HC Deb 18 July 1963 vol 681 cc871-3
Mr. C. Hughes

I beg to move, in page 119, line 33, to leave out from "Board" to "to".

Mr. Deputy-Speaker

With which I think that we might discuss the next Amendment.

Mr. Hughes

This is a complicated matter, but I shall endeavour to be brief. There was a discussion in Standing Committee on this subject.

It being Ten o'clock, further consideration of the Bill, as amended, stood adjourned.

Proceedings on the Water Resources Bill [Lords] exempted, this day's Sitting, from the provisions of Standing Order No. 1 (Sittings of the House).—[Sir K. Joseph.]

Bill, as amended (in the Standing Committee and on recommittal), further considered.

Mr. C. Hughes

Subsection(1) of this Clause provides for the making of Ministerial Orders not to the inland waterways to which the Clause is to apply, but to those to which it is not to apply. This, I would think, was quite wrong. The waterways which are to enjoy preferential treatment should be clearly denned. As things stand under the wording of the Clause, they are left entirely to deduction. If the river authorities wanted to object to an Order under this Clause, they would be in serious difficulty because their objections would not be related to the canals named in the Order, but to those not so named.

In a previous discussion on this subject, the right hon. Gentleman said that the valley or improved river canals are fewer in number than the artificial contour canals and are more easily definable by name. The argument then put forward was that full descriptions of the artificial canals to which the special provisions are to apply would be complex and difficult. He then referred to Schedule 2 of the British Transport Commission Act, 1962. This Schedule gives a list of certain canals which were due for closure. I submit that this is not a fair indication of the problem.

The navigations which are listed for closure are only parts of canals. Again some of the navigations listed in Schedule 2 of the 1962 Act are natural waterways, and it seems to me that there should be no reason to think that accurate descriptions of natural waterways would be likely to prove less difficult than descriptions of artificial canals. I would ask the Minister in the light of that—I have tried to meet the arguments that he made before—to look at this again, because I think that the Amendment would remove a considerable difficulty and the complaint which is now being made by the River Boards Association.

Sir K. Joseph

I have looked at this again since our discussion in Standing Committee. I know it seems contrary to list in this way, but we are taking the safer course. We are listing those which have identifiable names, and we are, therefore, leaving all those which cannot be definitely listed because they have no identifiable names.

I appreciate the concern of the hon. Member for Anglesey (Mr. C. Hughes). I accept that this is not the normal way of going about things. But, on reconsideration, I am satisfied that this is the way that is most likely to avoid any doubt. I hope that the hon. Gentleman will accept my assurance and not press his Amendment.

Mr. C. Hughes

This is really an Alice-in-Wonderland affair, but in view of what the Minister has just said, I will not press the Amendment. I beg to ask leave to withdraw the Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Mr. Corfield

I beg to move, in page 121, line 6, after "29" to insert "section 41".

May we take the next Amendment with this one, Mr. Deputy-Speaker?

Mr. Deputy-Speaker

Yes, if the House so wishes.

Mr. Corfield

The Amendments are linked. They arise from the fact that Clause 129(4) provides that where before the end of the initial period the British Waterways Board enters into a contract to sell water from a canal to which the Clause relates, or, as a result of an application made before the end of the initial period, the Minister of Transport grants a consent under section 63 of the Transport Act 1962, the river authority must grant the Board a licence containing provisions as near as possible to the terms of the contract. In recognition of this, subsection (5) excludes from application to these cases the provisions of Part IV of the Bill relating to advertisements, consultations, considerations as to minimum acceptable flow, and so on, on the basis that these licences are virtually licences of right.

Following the insertion into the Bill in Committee of Clause 41 and the insertion earlier today of the new Clause with regard to fishing rights, neither of which applies to licences of right, it is necessary to extend subsection (5) to exclude those two references also. It is also necessary to exclude Clause 49(2), which does not apply to licences of right. That is the purport of the two Amendments.

Amendment agreed to.

Further Amendment made: In page 121, line 8, leave out from "subsection" to end of line 11 and insert: and—

  1. (a) section 49(2) of this Act shall not apply to any direction given in consequence of an appeal against the decision on such an application, and
  2. (b) section (Application by owner of fishing rights for revocation or variation of licence) of this Act shall not apply to any licence granted in pursuance of such an application",—[Mr. Corfield.]