HC Deb 18 July 1963 vol 681 cc814-6
Sir K. Joseph

I beg to move, in page 5, line 6, at the end to insert: generally or as being qualified in respect of the protection of land against erosion or encroachment by the sea or any other particular aspects of land drainage". This makes plain that appointments of land drainage members to river authorities may be of persons qualified in respect of flooding from the sea or any other particular aspect of land drainage. It is in response to an undertaking which I gave, to the hon. and gallant Member for Kingston upon Hull, East (Commander Pursey) in Standing Committee.

Commander Pursey

I wish to thank the Minister for this addition to the Bill. Can we be assured that while we understand erosion and encroachment, this includes flooding, as he put it, by sea inundation? In other words, will the new river authorities be responsible for flooding which we understand as flooding, in addition to what we understand by this horizontal erosion or encroachment, which might be only a minor matter whereas sea inundation, known in Hull as flooding, is major flooding? If the right hon. Gentleman could say another word on that and make it clear that there is no question but that erosion or encroachment by the sea does include major flooding, I should be grateful.

Mr. Denys Bullard (King's Lynn)

I should like my right hon. Friend to give a further insurance. The Amendment would make the land drainage members of the river authorities qualify either on land drainage grounds generally or in accordance with the special qualifications. The Association of Drainage Authorities, which is concerned with inland drainage problems more than with sea problems or problems of flood protection, would very much like to be assured that when members with this new qualification are added to the river authorities, its representation, which in some river areas is very important, will not be reduced. Will there be any provision for increasing representation of inland drainage authorities when some special appointment is made on the lines of the Amendment?

Sir K. Joseph

The answer to the hon. and gallant Member for Kingston upon Hull, East is that protection against flooding is one of the transferred functions connected with land drainage which will be the responsibility of the river authorities, so I can give him a categorical assurance in answer to his question.

The reply to my hon. Friend the Member for King's Lynn (Mr. Bullard) is that power is given to the Ministers concerned, in the original consultations which must go on before river authorities are set up, to increase the number of members in special cases.

Amendment agreed to.

Sir K. Joseph

I beg to move, in page 5, line 20, to leave out "relating to that subject" and to insert: which relate to that subject as it affects the area of the river authority". This Amendment complies with an undertaking which I gave in Committee to the effect that wherever possible the members qualified for appointment should have any necessary experience and relevant expertise of the area concerned.

Dr. Stross

I think it was to myself that the Minister very kindly gave this assurance. The words which he now proposes are ideal and rather better than those which I proposed to the Standing Committee.

I may not be staying until the House rises tonight, and for that I apologise, but I should like to say now that we have had many promises from the Minister and the Parliamentary Secretary, sometimes extracted, sometimes freely offered, but I have never known a Minister and his Parliamentary Secretary keep their word to the extent shown on the Amendment Paper today. I am sure that we are all grateful that on every problem, whether it was pollution or any other, if we had anything reasonable to put forward, our reward has come on the Amendment Paper today. I pay my tribute to the Minister and his colleague.

Amendment agreed to.