§ Amendments reported (according to Order).
§ Clause 1:
§ Transfer of trunk roads to Minister of Transport.
§ (3) If the Minister is satisfied that it is expedient to construct a new road or improve any road with a view to superseding any part of a trunk road by the creation of a new route for through traffic, he may after serving upon the council of every county within whose area the part of the trunk road to be superseded, or the route which is to supersede it, is situated, notice of his intention to do so, and, after considering any representation made by any such council within three months after service of the said notice, and after holding such local inquiry, if any, as he thinks fit, make an order providing that—
- (a) upon such date as may be specified in the order, the route which is to supersede the part of the trunk road shall, by virtue of this Act, become a trunk road; and
- (b) upon the first day of April next following the date on which the Minister serves upon the councils aforesaid notice that the said route is ready to be used for the purposes of through traffic, the part of the trunk road to be so superseded as aforesaid shall become a county road.
§ THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR AIR (VISCOUNT SWINTON) moved Amendments to subsection (3)—to leave out "such" ["such local inquiry"] and insert "a," to leave out "any, as" and, after "fit," to insert "to do so or if a request therefor is made by any such council within three months and not withdrawn." The noble Viscount said: My Lords, the Amendments in the form in which they are now being moved carry out the undertaking I gave to the House on an Amendment moved, I think, by the noble Lord, Lord Saltoun. We agreed that it was undesirable that the Minister should be forced to hold an inquiry if he and the county were in complete agreement after their negotiations, but there was a general desire that if the county and the Minister were not in agreement the Minister should not make his order until he had held a public inquiry. I undertook to put down Amendments which would give effect to that. 955 That would be the regular practice which I am sure the Minister would wish to pursue and the Amendments now moved give effect to it.
I am very much obliged to my noble friend Lord Amulree who drew my attention to the fact that if the Amendments were moved in the form in which they stood on the Paper the Minister would actually be precluded from granting an inquiry where a county borough or a district council, who might have a considerable interest in a by-pass, had raised objections to the proposal but the county had not interested itself in the matter. Obviously we do not wish to take away the discretion to grant an inquiry where some local authority other than the county council says that an inquiry is desirable and the Amendments now moved safeguard that. The part of the subsection affected, if these Amendments are made, would read in this way:
… after holding a local inquiry, if he thinks fit to do so or if a request therefor is made by any such council within three months and not withdrawn.…
In that form the subsection would safeguard what the noble Lord, Lord Amulree, quite rightly wanted to safeguard and also completely meets the undertaking that I gave to the House.
Page 2, line 9, leave out ("such") and insert ("a"), leave out ("any, as") and after ("fit") insert ("to do so or if a request therefor is made by any such council within three months and not withdrawn").—(Viscount Swinton).
§ LORD AMULREE
My Lords, I am much obliged to the noble Viscount. When I saw the Amendments on the Paper it appeared to me that the point which has been mentioned by the noble Viscount had been overlooked. The clause as it stood in the Bill meant that the local inquiry must be held in the discretion of the Minister, and it was proposed by the Amendments on the Paper that the inquiry should be held only at the instance of the county council. By the Amendments in their new form the other authorities mentioned are included. I am much obliged to the noble Viscount for meeting the suggestion which I made.
My Lords, I also should like to thank the noble Viscount sincerely for the frank way he met me in this matter, and also the noble Lord, 956 Lord Amulree, for helping to get the Amendments carried.
§ On Question, Amendments agreed to.
§ Clause 6:
§ Miscellaneous provisions as to functions connection, with trunk roads.
§ (5) The Minister may cause to be placed on or near any road in the vicinity of a trunk road such traffic signs as are in his opinion necessary for the control of traffic entering or leaving the trunk road, and may enter any land and exercise such other powers as may be necessary for that purpose.
§ LORD DARCY (DE KNAYTH) moved, in subsection (5), to leave out the second "any" and insert "upon." The noble Lord said: My Lords, this is merely a question of drafting. The idea is that the expression "any land," giving a lower to enter on any land, is unnecessarily wide, and we are anxious to get id of the word "any" in order that the power of entry on land should be limited to such entry as is necessary for the purpose. I think that is all anybody requires.
