certain powers, but we are satisfied that we have all the necessary powers to achieve the Bill's purposes. The hon. Member instanced the case of a power station in Derby which receives its fuel supplies by way of lorries which travel right through the centre of the city, and he suggested that the two nationalised industries—the Central Electricity Generating Board and the National Coal Board—would not be able, if they wished to do so in the public interest, to lay a pipeline from the mines to provide a direct supply to that power station.

I was interested in his giving this example of a situation in which the public interest would not be regarded because there would be no private profit, since we should be dealing with two nationalised industries. But the Coal Board and the Central Electricity Generating Board have powers of their own in connection with the construction of pipelines. If those powers are insufficient it is open to them to apply, like anyone else, for authority under the Bill.

My hon. Friend the Member for Gloucestershire, South (Mr. Corfield) said that the Bill did not go far enough to protect the rights of those through whose land the pipelines will go. That is a proper matter for examination in Committee, but I take the view that the rights of those through whose land the pipelines will go are fully protected by the Bill. We shall wait to hear any suggestions that my hon. Friend has to make. He went on to say that he thought that the liability for damages should be absolute. We have considered this possibility, but at present we do not consider that there is any need for this exceptional treatment. The present law provides adequate protection.

The hon. Member for Pembroke (Mr. Donnelly) referred to the possibility of enabling public enterprise to develop pipelines alongside private enterprise development. At present we think that it is right to take the steps that we are taking in the Bill. If nationalised bodies such as the British Transport Commission and the Transport Boards—as they will be in the future—having dealt with the problems now confronting them, wish to engage in this operation, it will be a matter for future consideration.

My hon. Friend the Member for Willesden, East (Mr. Skeet) thought, contrary to some of my hon. Friends, that the very short lines should be excluded from the provisions of Clause 2 unless they were carrying dangerous fuels. No case for that has been made out. I believe it to be desirable that my right hon. Friend should have notice of all pipeline constructions if we are to achieve—as I think the Bill will enable us to achieve in due course—a properly co-ordinated pipeline system.

The hon. Member for Hayes and Harlington (Mr. Skeffington) also thought that the penalties were too low, and my hon. Friend the Member for Sheffield, Hallam (Mr. J. H. Osborn), who supported the Bill, thought that there should be regulations concerning safety. I dare say that these will come in the future, but if we are to achieve the safety that we all desire it is desirable that at present my right hon. Friend should have the flexibility which the Bill gives him rather than the rigidity which would be imposed by making regulations.

The hon. Member for Deptford (Sir L. Plummer) asked about arrangements to be made—

Mr. Ross


The Attorney-General

I have only a short time left, and I want to reply as fully as possible.

The hon. Member for Deptford asked whether Trunk Pipelines Ltd. had made any arrangement with the British Transport Commission. I understand that talks have taken place, but I am not aware, and I cannot inform the hon. Gentleman, of the result of them. But it is open to Trunk Pipelines Ltd. to make an application under the Bill.

My hon. Friend the Member for Folkestone and Hythe (Mr. Costain) talked about the possibility of building land being sterilised. That is one of the factors which will have to be taken into account by my right hon. Friend when he is authorising the construction of a pipeline. It was the hon. Gentleman who suggested, giving an instance in South Wales, that my right hon. Friend would not be able to secure the development of a pipeline of the sort which he suggested. My hon. Friend is not right about that, because the Minister can refuse to give authority to Esso to develop a pipeline unless it takes the course he thinks appropriate having regard to all the circumstances.

I think that now I can come to what is the main issue of the debate. It is whether—

Mr. Skeffington

Will not the right hon. and learned Gentleman say something about the question of safety, which is concerning authorities like the London County Council and many other authorities which are apprehensive about this new risk?

The Attorney-General

I do not think that there is any exceptional or new risk involved in the construction and use of pipelines. I do not think there is any necessity to impose an absolute liability on those who construct or use them.

As I was saying, this brings me to the main issue of the debate, whether the House should accept the views put forward in the Bill or the Amendment. The hon. Member for Hamilton complained that nothing had been said from this side of the House about the phrase in the Amendment referring to "planned economic expansion" and about the terms of the last part of the Amendment. I think that the hon. Member was the first to refer to the last part of the Amendment and the first to make use of the phrase from it.

We are not proposing any "monopoly" powers. No doubt that word was used to attract the odium which the word normally carries, but to use it in relation to this Bill is quitie inappropriate. The Bill does not give monopoly powers to anyone. It is open to anyone to apply for authority to construct a cross-country pipeline at any time—[Laughter.]—and what hon. Gentlemen opposite, who laugh so easily, do not appear to recognise and appreciate is that the granting of authority under Clause 1 is analogous to the granting of planning permission under the Town and Country Planning Acts. They might just as well argue that permission to create a factory creates a monopoly as much as permission to lay a pipeline. It is a completely illogical argument.

