HL Deb 07 July 1887 vol 317 cc11-4

Order of the Day for resuming the adjourned debate on the Amendment to the Motion for the House to be put into Committee read.

Debate resumed accordingly.


said, that when this Bill was before the House on the last occasion he was afraid it was not sufficiently understood that this Bill had been fully considered by the other House, and as the Bill was passing through the other House, a large number of Amendments had been introduced by the Home Office, with a view to meet the objections which had been made against it. He was now able to state that most of the objections which had been raised during the previous debate had, he believed, been met, and that two small Amendments had been agreed to between the Lord Chancellor and the Promoters of the Bill, which, he thought, satisfied the objections raised by the noble and learned Lord on the last occasion. He trusted they would fulfil the desired purpose in a satisfactory manner, and that their Lordships would now consent to go into Committee.


said, although the whole of his objections had not been fully met by the Amendments which had been made, yet he would not any further oppose the Motion for going into Committee, though it was with some misgiving that he assented; because he believed the Bill went very much further and had a much wider application than the necessity of the case demanded. He understood that there were a great many dangerous quarries in and about the Forest of Dean, and it was to meet such a state of things that the Bill was designed. But the width of the language of the Bill, as amended, appeared to him to be of a somewhat serious character. Many of their Lordships were acquainted with the slate quarries of Wales, and if the Bill were passed in its present shape the owners of those quarries would be obliged to withdraw the permission, now freely given to visitors, to see the picturesque parts of the mountains, for it was proposed in the Bill that places not now considered dangerous must be "reasonably fenced," whatever that might mean. The authors of the Bill could have hardly any idea of the extent to which the Bill went.

On Question, "That ('now') stand part of the Motion?"

Resolved in the affirmative.

House in Committee accordingly.

Clauses 1 and 2 severally agreed to.

Clause 3 (Fencing of quarries).

Amendment moved, in page 1, line 11, after ("unenclosed land") to leave out ("or is").—(The Earl Brownlow.)


said, that if the Bill simply provided that a pit, or quarry, or opening, which was so near the highway that it constituted a danger should be fenced, he should have no objection. But what he understood it to propose was, that a pit, or quarry, or opening, should be fenced although it was such a distance from the highway that a person must be a wilful trespasser if he came to any harm. This was a most unreasonable provision, which would put owners of pits and quarries to the expense of erecting thousands of miles of fencing, although no earthly injury could occur to any person who did not go trespassing.


said, he would remind their Lordships that Parliament had already passed legislation of this description. By the 41st section of the Coal Mines Regulation Act, it was made in offence not to fence a disused coal pit, even though the pit might be on private land. That was a much stronger measure than the one now before their Lordships, which had been dictated by considerations similar to those connected with the section of the Mines Regulation Act to which he had referred. Beside that, the question of human life was not to be lightly dealt with. The public were perfectly powerless in this matter, for they could not be expected to have dangerous quarries fenced up. When persons passed along a highway, if there was an open quarry in a dangerous proximity, it was but right that the public should have a short and simple remedy against the owner. That was all he contended for.


said, the Bill was a good Bill, and a well drawn Bill. It was monstrous that persons should be allowed to lay traps for their neighbours by leaving their quarries unfenced.


said, that the clause, as it was worded, would include chalk cliffs, and adjoining proprietors might be required under its provisions to fence the Coast of Kent. Such a provision, therefore, might be a very serious matter.


said, that whilst he could not complain of the criticisms of the noble and learned Lord, he must point out that the position was somewhat peculiar, and that not only had the Bill received the support of several Members of Her Majesty's Government, amongst others, a letter had been written on behalf of the noble Viscount opposite (Viscount Cross) to say that he would be glad to assist in passing the Bill through that House. He hoped his noble Friend would now help to give him the warm support he had promised.

Amendment agreed to.

Further Amendment made in page 1, line 13, by substituting the word ("reasonably") for the word ("securely").

Clause, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 4 (Interpretation).

On the Motion of The Marquess o f SALISBURY, the following Amendment made:—In page 1, line 20, add the words("but not any natural opening").


said, he wanted to know what would happen if a quarry got tilled with water, and became a pond? It was quite as likely that a harmless trespasser would get into a pond as into a quarry.

Clause, as amended, agreed to.

Remaining Clause agreed to.

The Report of the Amendments to be received To-morrow; and Bill to be printed, as amended. (No. 160.)