Page 11, line 19, leave out ("any") and insert ("upon").—(Lord Darcy (de Knayth).)
§ VISCOUNT SWINTON
My Lords, no one wants to take a power to enter on Lind which is not necessary for the purpose, but really this would not help us in drafting because land has not been mentioned before:The Minister may cause to be placed on o near any road in the vicinity of a trunk road such traffic signs as are in his opinion necessary for the control of traffic entering or leaving the trunk road, and he may enter on any land …Land has not been mentioned before. Obviously the land is land you require to enter upon in order to place the sign on or near the trunk road, and the words that are used here exactly follow Section 48 of the Road Traffic Act, 1930, under which, when the Minister has to do certain things about highways and bridges, he may enter on land and exercise such powers as may be necessary. I think we should be creating difficulties for ourselves and the Courts if we used different words where exactly the same sort of power is required. I think the drafting as it stands is right. I have looked into it with the draftsman.
LORD DARCY (DE KNAYTH)
My Lords, I am much obliged to the noble Viscount and in view of what he has said will withdraw my Amendment.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Clause 12:
§ Application to Scotland.
§ (6) Save as provided in Section forty-three of the Roads and Bridges (Scotland) Act, 1878, no appeal shall lie from any decision of the Minister or of any authority acting as his agent in relation to a trunk road.
VISCOUNT SWINTON moved to leave out subsection (6) and insert:
(6) No appeal shall lie under Section one hundred and thirty-two of the Burgh Police (Scotland) Act, 1892, against any terms or conditions arranged by the Minister which he declares to be necessary for the purpose of securing the safety of persons using the trunk road or of preventing interference with traffic on the road.
The noble Viscount said: My Lords, perhaps it would be convenient and shorten discussion if I am allowed to make a few observations on this Amendment and a whole chain of Amendments which follow in my name on the Paper. I gave the House an undertaking that we would reserve the right of appeal to Quarter Sessions in a number of cases, most of them raised by my noble friend Viscount Bertie, but hat the Minister—I think the House entirely agrees with this—must be the authority to decide what conditions are necessary in the interests of safety and for the efficient conduct of the progress of traffic along the trunk roads. The Amendments to the Schedules which are on the Paper deal with the appeal to Quarter Sessions. They exempt from the right of appeal:
terms or conditions attached by the Minister to a consent given by him under the said Section twenty-five, being terms or conditions which he declares to be necessary for the purpose of securing the safety of persons using the trunk road or of preventing interference with traffic on the road.
It is essential that where safety and the progress of traffic are concerned the Minister should be the judge, but otherwise appeal is given against any refusal. The Amendment which I row move deals with a point which did not occur to any of us in the debate in Committee. It is a necessary Amendment because if we left the Bill without it a right of appeal would
be given in England but not in Scotland. I am sure that none of my noble friends would wish Scotland to be left out of the scope of our generosity in this respect.
Page 16, line 7, leave out subsection (6) and insert the said new subsection.—(Viscount Swinton.)
§ VISCOUNT BERTIE OF THAME
My Lords, in thanking my noble friend for the great care he has taken to give effect to some suggestions I made in the Committee stage I hope I may be allowed, without being thought to be presumptuous, to tell him how very much many noble Lords on this side of the House, including myself, appreciate the very masterly, and at the same time the very conciliatory, way in which he has piloted this Bill through the House.
§ On Question, Amendment agreed to.
§ Clause 13:
13.—(1) in this Act, unless the context otherwise requires, the following expressions have the meanings hereby respectively assigned to them, that is to say:—
Improvement" has the same meaning as in Part II of the Development and Road Improvement Funds Act, 1909;
§ LORD RANKEILLOUR moved a manuscript Amendment to add to the interpretation of "improvement" the words "as amended by any subsequent Act." The noble Lord said: My Lords, I must apologise for not having put this Amendment on the Paper, but I do not think the Bill was reprinted yesterday and I did not know in which line these words should be inserted. This Amendment deals with a point which is already familiar to the noble Viscount. I wish these words to be added in the interests of a clear interpretation and clear understanding of this Bill by those concerned, including of course local authorities. As the Bill is at present drafted the clerk to a council, if he wants to get the matter right, will look up Part II of the Act of 1909 and will probably feel satisfied, whereas subsection (3) of this clause tells him that no reference to any Act must be taken as it stands but that he must see if any subsequent enactment has altered it. That is an appalling task, but if in a particular case his attention is directed to the Act of 1909 it will limit 959 his range of inquiry and he will probably be able in some text book on roads to find out what subsequent amendments have taken place. It is really in the interests of easy interpretation of the Act that I venture to suggest that these words should be added. I know that my noble friend has had an arduous task on this Bill, and I cannot expect him to accept this Amendment at the moment, but there is another stage and I hope he will give this matter further attention before the Third Reading of the Bill.
