HC Deb 17 February 1970 vol 796 cc305-6
Dr. Dickson Mabon

I beg to move Amendment No. 41, in page 16, line 17, at end insert— (2) If the person referred to in the foregoing subsection fails to cause an obstruction or excavation to be properly fenced and, during the hours of darkness, to be properly lighted, the highway authority may cause the obstruction or excavation to be properly fenced and, during the hours of darkness, to be properly lighted, and recover the expenses reasonably incurred by them in so doing from that person. May I suggest that we discuss with this Amendment Amendment No. 42.

Mr. Deputy Speaker (Mr. Sydney Irving)

Yes, if that is to the convenience of the House.

Dr. Mabon

In Committee, the Opposition tabled Amendments to enable a highway authority to fence and light an obstruction or excavation which had been left unfenced or unlighted and to recover the expenses from the person responsible for failing to do so. The Under-Secretary of State accepted the Amendments in principle and promised that Government Amendments would be put down on Report to cover the point. The new subsection proposed by the Amendment I have moved is in keeping with provisions of a similar type in the Bill, in Clauses 18(1) 23(2) or 24(4) giving the highway authority residual powers to remedy dangerous conditions. The second Amendment is a consequential drafting Amendment.

Mr. Monro

I thank the Minister of State for putting forward this Amendment, which entirely meets the point which I raised in Committee. It will certainly be welcomed by local authorities, which may—I do not say more than may—sometimes have to put up lights on obstructions and will now have a right to recover the expenses. I hope the Minister of State will consider whether we should add something on these lines to Clause 18. Perhaps in another place it might be considered whether it is necessary to have the same provisions for a local authority to recover expenses, but I do not press that at the moment.

Mr. George Younger (Ayr)

Before we leave this Amendment, I draw attention to two further points. I hope that the Minister of State noticed that in Committee his hon. Friend who was conducting the Government's case in his absence kindly said that he would look into the whole question of the definition of "the hours of darkness" and whether this was perfectly good for modern conditions. I hope that the Minister of State will bear this in mind and write to me telling me the result of those investigations.

Perhaps also in another place, or by writing, the Government can let us know their latest thinking concerning the adequacy of lighting of cars which have been stopped on the roads for one reason or another and are causing obstruction. I had personal experience recently of inadequacy of the normal lighting at the rear of cars stopped under modern driving conditions. I should like the hon. Gentleman to let us know his thinking particularly on the question of the need for flashing lights to be on cars left on the road in these circumstances. It is not enough for them to have reflectors showing and nothing else.

Dr. Dickson Mabon

I shall certainly look at this point in relation to Clause 18 and without commitment see if anything is necessary. I will write to the hon. Member about the first matter he mentioned. I shall have to think about the second matter. I will consider it and see if anything should be done.

Amendment agreed to.

Further Amendment made: No. 42, in line 18, leave out 'the foregoing subsection' and insert 'subsection (1) of this section'.—[Dr. Dickson Mahon.]

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