§ Order of the Day for the Second Reading read.
My Lords, I do not propose to detain your Lordships over this Bill, but I would like to remind you that a similar Bill came before your Lordships' House before the war, and would have become law but for a blocking Motion in the House of Commons. I might also say that this is a purely voluntary Bill. Clause 1 enables county councils to purchase or accept the transfer of existing ferries. Sub-section (2) is an important one to my mind, because it enables county councils to work, maintain, and improve ferries. No doubt in these days it is very important that the best facilities should be provided for crossing rivers, and the county councils are able to do it. I should also like to point out that if a ferry boat goes down to the bottom there is no power 551 to compel a landowner to put a fresh boat on the river. It is also very important in some cases for agriculture that there should be good access to both sides of the river. The assent of the Local Government Board is provided for, and the protection of the public and passengers from injury is dealt with in Clause 2. I may be told that as there is a Bill for a variety of transport services in another place it is inexpedient to bring this measure forward, but I hold strongly that as that Bill is not yet law, and this is a matter where local knowledge is required, and the local bodies are the proper persons to deal with it, it would be greatly to the convenience of the public and to the benefit of agriculture that this Bill should be passed.
§ Moved, That the Bill be now read 2a.—(Viscount Galway.)
§ LORD SOMERLEYTON
My Lords, I want to say one word with regard to this Bill, as it affects to some extent the Board of Trade, which I have the honour to represent here. The noble Viscount is a great authority on county council work, and has already given an account of the Bill. Therefore it is unnecessary for me to go through it. I only have to say that the Board of Trade do not wish in any way to raise the smallest objection to the Bill; and personally I should like to express my own sympathy with the noble Viscount in the matter.
§ VISCOUNT SANDHURST
I should like to say that the Local Government Board have no objection to the Bill, either.
§ On Question, Bill read 2a, and committed to a Committee of the Whole House.