The right hon. and learned Member for Newport said his piece with his usual charm, and I found it somewhat nostalgic. It reminded me of so many of the speeches which I heard from that side of the House between 1945 and 1951. We then heard from hon. Members opposite a great deal about the benefits of public ownership; much talk of the nation's interest and much condemnation of the profit motive. We have heard it maintained that everything will be all right if it is only left to public enterprise. We have heard that kind of argument, and so has the country, ad nauseam. Now, in the light of experience, few people will accept it.

The right hon. and learned Member for Newport said that there was a strong case for public ownership. He failed to make it out at all. He asserted that only under public ownership could pipelines be properly planned. That is not true. That is confusing the planning side with the development. The planning side can be done, and will be done, under this Bill by granting or withholding of authority. The granting of it would be after certain conditions had been satisfied.

If hon. Members opposite read the Bill they would understand that it gives planning control. That is one of the main objects of the Bill. It is easy for right hon. and learned Members to speak of sporadic, untidy development and to suggest that the development would take place as with the railways, but one of the reasons for the Bill is to give my right hon. Friend power to control where the pipelines go. That is clearly expressed in the Bill even if hon. Members opposite do not appreciate it. The right hon. and learned Gentleman criticised the power of my right hon. Friend as being a negative power, but a negative power is necessary to prevent wrong development.

The main difference between our approach and the approach of hon. Members opposite is that under our approach pipelines will be constructed where there is a real need for them and at the expense of those who want to use them. Large sums of taxpayers' money will not be invested in piplines some of which will not be wanted. It is easy for the right hon. and learned Member and hon. Members opposite to assert that the national interest requires a pipeline when private industry is not prepared to put it down. It is suggested that pipelines should be planned, among other things, to encourage development of industry at particular points. The right hon. and learned Member touched on that and the hon. Member for Hamilton developed it. The answer surely is that it raises the dilemma that either the pipelines will be economic or not. If they are economic, no doubt private industry will be ready to construct them. If they are not economic I do not believe that the construction of a pipeline which is not required is the best way of encouraging the proper distribution of industry.

I quite understand that hon. Members opposite do not like anything which disagrees with their theories about this matter, but it is a ridiculous proposition that public enterprise should spend large sums of money initially—[Interruption.] It is all very well hon. Members talking about the pay-off being so quick, but it will only be quick if the pipeline is economic. Initially large sums of money would have to come from the taxpayer. The party opposite suggest that public enterprise should construct pipelines in places where they will not be economic to secure better location of industry. That was the theme of the speech of the hon. Member for Hamilton, which he developed for a long time.

Mr. T. Fraser

Does the Attorney-General not know that what I said was that pipelines might go to those parts of the country where the Minister said the Government were doing their utmost to bring about industrial development? If so, the pipelines would then be economic.

The Attorney-General

The hon. Member put forward the proposition that pipelines should be put there to secure a different location of industry. The point I make is that if we want to secure that, there are better ways of doing it than by constructing pipelines for which there is no immediate demand.

Our approach is much better than the approach put forward in the Amendment. We have here the control which

is required over the lines which the pipelines will take. It is true that we are not making provision for common user—

Mr. Ross

Or anything else.

The Attorney-General

—but that is inherent in the Bill. If the hon. Member for Kilmarnock (Mr. Ross) thinks that we have made provision for nothing in the Bill, then he has either not read the complicated provisions or has not understood them.

It is interesting that we have not had a single contribution from the Liberal Party to the debate. I think that I am right in saying that none of the Liberals has been here all day. The hon. Member for Stoke Newington and Hackney, North (Mr. Weitzman), who is sitting on the bench which the Liberals usually occupy, is leaving plenty of room for them. But the Liberals have saved themselves from the dilemma which so often occurs to them of having to make up their minds on a project which will effect a great change in our economy in the future.

The division between the two sides of the House on this issue follows old-fashioned lines which we have often heard argued. We are satisfied that ours is the right and proper approach to the problem and the approach which is best in the national interest. I ask the House to give the Bill a Second Reading.

Question put, That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question:—

The House divided: Ayes 277, Noes 195.

