HL Deb 23 June 1898 vol 59 cc1175-7

Order for Second Reading read.


My Lords, I beg to ask your Lordships to give a Second Reading to this Bill, which comes from the other House. It has been considered there for two Sessions of Parliament, and has been promoted by gentlemen who are most fully conversant with the rather difficult and complicated subject of the use of the highways by traction engines. The Bill, I must inform, your Lordships, does not touch light locomotives at all; it only deals with heavy traction engines. The Bill was founded upon the Report of the Select Committee of the other House of Parliament on the use of traction engines en highways. It contains provisions of considerable detail, which, I think, will be far more conveniently dealt with in Committee than on the Second Reading. Speaking generally, I would say the Bill endeavours to protect the ratepayers and the authorities that have the responsibility of dealing with highways from any unnecessary damage by traction engines, and at the same time it endeavours to remove certain difficulties which stand in the way of the use of traction engines, especially by providing means whereby there should be uniform by-laws for traction engines over the areas of different local authorities. I do not think it would be advisable on the present occasion for me to go any further into the particular intentions of the Bill, leaving, as I said before, the discussion of the details to take place in Committee. If any noble Lord should suggest an Amendment to be considered in Committee, I should be very happy to give the best consideration in my power to any such suggestion. I beg to move that this Bill be read a second time. I should like to fix the Committee for this day week.


I presume there is a limit to the weight of the engine?


Yes, but power is given to local authorities to increase that limit in specific cases.


My Lords, whilst this Bill was before the Select Committee of the House of Commons it was carefully watched by the Local Government Board. Certain Amendments which they thought necessary were introduced in the Bill, and it was to some extent assisted by the Local Government Board in its passage through Select Committees. Subject to the consideration of any other Amendment that may be suggested, either in Committee of the whole House or in Standing Committee, the Local Government Board is disposed to think that it might pass. It alters to some extent the weight which traction engines may now carry, increasing the weight slightly. On the other hand, it limits the number of waggons that may be drawn behind a traction engine. It empowers counties and boroughs of 10,000 and upwards to make by-laws for this traffic, which will have to be submitted to the Local Government Board, who are to take care that these by-laws are of a fairly similar character in the different counties. It also fixes a minimum fee which may be charged in one county, and a minimum fee which may be charged where a traction engine works in two or more counties. Those are the principal provisions of the Bill. It has been very carefully considered in the Select Committee; and, as I have said, the Local Government Board are of opinion that the Bill might pass its Second Reading.


I would ask my noble Friend, as this is not a Government Bill, whether the provision for four persons to attend to any locomotive is new, or whether it was in the old law. I hope those noble Lords who are familiar with rural matters will examine the Bill with care.


I am sorry I cannot answer the question of the noble Marquess. I will take care to have the answer when the Bill is in Committee.

Question put.

Bill read a second time, and committed to a Committee of the whole House on Thursday next.