§ Order of the Day for the Second Reading read.
§ THE EARL OF DUDLEY
My Lords, The object of this Bill is to simplify the arrangements under which Provisional Orders are granted by the Board of Trade under the Electric Lighting Acts, and also under which Confirming Bills are submitted to both Houses of Parliament. At the present time sixty or seventy Provisional Orders are granted every year by the Board of Trade under the Electric Lighting Acts, and in each of these Orders there are eighty or ninety clauses, many of which are absolutely identical in terms. That entails a considerable amount of expense to the promoters, and it also entails an enormous amount of labour to the printers, who have to reprint in each case clauses which are identical. We therefore propose by this Bill to consolidate all those clauses in one Bill, exactly in the same way as in the case of railways, tramways, gas, and other matters. We hope that this will not only have the advantage to which I have referred, but that it will also safeguard us from errors which may take place in the printing, and which are very difficult to detect in Bills containing so many clauses. Our proposal will not in any way stereotype the Bills, because the Board of Trade will have power in every case to vary them according to their discretion.
§ Moved, "That the Bill be now read.2a." (The Earl of Dudley.)
THE CHAIRMAN OF COMMITTEES (The Earl of MORLEY)
I am extremely glad, my Lords, that this Bill has been brought in. It will save a great deal of trouble and unnecessary labour; but I should like to call my noble friend's attention to one point. I am not going to move any Amendment, but I would suggest to my noble friend that, in dealing with Electric Lighting Orders which have not been put into operation, it would be an improvement, instead of saying that the Board of Trade should revoke such Orders, that they should lapse within a given time if nothing is done, unless the Board of Trade see fit to give an extension of time. At present local authorities 621 very often obtain Provisional Orders without any intention of really carrying them into effect, but merely to occupy the field and so prevent anyone else coming in. If my suggestion is adopted, it will bring the procedure in connection with Electric Lighting Bills into exactly the same form as railway and other private procedure Bills.
§ THE EARL OF DUDLEY
I can assure my noble friend that the point he has raised is one which the Board of Trade will take into serious consideration, and to which they will give every attention. We have already done something in the direction suggested by the noble Earl. Last November we communicated with all the electric lighting companies who had had Orders for three years and upwards, and who had not fulfilled their statutory requirements, and warned them that, if those requirements were not carried out immediately, we should put into force the powers of revocation which we possess. I believe the effect of that warning has been to bring those companies up to a much higher point of activity, and we propose to adopt the same course every year.
§ On Question, agreed to.