§ Amendments reported (according to Order).
§ Clause 1:
§ Power of local authorities to acquire, &c., existing ferries.
§ 1.—(1) A county council may, with the consent of the Local Government Board, purchase or accept the transfer of, and the owner of any existing ferry may sell or transfer to a county council, upon such terms as may be agreed on between the owner and the council, any existing ferry which is within the area of that council or which serves the inhabitants of that area.621
§ (2) Subject to the provisions of any Act of Parliament under which the ferry was established and to the rights of any other persons, the county council may work, maintain, and improve the ferry and charge such tolls as were legally chargeable in respect of the ferry before the sale or transfer thereof to the council, or such other tolls as the council, with the approval of the Local Government Board, may determine; or, with the approval of the Local Government Board, the council may, if they think fit, free the ferries from tolls, and shall have the rights and powers which the owner of the ferry possessed and shall be subject to the obligations and liabilities to which he was subject.
§ (3) A county council may join with any other county council for the purchase or acceptance, working, maintenance, or improvement of a ferry under this Act, or may contribute towards the expenses of the purchase or acceptance, working, maintenance, or improvement of a ferry by another county council.
§ (4) In this Act the expression "existing ferry" means any ferry legally established by Act of Parliament or otherwise at the date of the purchase or transfer, and includes all boats and other vessels, landing stages, approaches, apparatus, plant, and other property used in connexion with the ferry.
§ (6) A county council may, if they consider that any expenses incurred by them under this Act in respect of any ferry not being for the purpose of a main road should, instead of being charged upon the whole county, be to an amount not exceeding one half specially charged on any parish or parishes in their county, charge those expenses upon that parish or those parishes as special expenses; and where any expenses are so charged as special expenses, any receipts in respect of the ferry shall be carried to a special county account for the benefit of the parish or parishes upon which the expenses are charged.
§ (7) Section eighty-seven of the Local Government Act, 1888, which provides for local inquiries, shall apply to any cases where the Local Government Board are authorised to give any consent or approval under this Act as it applies to cases where the Local Government Board are authorised to give any consent or approval under the Local Government Act, 1888.
§ (8) In this Act, the expression "county council" includes the council of a county borough, and the council of a county borough shall have the same power of borrowing for the purposes of this Act as they have under the Public Health Acts, 1875 to 1908, for the purpose of defraying any expenses incurred by them in the execution of those Acts.
§ *VISCOUNT GALWAY moved, in subsection (6), after the word "county" ["be to an amount not exceeding one half specially charged on any parish or parishes in their county"], to insert the words "specially benefited by that ferry," and to omit from the subsection the words "and where any expenses are so charged as special expenses, any receipts in respect of the ferry shall be carried to a special county account for the benefit of the parish 622 or parishes upon which the expenses are charged."
§ The noble Viscount said: Your Lordships will see that as amended in Committee subsection (6) of Clause 1 reads that in any case where a county council chooses to put some portion of the charge on the different parishes most benefited by the ferry, the whole of the proceeds of the ferry would go to those parishes. This was not intended, and after consultation with the Local Government Board I have put two Amendments on the Paper. The effect of these will be that before the county council decide what portion of the expenses should be charged on any parish or parishes benefiting from the ferry the whole of the receipts from the ferry will be placed in account against the expenses, and it would be from the balance against the receipts that the county council would consider about the charge on the parish or parishes. I beg to move.
§ Amendments moved—
§ Clause 1, page 2, line 14, after ("county") insert ("specially benefited by that ferry")
§ Clause 1, page 2, line 15, leave out from ("expenses") where it first occurs to the end of the subsection.—(Viscount Galway.)
§ On Question, Amendments agreed to.
§ Clause 2:
§ Protection of General Public.
§ 2. In the case of every ferry acquired under this Act regulations with regard to the working may be made by the Board of Trade for the protection from injury of passengers and the general public.
§ THE EARL OF GRANARD
In Committee the noble Earl, Lord Russell, moved an Amendment, which I accepted, making the Board of Trade the authority to make regulations with regard to ferries. It has since been pointed out to me that the county council would be the better body to do this, and would be more conversant with the needs of the locality. Therefore I propose to substitute "county council" for "Board of Trade," and by a subsequent Amendment to make the Board of Trade the confirming authority.
Clause 2, page 2, line 33, leave out ("Board of Trade") and insert ("County Council").—(The Earl of Granard.)
The noble Earl who has moved this Amendment has not done me the honour to consult me on the subject, and therefore I have not had an opportunity 623 of discussing with him its exact effect. I am not sure whether the noble Earl and the Board of Trade have exactly understood what the object of my Amendment was, because the Amendment which is moved to-day fails to secure the object at which I aimed. I ventured to say, in moving my Amendment in Committee, that its object was to secure the safety of the general public and the safety of passengers on these ferries, and to some extent the persons against whom the public need to be protected are the owners of the ferries. The noble Earl's Amendment would give the power to make regulations for this purpose to the county council, who may be the very people who require to be looked after in the interests of the public. The noble Earl says that county councils are more conversant with the needs of the locality. This is not a question of the needs of the locality. It is a question of the safety of the public in regard to the mode of working these ferries. Clause 2, as it reads now, gives the power to make these regulations to the Board of Trade, who are an independent body and not interested in working the ferries in an economical—which may be a dangerous—way, but are able to take their own line in the matter. I suggest that the noble Earl should withdraw this Amendment now and allow me to discuss the matter with him and see whether he cannot agree with me in attaining the object I bad in view—namely, the protection of the public. If this Amendment is inserted to-day the public will be in no way protected in the case of a county council which is careless or indifferent. It may be said that no county council would be careless or indifferent, but it sometimes happens that when public works are managed by committees they are inclined to have regard more to economical working than to the safety of the public, and it may very well happen that they might fail in the case of these ferries to make such regulations as are necessary. The noble Earl in this Amendment reserves no power whatever to the Board of Trade to make regulations if the county council do not themselves make them. He has left it to the county council to make the regulations, and all that the Board of Trade can do is, if the regulations are made, to approve of them. I hope the matter will be considered further, because the clause as now proposed to be amended would be quite illusory for the protection of the public.
§ THE EARL OF GRANARD
I quite understand the noble Earl's point. The Board of Trade are not wedded to the deletion of these words. But I would point out that in most Acts of Parliament the county council is the authority which makes the regulations and the Board of Trade is the confirming authority. In the circumstances, however, I am quite ready to withdraw the Amendment to-day, and we can consider the point again on Third Reading if necessary.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Bill to be read 3a To-morrow, and to be printed as amended. (No. 24.)