Page 20, line 13, at the end insert ("as amended by any subsequent Act").—(Lord Bankeillour.)
§ VISCOUNT SWINTON
My Lords, I can answer my noble friend at once. I appreciate his desire to make this Bill a little plainer to any clerk who may have to read it. Having had to master it myself I can fully sympathise with his difficulties. I am advised, however, that what my noble friend wants to do would not in fact make it plainer but would cast considerable doubt. If we made this amendment I understand that we should have to recast a good many clauses in the Bill. If my noble friend looks at subsection (3) of this clause he will see that it reads:Except where the context otherwise requires, references in this Act to any enactment or to any provision of any enactment shall be construed as references to that enactment or provision as amended by any subsequent enactment including this Act.It so happens that in a whole host of Acts Parliament has dealt with roads.
They were dealt with in the Local Government Act, 1929, in another Act of 1930, and in the Restriction of Ribbon Development Act, 1935. There have been various Amendments made by various Statutes since the Act of 1909 was passed. There are, I think, three or four added kinds of improvement in various Acts. We really should not be making the task of the clerk any easier by adding these words in this place. It might even raise some doubt as to whether "improvement" was to have a different kind of construction from that which it would appear to have on reading subsection (3). I think we must assume that any intelligent clerk will read subsection (3) if he reads Clause 13 at all, and will realise that he has got to construe this Act as 960 if it were one with all the principal Acts and the amending Acts. The only way in which we can simplify this matter is a way which the Minister has under consideration, and that is to produce a complete Consolidation Act embodying all highway legislation, so that one gets, I will not say a plain, but at any rate a complete, presentment of the whole of the law. I think it would be a mistake to attempt to do it on a manuscript Amendment to this Bill.
§ LORD RANKEILLOUR
My Lords, I realise that my noble friend is in a bog of such depth and magnitude that no amount of expert floundering will get him out of it at this moment, but I hope that tae next time he is in charge of a Bill he will be able to have a word with the draftsman beforehand. This is a Bill of tie most extreme difficulty, not only for clerks but for any one to construe. I welcome the idea of a Consolidation Bill. It will no doubt save the officials of local authorities many a headache. I do not press the Amendment.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Third Schedule:
§ Amendments moved—
§ Page 38, in the second column, leave out lines 26 to 31.
§ Page 38, in the second column, leave out lines 41 and 42 and insert ("terms or conditions attached by the Minister to a consent given by him under the said Section twenty-five, being terms or conditions which he declares to be necessary for the purpose of securing the safety of persons using the trunk road or of preventing interference with traffic on the road ")
§ Page 39, in the second column, leave out lines 8 to 10 and insert ("any terms or conditions attached by the Minister to a licence granted by him under the said Section twenty-seven, being terms or conditions which he declares to be necessary for the purpose of securing the safety of persons using the trunk road or of preventing interference with traffic on the road")
§ Page 41, in the second column, leave out lines 26 to 34.
§ Page 41, in the first column, line 35, leave out ("Subsection (1) of")
§ Page 41, in the second column, line 36, insert ("Subsection (2) shall not apply, and in subsection (3) for the words to a petty sessional court within fourteen days after the service of such notice' there shall be 961 substituted the words 'in manner provided by the Summary Jurisdiction Acts to a Court of Quarter Sessions '").—(Viscount Swinton.)
§ On Question, Amendments agreed to.
§ Fourth Schedule:
Page 44, line 7, leave out paragraph 6.—(Viscount Swinton.)
§ On Question, Amendment agreed to.
§ Then, Standing Order No. XXXIX having been suspended, Bill read 3a with the Amendments and passed, and returned to the Commons.