HC Deb 18 July 1963 vol 681 cc811-4
Mr. Corfield

I beg to move, in page 3, line 17, after "and", to insert: subject to the following provisions of this section". Perhaps it would be convenient to consider at the same time the following Amendments: In page 3, line 23; in page 4, line 3; in Clause 9, page 8, line 19; in page 8, line 33; in page 8, line 44; in Clause 133, page 126, line 41; in page 127, line 2; and, in Schedule 2, page 133, line 17.

I would like now to raise a point with you on the last Amendment, Mr. Speaker, in page 133, line 17, leave out from "authority" to "and" in line 20 and to insert: to whom the functions of that river board are transferred by virtue of section 5 of this Act". As it appears on the Notice Paper, it is not as it should be. We have put forward a manuscript alternative, and with your permission, Sir, I would like to substitute that.

Mr. Speaker

I will approve of these Amendments being discussed together if the House so pleases. With regard to the manuscript Amendment, my position would be this: I have seen it and have approved of it. I would be willing to accept it if, and only if, there is no objection in any part of the House to my doing so in these circumstances. As I hear no objection, then in due course let it be accepted.

Mr. Corfield

I am obliged to you, Mr. Speaker, and to hon. Members opposite for their co-operation. I am sure that they appreciate that part of the trouble arises from the great number of times we have endeavoured to meet questions raised by hon. Members on both sides of the House.

The background to this series of Amendments is that we must make abundantly clear to the river authorities exactly what are their seaward boundaries. I am grateful to my hon. Friend the Member for the City of Chester (Mr. Temple) who pursued this matter in Committee—as, indeed, did the hon. and gallant Member for Kingston upon Hull. East (Commander Pursey)—because we were under a slight misapprehension in taking as the model river boards which had boundaries for fishery and drainage purposes.

7.30 p.m.

Of course, for these purposes these boundaries do not normally have to be as precise as where a charging scheme operates, when it is clearly of the utmost importance to people to know which side of the line they are on. A new Schedule has been set down to enable the Minister by order to make quite clear, where there is any doubt, what are the seaward boundaries. We are thinking rather of the stretches across estuaries and the mouths of creeks, and areas of that sort, which are not defined for land drainage purposes in the existing river board areas. This is the sole purpose. These are purely administrative orders. There will be opportunities for hearing objections and considering them, and there will also be an opportunity for making quite certain if there is any difference as to the exact boundary of responsibilities, where, for instance, two river authorities abut on either side of the same estuary. I hope that the House will accept this series of Amendments, which are purely machinery, to put right something which we realisedwas wrong but found rather more complicated to put right than we expected.

Commander Harry Pursey (Kingston upon Hull, East)

I want to be clear that I am not losing my opportunity to discuss Amendment No. 110, the new Schedule. Perhaps the Parliamentary Secretary can tell me whether that is included in this series. I have no wish to say anything if it is not.

Mr. Corfield

No, it is not included.

Mr. Michael Stewart (Fulham)

Is the hon. Gentleman to say something later about the effect of the manuscript Amendment? I have studied both the original and the manuscript Amendment, and I am not quite sure what the difference is.

Mr. Corfield

This is purely a question of drafting and there is no intention to alter the apparent meaning. To some extent I am in the same position as the hon. Member. I think that the meaning of the two Amendments is clear. It is only at the last moment that I was told that there was a legal flaw which, I am assured, has now been put right.

Amendment agreed to.

Mr. Corfield

I beg to move, in page 3, line 19, to leave out "or parts thereof".

This Amendment deletes words which were accepted in Standing Committee in order that there should be no restric- tion on debates on Amendments to Schedule 1, but they were accepted on the understanding that if consequential Amendments to Schedule 1 were not accepted—and they were not—these words would be withdrawn. That is what the Amendment does.

Amendment agreed to.

Further Amendments made: In page 3, line 23, leave out "under" and insert: by virtue of this section, or of section 10 of".

In page 4, line 3, at end insert: for the purposes of the functions of river boards relating to land drainage. (7) The provisions of Schedule (Seaward boundaries of river authority areas) to this Act shall have effect for the purposes of this section".—[Mr. Corfield.]