Page 5, line 12, at end insert:
("(4) No restrictions specified in paragraph (b) of subsection (1) of Section two of this Act and in force under subsection (1) or subsection (2) of that section shall apply to the erection of advertisements as defined by the Advertisements Regulations Acts, 1907 and 1925.")
§ THE EARL OF PLYMOUTH
My Lords, this Amendment requires a little explanation. The point is this, that the Advertisements Regulations Acts, 1907 and 1925, give powers to local authorities, who are defined for this purpose asthe Common Council of the City of London the council of any municipal borough in England, the town council of 1031 any Royal, Parliamentary or Police Burgh in Scotland, the urban district council of any urban district in England, with a population of over 10,000; and elsewhere, the county council,to make by-laws relating to advertising hoardings and for regulating the exhibition of advertisements, and in these circumstances it is felt that the existing powers in regard to this matter are ample.
§ Moved, That this House doth agree with the Commons in the said Amendment.—(The Earl of Plymouth.)
§ LORD HASTINGS
My Lords, I am afraid I regard this as the most unfortunate of the Commons Amendments. It affects a very big matter of public policy. I have read carefully the Report of the debate on the subject in Standing Committee in another place, and I readily admit that the law as it now stands does accord to local authorities a fairly complete jurisdiction over advertisements and advertisement hoardings, but there are one or two points which arise from that. It is clear either that the local authorities are in the main unaware of their powers, or that for their own good reasons they do not wish to exercise them, for, however distasteful to the public ribbon development of the roads is, the ribbon development of advertisement hoardings to be seen on the approach to any town is fundamentally more unsatisfactory than the houses. It would really appear most mischievous that in spite of powers of an obvious and easily worked kind there should be these particularly venomous demonstrations which we see every day when we travel on the road.
I find it very difficult to understand how the Minister, or why the Minister, accepted this remarkable Amendment, for it had the effect of removing completely the restriction under the Bill of these advertisement hoardings. I regret very much that my noble friend Lord Crawford is not here, for I am wondering what his society, the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to England—I should say for the Preservation of Rural England—would have to say, because surely that society would be up in arms at the removal of the advertisement industry from all control exercisable under this Bill. I do not propose to divide the House on the matter because perhaps the point is not of sufficient importance 1032 to justify such action, but at the same time I deeply regret it and I think the country as a whole will deeply regret it when it finds that advertisements to which they object so strongly are irremovable in spite of the fact that there are certain powers to take action.
I wonder if I might suggest a course to other landowners. For many years past I have had a stringent clause in all my tenancy agreements which absolutely vetoes the display of advertisements or the erection of advertisement hoardings of any kind whatsoever, and it causes no hardship because when a man signs his name he knows what he is undertaking. It has had a most desirable effect and wherever I have jurisdiction no advertisement will be seen. If landowners throughout the country would take simillar action it would be more effective than any other action.
THE EARL OF RADNOR
My Lords, I do not know whether at this stage one can do anything about it, but I do heartily endorse what Lord Hastings has said. These Amendments have arrived so late that there has not been time to consider them, and they are so numerous that a good deal of time is required; but, as I understand it, this is being taken out of the Bill because there is already provision elsewhere which enables local authorities to take necessary action, although it is quite obvious to anybody who travels along the roads that they do not take action. The genesis of this matter was the failure of the local authorities to take action under the Town and Country Planning Act and here in this Bill, obviously produced because of the reason I have given, is a reaction in exactly the opposite direction, leaving the local authorities with powers of which they have made no use. I take it that to divide the House if we were successful would mean that there would be no time for the Bill to go back to the other House and be sent back here, and that therefore the desirable parts of the Bill would be much longer delayed. Therefore one's hands are tied, but I think we ought to voice our protest.
§ LORD CRANWORTH
My Lords, I cannot quite agree that all local authorities have made no use of their powers. I know one county council which has made complete and ample use and I hope 1033 my noble friend will use his influence with his own county council to do the same.
§ On Question, Motion agreed to.