Division No. 179.] AYES [9.57 p.m.
Aitken, W. T. Bossom, Clive Clark, William (Nottingham, S.)
Allason, James Bourne-Arton, A. Clarke, Brig. Terence (Portsmth, W.)
Amery, Rt. Hon. Julian Box, Donald Cleaver, Leonard
Arbuthnot, John Boyle, Sir Edward Cole, Norman
Ashton, Sir Hubert Braine, Bernard Collard, Richard
Atkins, Humphrey Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col. Sir Walter Cooke, Robert
Barber, Anthony Brooman-White, R. Cooper, A. E.
Barlow, Sir John Brown, Alan (Tottenham) Cooper-Key, Sir Neill
Barter, John Browne, Percy (Torrington) Cordeaux, Lt.-Col. J. K.
Batsford, Brian Buck, Antony Corfield, F. V.
Baxter, Sir Beverley (Southgate) Bullard, Denys Costain, A. P.
Beamish, Cal. Sir Tufton Bullus, Wing Commander Eric Coulson, Michael
Bell, Ronald Burden, F. A. Courtney, Cdr. Anthony
Bennett, F. M. (Torquay) Butcher, Sir Herbert Craddock, Sir Beresford
Bennett, Dr. Reginald (Goa & Fhm) Campbell, Sir David (Belfast, S.) Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. Sir Oliver
Bevins, Rt. Hon. Reginald Campbell, Gordon (Moray & Nairn) Curran, Charles
Bidgood, John C. Carr, Compton (Barons Court) Currie, G. B. H.
Biffen, John Carr, Robert (Mitcham) Dalkeith, Earl of
Bingham, R. M. Cary, Sir Robert Dance, James
Birch, Rt. Hon. Nigel Channon, H. P. G. d'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Sir Henry
Bishop, F. P. Chataway, Christopher Deedes, W. F.
Black, Sir Cyril Clark, Henry (Antrim, N.) Donaldson, Cmdr. C. E. M.
Doughty, Charles Kershaw, Anthony Pym, Francis
Drayson, G. B. Kimball, Marcus Quennell, Miss J. M.
du Cann, Edward Kirk, Peter Rawlinson, Peter
Duncan, Sir James Kitson, Timothy Rees-Davies, W. R.
Eden, John Lagden, Godfrey Ridley, Hon. Nicholas
Elliot, Capt. Walter (Carshalton) Lambton, Viscount Ridsdale, Julian
Emery, Peter Lancaster, Col. C. G. Rippon, Geoffrey
Emmet, Hon. Mrs. Evelyn Leather, E. H. C. Robinson, Rt. Hn. Sir R. (B'pool, S.)
Errington, Sir Eric Legge-Bourke, Sir Harry Robson Brown, Sir William
Farey-Jones, F. W. Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland) Rodgers, John (Sevenoaks)
Farr, John Lilley, F. J. P. Roots, William
Fisher, Nigel Lindsay, Sir Martin Ropner, Col. Sir Leonard
Fletcher-Cooke, Charles Litchfield, Capt. John Royle, Anthony (Richmond, Surrey)
Forrest, George Lloyd, Rt. Hn. Geoffrey (Sut'nC'dfield) Russell, Ronald
Foster, John Longden, Gilbert Scott-Hopkins, James
Fraser, Ian (Plymouth, Sutton) Loveys, Walter H. Seymour, Leslie
Gammans, Lady Lucas, Sir Jocelyn Sharples, Richard
Gardner, Edward Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh Shaw, M.
Gibson-Watt, David McAdden, Stephen Skeet, T. H. H.
Gilmour, Sir John MacArthur, Ian Smith, Dudley (Br'ntf'd & Chiswick)
Glover, Sir Douglas McLaren, Martin Smithers, Peter
Glyn, Dr. Alan (Clapham) McLaughlin, Mrs. Patricia Spearman, Sir Alexander
Glyn, Sir Richard (Dorset, N.) Maclean, Sir Fitzroy (Bute & N. Ayrs.) Stanley, Hon. Richard
Goodhart, Philip Macleod, Rt. Hn. Iain (Enfield, W.) Stodart, J. A.
Gough, Frederick MacLeod, John (Ross & Cromarty) Storey, Sir Samuel
Grant, Rt. Hon. William McMaster, Stanley R. Studholme, Sir Henry
Grant-Ferris, Wg. Cdr. R. Macmillan, Maurice (Halifax) Summers, Sir Spencer (Aylesbury)
Green, Alan Macpherson, Niall (Dumfries) Talbot, John E.
Gresham Cooke, R. Maddan, Martin Tapsell, Peter
Grimond, Rt. Hon. J. Maginnis, John E. Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne)
Grosvenor, Lt.-Col. R. G. Manningham-Buller, Rt. Hn. Sir R. Taylor, Edwin (Bolton, E.)
Hall, John (Wycombe) Markham, Major Sir Frank Taylor, Frank (M'ch'st'r, Moss Side)
Hamilton, Michael (Wellingborough) Marlowe, Anthony Taylor, W. J. (Bradford, N.)
Hare, Rt. Hon. John Marshall, Douglas Teeling, Sir William
Harris, Frederic (Croydon, N. W.) Marten, Neil Temple, John M.
Harris, Reader (Heaton) Mathew, Robert (Honiton) Thatcher, Mrs. Margaret
Harrison, Col. Sir Harwood (Eye) Matthews, Gordon (Meriden) Thomas, Leslie (Canterbury)
Harvey, Sir Arthur Vere (Macclesf'd) Mawby, Ray Thompson, Kenneth (Walton)
Harvey, John (Walthamstow, E.) Maxwell-Hyslop, R. J. Thorneycroft, Rt. Hon. Peter
Hastings, Stephen Maydon, Lt.-Cmdr. S. L. C. Thornton-Kemsley, Sir Colin
Hay, John Mills, Stratton Touche, Rt. Hon. Sir Gordon
Heald, Rt. Hon. Sir Lionel Miscampbell, Norman Turner, Colin
Henderson, John (Cathcart) Montgomery, Fergus Tweedsmuir, Lady
Hendry, Forbes More, Jasper (Ludlow) van Straubenzee, W. R.
Hicks Beach, Maj. W. Morgan, William Vane, W. M. F.
Hiley, Joseph Mott-Radclyffe, Sir Charles Vaughan-Morgan, Rt. Hon. Sir John
Hill, J. E. B. (S. Norfolk) Nabarro, Gerald Vickers, Miss Joan
Hirst, Geoffrey Neave, Airey Vosper, Rt. Hon. Dennis
Hobson, Sir John Nicholson, Sir Godfrey Walder, David
Hocking, Philip N. Oakshott, Sir Hendrie Walker, Peter
Holland, Philip Orr, Capt. L. P. S. Walker-Smith, Rt. Hon. Sir Derek
Hollingworth, John Orr-Ewing, C. Ian Ward, Dame Irene
Hopkins, Alan Osborn, John (Hallam) Watkinson, Rt. Hon. Harold
Hornby, R. P. Page, Graham (Crosby) Webster, David
Hornsby-Smith, Rt. Hon. Dame P. Page, John (Harrow, West) Wells, John (Maidstone)
Howard, Hon. G. R. (St. Ives) Pannell, Norman (Kirkdale) Whitelaw, William
Howard, John (Southampton, Test) Pearson, Frank (Clitheroe) Williams, Dudley (Exeter)
Hughes Hallett, Vice-Admiral John Peel, John Williams, Paul (Sunderland, S.)
Hughes-Young, Michael Percival, Ian Wills, Sir Gerald (Bridgwater)
Hulbert, Sir Norman Peyton, John Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)
Hurd, Sir Anthony Pickthorn, Sir Kenneth Wise, A. R.
Iremonger, T. L. Pike, Miss Mervyn Wolrige-Gordon, Patrick
Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye) Pilkington, Sir Richard Wood, Rt. Hon. Richard
James, David Pitman, Sir James Woodhouse, C. M.
Jennings, J. C. Pitt, Miss Edith Woollam, John
Johnson, Dr. Donald (Carlisle) Pott, Percivall Worsley, Marcus
Johnson, Eric (Blackley) Powell, Rt. Hon. J. Enoch Yates, William (The Wrekin)
Jones, Rt. Hn. Aubrey (Hall Green) Price, David (Eastleigh)
Joseph, Sir Keith Prior, J. M. L. TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Kerans, Cdr. J. S. Prior-Palmer, Brig. Sir Otho Mr. Chichester-Clark and
Kerby, Capt. Henry Profumo, Rt. Hon. John Mr. Finlay.
Kerr, Sir Hamilton Proudfoot, Wilfred
Abse, Leo Benson, Sir George Brown, Rt. Hon. George (Belper)
Ainsley, William Blackburn, F. Brown, Thomas (Ince)
Albu, Austen Blyton, William Butler, Herbert (Hackney, C.)
Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.) Boardman, H. Butler, Mrs. Joyce (Wood Green)
Allen, Scholefield (Crewe) Bottomley, Rt. Hon. A. G. Castle, Mrs. Barbara
Awbery, Stan Bowden, Rt. Hn. H. W. (Leics, S. W.) Chapman, Donald
Baxter, William (Stirlingshire, W.) Bowles, Frank Cliffe, Michael
Beaney, Alan Boyden, James Collick, Percy
Bence, Cyril Brockway, A. Fenner Corbet, Mrs. Freda
Bennett, J. (Glasgow, Bridgeton) Broughton, Dr. A. D. D. Craddock, George (Bradford, S.)
Cronin, John Jones, Elwyn (West Ham, S.) Reynolds, G. W.
Crosland, Anthony Jones, Jack (Rotherham) Rhodes, H.
Cullen, Mrs. Alice Kelley, Richard Robertson, John (Paisley)
Davies, C. Elfed (Rhondda, E.) Kenyon, Clifford Robinson, Kenneth (St. Pancras, N.)
Davies, Harold (Leek) Key, Rt. Hon. C. W. Rogers, G. H. R. (Kensington, N.)
Davies, Ifor (Gower) King, Dr. Horace Ross, William
Davies, S. O. (Merthyr) Lawson, George Royle, Charles (Salford, West)
Deer, George Ledger, Ron Shinwell, Rt. Hon. E.
Delargy, Hugh Lever, L. M. (Ardwick) Silverman, Julius (Aston)
Dempsey, James Lewis, Arthur (West Ham, N.) Skeffington, Arthur
Diamond, John Lipton, Marcus Slater, Mrs. Harriet (Stoke, N.)
Dodds, Norman Loughlin, Charles Slater, Joseph (Sedgefield)
Donnelly, Desmond Mabon, Dr. J. Dickson Small, William
Driberg, Tom MacColl, James Smith, Ellis (Stoke, S.)
Ede, Rt. Hon. C. MacDermot, Niall Sorensen, R. W.
Edwards, Robert (Bilston) McInnes, James Soskice, Rt. Hon. Sir Frank
Edwards, Walter (Stepney) McKay, John (Wallsend) Spriggs, Leslie
Evans, Albert Mackie, John (Enfield, East) Steele, Thomas
Fernyhough, E. McLeavy, Frank Stewart, Michael (Fulham)
Finch, Harold MacMillan, Malcolm (Western Isles) Stonehouse, John
Fitch, Alan MacPherson, Malcolm (Stirling) Stones, William
Fletcher, Eric Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg) Strachey, Rt. Hon. John
Foot, Dingle (Ipswich) Mallalieu, J. P. W. (Huddersfield, E.) Strauss, Rt. Hn. G. R. (Vauxhall)
Foot, Michael (Ebbw Vale) Marsh, Richard Stross, Dr. Barnett (Stoke-on-Trent, C.)
Forman, J. C. Mason, Roy Swain, Thomas
Fraser, Thomas (Hamilton) Mayhew, Christopher Taverne, D.
Gaitskell, Rt. Hon. Hugh Mellish, R. J. Taylor, Bernard (Mansfield)
Galpern, Sir Myer Mendelson, J. J. Thomas, Iorwerth (Rhondda, W.)
George, Lady Megan Lloyd (Crmrthn) Millan, Bruce Thompson, Dr. Alan (Dunfermline)
Ginsburg, David Milne, Edward Thomson, G. M. (Dundee, E.)
Gooch, E. G. Mitchison, G. R.
Gordon Walker, Rt. Hon. P. C. Monslow, Walter Thornton, Ernest
Gourlay, Harry Moody, A. S. Timmons, John
Greenwood, Anthony Noel-Baker, Rt. Hn. Philip (Derby, S.) Tomney, Frank
Grey, Charles Oliver, G. H. Wainwright, Edwin
Griffiths, David (Rother Valley) Oram, A. E. Warbey, William
Griffiths, W. (Exchange) Oswald, Thomas Weitzman, David
Gunter, Ray Padley, W. E. Wells, Percy (Faversham)
Hall, Rt. Hn. Glenvil (Colne Valley) Paget, R. T. White, Mrs. Eirene
Hamilton, William (West Fife) Pannell, Charles (Leeds, W.) Whitlock, William
Harper, Joseph Pargiter, C. A. Wigg, George
Hart, Mrs. Judith Parker, John Wilkins, W. A.
Hayman, F. H. Paton, John Willey, Frederick
Herbison, Miss Margaret Pavitt, Laurence Williams, D. J. (Neath)
Hewitson, Capt. M. Pearson, Arthur (Pontypridd) Williams, W. R. (Openshaw)
Hill, J. (Midlothian) Peart, Frederick Williams, W. T. (Warrington)
Hilton, A. V. Pentland, Norman Willis, E. G. (Edinburgh, E.)
Holman, Percy Plummer, Sir Leslie Wilson, Rt. Hon. Harold (Huyton)
Houghton, Douglas Popplewell, Ernest Winterbottom, R. E.
Hoy, James H. Prentice, R. E. Woof, Robert
Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayrshire) Price, J. T. (Westhoughton) Wyatt, Woodrow
Hunter, A. E. Probert, Arthur Yates, Victor (Ladywood)
Irving, Sydney (Dartford) Proctor, W. T. Zilliacus, K.
Janner, Sir Barnett Pursey, Cmdr. Harry
Jay, Rt. Hon. Douglas Randall, Harry TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Jenkins, Roy (Stechford) Rankin, John Mr. Charles A. Howell and
Johnson, Carol (Lewisham, S.) Redhead, E. C. Mr. McCann.
Jones, Dan (Burnley) Reid, William

Bill read a Second time.

Motion made, and Question put, That the Bill be committed to a Committee of the whole House.—[Mr. Bowden.]

The House divided: Ayes 195, Noes 277.

Division No. 180.] AYES [10.9 p.m.
Abse, Leo Boyden, James Davies, Harold (Leek)
Ainsley, William Brockway, A. Fenner Davies, Ifor (Gower)
Albu, Austen Broughton, Dr. A. D. D. Davies, S. O. (Merthyr)
Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.) Brown, Rt. Hon. George (Belper) Deer, George
Allen, Scholefield (Crewe) Brown, Thomas (Ince) Delargy, Hugh
Awbery, Stan Butler, Herbert (Hackney, C.) Dempsey, James
Baxter, William (Stirlingshire, W.) Butler, Mrs. Joyce (Wood Green) Diamond, John
Beaney, Alan Castle, Mrs. Barbara Dodds, Norman
Bence, Cyril Chapman, Donald Donnelly, Desmond
Bennett, J. (Glasgow, Bridgeton) Cliffe, Michael Driberg, Tom
Benson, Sir George Collick, Percy Ede, Rt. Hon. C.
Blackburn, F. Corbel, Mrs. Freda Edwards, Robert (Bilston)
Blyton, William Craddock, George (Bradford, S.) Edwards, Walter (Stepney)
Boardman, H. Cronin, John Evans, Albert
Bottomley, Rt. Hon. A. G. Crosland, Anthony Fernyhough, E.
Bowden, Rt. Hn. H. W. (Leics. S. W.) Cullen, Mrs. Alice Finch, Harold
Bowles, Frank Davies, G. Elfed (Rhondda, E.) Fitch, Alan
Fletcher, Eric Mabon, Dr. J. Dickson Rogers, G. H. R. (Kensington, N.)
Foot, Dingle (Ipswich) MacColl, James Ross, William
Foot, Michael (Ebbw Vale) MacDermot, Niall Royle, Charles (Salford, West)
Forman, J. C. McInnes, James Silverman, Julius (Aston)
Fraser, Thomas (Hamilton) McKay, John (Wallsend) Skeffington, Arthur
Gaitskell, Rt. Hon. Hugh Mackie, John (Enfield, East) Slater, Mrs. Harriet (Stoke, N.)
Galpern, Sir Myer McLeavy, Frank Slater, Joseph (Sedgefield)
George, Lady Megan Lloyd (Crmrthn) MacMillan, Malcolm (Western Isles) Small, William
Ginsburg, David MacPherson, Malcolm (Stirling) Smith, Ellis (Stoke, S.)
Gooch, E. G. Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg) Sorensen, R. W.
Gordon Walker, Rt. Hon. P. C. Mallalieu, J. P. W. (Huddersfield, E.) Soskice, Rt. Hon. Sir Frank
Gourlay, Harry Marsh, Richard Spriggs, Leslie
Greenwood, Anthony Mason, Roy Steele, Thomas
Grey, Charles Mayhew, Christopher Stewart, Michael (Fulham)
Griffiths, David (Rother Valley) Mellish, R. J. Stonehouse, John
Griffiths, W. (Exchange) Mendelson, J. J. Stones, William
Gunter, Ray Millan, Bruce Strachey, Rt. Hon. John
Hall, Rt. Hn. Glenvil (Colne Valley) Milne, Edward Strauss, Rt. Hn. G. R. (Vauxhall)
Hamilton, William (West Fife) Mitchison, G. R. Stross, Dr. Barnett (Stoke-on-Trent, C.)
Harper, Joseph Monslow, Walter Swain, Thomas
Hart, Mrs. Judith Moody, A. S. Taverne, D.
Hayman, F. H. Noel-Baker, Rt. Hn. Philip (Derby, S.) Taylor, Bernard (Mansfield)
Herbison, Miss Margaret Oliver, G. H. Thomas, Iorwerth (Rhondda, W.)
Hewitson, Capt. M. Oram, A. E. Thompson, Dr. Alan (Dunfermline)
Hill, J. (Midlothian) Oswald, Thomas Thomson, G. M. (Dundee, E.)
Hilton, A. V. Padley, W. E. Thornton, Ernest
Holman, Percy Paget, R. T. Timmons, John
Houghton, Douglas Pannell, Charles (Leeds, W.) Tomney, Frank
Hoy, James H. Pargiter, G. A. Wainwright, Edwin
Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayrshire) Parker, John Warbey, William
Hunter, A. E. Pavitt, Laurence Weitzman, David
Irving, Sydney (Dartford) Pearson, Frank (Clitheroe) Wells, Percy (Faversham)
Janner, Sir Barnett Peart, Frederick Whitlock, William
Jay, Rt. Hon. Douglas Pentland, Norman Wigg, George
Jenkins, Roy (Stechford) Plummer, Sir Leslie Wilkins, W. A.
Johnson, Carol (Lewisham, S.) Popplewell, Ernest Willey, Frederick
Jones, Dan (Burnley) Prentice, R. E. Williams, D. J. (Neath)
Jones, Elwyn (West Ham, S.) Price, J. T. (Westhoughton) Williams, W. R. (Openshaw)
Jones, Jack (Rotherham) Probert, Arthur Williams, W. T. (Warrington)
Kelley, Richard Proctor, W. T. Willis, E. G. (Edinburgh, E.)
Kenyon, Clifford Pursey, Cmdr. Harry Wilson, Rt. Hon. Harold (Huyton)
Key, Rt. Hon. C. W. Randall, Harry Winterbottom, R. E.
King, Dr. Horace Rankin, John Woof Robert
Lawson, George Redhead, E. C. Wyatt, Woodrow
Ledger, Ron Reid, William Yates, Victor (Ladywood)
Lever, L. M. (Ardwick) Reynolds, G. W. Zilliacus, K.
Lewis, Arthur (West Ham, N.) Rhodes, H.
Lipton, Marcus Robertson, John (Paisley) TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Loughlin, Charles Robinson, Kenneth (St. Pancras, N.) Mr. Charles A. Howell and
Mr. McCann.
Aitken, W. T. Bullus, Wing Commander Eric Deedes, W. F.
Allason, James Burden, F. A. Donaldson, Cmdr. C. E. M.
Amery, Rt. Hon. Julian Butcher, Sir Herbert Doughty, Charles
Arbuthnot, John Campbell Sir David (Belfast, S.) du Cann, Edward
Ashton, Sir Hubert Campbell, Gordon (Moray & Nairn) Duncan, Sir James
Atkins, Humphrey Carr, Compton (Barons Court) Eden, John
Barber, Anthony Carr, Robert (Mitcham) Elliot, Capt. Walter (Carshalton)
Barlow, Sir John Cary, Sir Robert Emery, Peter
Barter, John Channon, H. P. G. Emmet, Hon. Mrs. Evelyn
Batsford, Brian Chataway, Christopher Errington, Sir Eric
Baxter, Sir Beverley (Southgate) Chichester-Clark, R. Farey-Jones, F. W.
Beamish, Col. Sir Tufton Clark, Henry (Antrim, N.) Farr, John
Bell, Ronald Clark, William (Nottingham, S.) Finlay, Graeme
Bennett, F. M. (Torquay) Clarke, Brig. Terence (Portsmth, W.) Fisher, Nigel
Bennett, Dr. Reginald (Gos & Fhm) Cleaver, Leonard Fletcher-Cooke, Charles
Bevins, Rt. Hon. Reginald Cole, Norman Forrest, George
Bidgood, John C. Collard, Richard Foster, John
Biffen, John Cooke, Robert Fraser, Ian (Plymouth, Sutton)
Bingham, R. M. Cooper, A. E. Gammans, Lady
Birch, Rt. Hon. Nigel Cooper-Key, Sir Neill Gardner, Edward
Bishop, F. P. Cordeaux, Lt.-Col. J. K. Gibson-Watt, David
Black, Sir Cyril Garfield, F. V. Gilmour, Sir John
Bossom, Clive Costain, A. P. Glover, Sir Douglas
Bourne-Arton, A. Coulston, Michael Glyn, Dr. Alan (Clapham)
Box, Donald Courtney, Cdr. Anthony Glyn, Sir Richard (Dorset, N.)
Boyle, Sir Edward Craddock, Sir Beresford Goodhart, Philip
Braine, Bernard Critchley, Julian Gough, Frederick
Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col. Sir Walter Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. Sir Oliver Grant, Rt. Hon. William
Brooman-White, R. Curran, Charles Grant-Ferris, Wg. Cdr. R.
Brown, Alan (Tottenham) Currie, G. B. H. Green, Alan
Browne, Percy (Torrington) Dalkeith, Earl of Gresham Cooke, R.
Buck, Antony Dance, James Grimond, Rt. Hon. J.
Bullard, Denys d'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Sir Henry Grosvenor, Lt.-Col. R. G.
Hall, John (Wycombe) McLaren, Martin Robinson, Rt. Hn. Sir R. (B'pool, S.)
Hamilton, Michael (Wellingborough) McLaughlin, Mrs. Patricia Robson Brown, Sir William
Hare, Rt. Hon. John Maclean, Sir Fitzroy (Bute & N. Ayrs.) Rodgers, John (Sevenoaks)
Harris, Frederic (Croydon, N. W.) Macleod, Rt. Hn. Iain (Enfield, W.) Roots, William
Harris, Reader (Heston) MacLeod, John (Ross & Cromarty) Bonner, Col. Sir Leonard
Harrison, Col. Sir Harwood (Eye) McMaster, Stanley R. Royle, Anthony (Richmond, Surrey)
Harvey, Sir Arthur Vere (Macclesf'd) Macmillan, Maurice (Halifax) Russell, Ronald
Harvey, John (Waithamstow, E.) Macpherson, Niall (Dumfries) Scott-Hopkins, James
Hastings, Stephen Maddan, Martin Seymour, Leslie
Hay, John Maginnis, John E. Sharples, Richard
Heald, Rt. Hon. Sir Lionel Manningham-Buller, Rt. Hn. Sir R. Shaw, M.
Henderson, John (Cathcart) Markham, Major Sir Frank Skeet, T. H. H.
Hendry, Forbes Marlowe, Anthony Smith, Dudley (Br'ntf'd & Chiswick)
Hicks Beach, Maj. W. Marshall, Douglas Smithers, Peter
Hiley, Joseph Marten, Neil Spearman, Sir Alexander
Hirst, Geoffrey Mathew, Robert (Honiton) Stanley, Hon. Richard
Hobson, Sir John Matthews, Gordon (Meriden) Stodart, J. A.
Hocking, Philip N. Mawby, Ray Storey, Sir Samuel
Holland, Philip Maxwell-Hyslop, R. J. Studholme, Sir Henry
Hollingworth, John Maydon, Lt.-Cmdr. S. L. C. Summers, Sir Spencer
Hopkins, Alan Mills, Stratton Talbot, John E.
Hornby, R. P. Miscampbell, Norman Tapsell, Peter
Hornsby-Smith, Rt. Hon. Dame P. Montgomery, Fergus Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne)
Howard, Hon. G. R. (St. Ives) More, Jasper (Ludlow) Taylor, Edwin (Bolton, E.)
Howard, John (Southampton, Test) Morgan, William Taylor, Frank (M'ch'st'r, Moss Side)
Hughes Hallett, Vice-Admiral John Mott-Radcliffe, Sir Charles Taylor, W. J. (Bradford, N.)
Hughes-Young, Michael Nabarro, Gerald Teeling, Sir William
Hulbert, Sir Norman Neave, Airey Temple, John M.
Hurd, Sir Anthony Nicholson, Sir Godfrey Thatcher, Mrs. Margaret
Iremonger, T. L. Oakshott, Sir Hendrie Thomas, Leslie (Canterbury)
Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye) Orr, Capt. L. P. S. Thompson, Kenneth (Walton)
James, David Orr-Ewing, C. Ian Thorneycroft, Rt. Hon. Peter
Jennings, J. C. Osborn, John (Hallam) Thornton-Kemsley, Sir Colin
Johnson, Dr. Donald (Carlisle) Page, Graham (Crosby) Touche, Rt. Hon. Sir Gordon
Johnson, Eric (Blackley) Page, John (Harrow, West) Turner, Colin
Jones, Rt. Hn. Aubrey (Hall Green) Pannell, Norman (Kirkdale) Tweedsmuir, Lady
Joseph, Sir Keith Pearson, Frank (Clitheroe) van Straubenzee, W. R.
Kerans, Cdr. J. S. Peel, John Vane, W. M. F.
Kerby, Capt. Henry Percival, Ian Vaughan-Morgan, Rt. Hon. Sir John
Kerr, Sir Hamilton Peyton, John Vickers, Miss Joan
Kershaw, Anthony Pickthorn, Sir Kenneth Vosper, Rt. Hon. Dennis
Kimball, Marcus Pike, Miss Mervyn Walder, David
Kirk, Peter Pilkington, Sir Richard Walker, Peter
Kitson, Timothy Pitman, Sir James Walker-Smith, Rt. Hon. Sir Derek
Lagden, Godfrey Pitt, Miss Edith Ward, Dame Irene
Lambton, Viscount Pott, Percivall Watkinson, Rt. Hon. Harold
Lancaster, Col. C. G. Powell, Rt. Hon. J. Enoch Webster, David
Leather, E. H. C. Price, David (Eastleigh) Wells, John (Maidstone)
Legge-Bourke, Sir Harry Prior, J. M. L. Williams, Dudley (Exeter)
Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland) Prior-Palmer, Brig. Sir Otto Williams, Paul (Sunderland, S.)
Lilley, F. J. P. Profumo, Rt. Hon. John Wills, Sir Gerald (Bridgewater)
Lindsay, Sir Martin Proudfoot, Wilfred Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)
Litchfield, Capt. John Pym, Francis Wise, R. A.
Lloyd, Rt. Hn. Geoffrey (Sut'nC'dfield) Quennell, Miss J. M. Wolrige-Gordon, Patrick
Longden, Gilbert Rawlinson, Peter Wood, Rt. Hon. Richard
Loveys, Walter H. Redmayne, Rt. Hon. Martin Woollam, John
Lucas, Sir Jocelyn Rees-Davies, W. R. Worsley, Marcus
Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh Ridley, Hon. Nicholas Yates, William (The Wrekin)
McAdden, Stephen Ridsdale, Julian
MacArthur, Ian Rippon, Geoffrey TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Mr. J. E. B. Hill and Mr. Whitelaw.
Bill committed to a Standing Committee pursuant to Standing Order No. 38 (Committal of Bills).