HL Deb 30 January 1961 vol 228 cc3-88

2.37 p.m.

Order of the Day for the House to be again in Committee read.

Moved, That the House do now resolve itself into Committee.℄(Lord Brecon.)

On Question, Motion agreed to.

House in Committee accordingly.

[The LORD MERTHYR in the Chair.]

Clauses 39 to 41 agreed to.

Clause 42 [Forecourts abutting on streets]:


I beg to move the first Amendment on today's Marshalled List. It is essentially a drafting Amendment and is designed to make even clearer what is in fact already the effect of the proviso to Clause 42, subsection (2). Clause 42 as a whole deals with forecourts. Subsection (1) deals with dangers, obstructions and inconveniences, and enables local authorities to require the owner or occupier of a forecourt to fence the forecourt or, inter alia, to remove anything on the forecourt which could be a source of danger, obstruction or inconvenience to the public.

Subsection (2), which has a different object in mind, enables a local authority to require the removal or alteration of a stall or other erection on a forecourt which is an eyesore or, in the words of the clause, "injurious to the amenities of the street". The proviso to subsection (2) provides that this power shall not apply to any stall or other erection which has been in position since the date on which this Bill was introduced on November 10 last. I am advised that the wording of the proviso already fulfils the object in mind℄to exempt stalls which were erected before the crucial date and which have remained in position ever since℄but the additional words now proposed will make this doubly clear. I beg to move.

Amendment moved℄ Page 31, line 35, at beginning insert (" at all times ").℄(Lord Brecon.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

On Question, Whether Clause 42, as amended, shall be agreed to?


Before the noble Lords puts the clause, I should like to make one or two remarks, largely with a view to obtaining an expression of opinion from the Minister responsible. This clause has given rise to a certain amount of interest among local authorities, and particularly as regards one of the local authority organisations; and it is not felt that the clause at the moment is sufficiently strong. Perhaps the noble Lord will be able to set my doubts at rest. He has explained the object of the clause, which is in two parts. The first part is concerned to enable the local authority to require an owner or occupier of a forecourt to fence it from the street when that is necessary℄when something has been put outside for sale purposes, or something of that kind, which forms an obstruction or danger or inconvenience to the public. The experience of some of the local authorities that have been attempting to deal with this problem is that quite a small fence, of 12 or perhaps 18 inches high, is sufficient to deal with this problem and is the most satisfactory way of doing it. The clause as it stands at the moment is very vague, and we should like the Minister to indicate what is in the mind of the Department as to the proper way of dealing with this part of the problem.

The second subsection, again as the noble Lord explained, relates to erections on forecourts, such as stalls, which may be injurious to the amenities of the street. This is a rather different point, of course, from the question of danger, obstruction or something of that kind. Many of the local authorities feel that the strongest objection to these erections on forecourts from the amenity point of view arises in relation to vending machines℄which, as your Lordships will have noticed, have become very common during the last few years. They are used a great deal after the closing hours of the shops. These machines seem hardly to be caught by the words in subsection (2) as it stands, because it would obviously be possible to contend that a vending machine is not caught by the word "stall". If that is so, if this fear is a valid one, it seems that one of the main objectives of this clause will not be achieved. It would appear that something rather more definite in the nature of a specific power to the local authorities to get rid of these machines should be included. I should very much like to know what the noble Lord feels on this particular part of the clause and what the policy of the Department will be; and also whether they are satisfied that the words which the clause already contains are adequate to handle the problem of these machines.


I am advised that the words that have been inserted here are sufficient to meet the needs. But after what the noble Lord has said, I think that had better say that I will have a look at this point before Report stage, and I will reply to him on that occasion.


I am very grateful to the noble Lord.

Clause 42, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 43 [Urgent repairs to private streets]:


This is a simple, straightforward Amendment designed to empower local authorities to defray, subject to certain limitations as to amount, the cost of urgent repairs to private streets. The Amendment would, in effect, bring the clause into line with model clause No. 34. It seems desirable that the local authorities should have these powers in order that urgent minor repairs may be carried out to private streets without delay. There seems no reason for departing from the model clause, and I therefore beg to move.

Amendment moved℄ Page 32, line 11, at end insert (" and may themselves pay the cost of the repairs out of the general rate fund: Provided that the cost of the repairs executed in any street in any period of three consecutive years under this section shall not exceed fifty pounds for each one hundred yards of the length of the street.")℄(Lord Broughshane.)


As I understand it, the Amendment moved by the noble Lord, Lord Broughshane, has two objects. The first one is to provide expressly that the expenditure of the street works authority under this clause might℄not "must" ℄fall on the general rate fund. The Amendment proposes to insert the words of the model clause No. 34, but those words are inappropriate in the Bill for two reasons. First, the model clause is drafted solely in terms of municipal corporations which have a general rate fund. The clause applies to all street works authorities, an expression which includes county councils who have a county fund, not a general rate fund. Secondly, under the Local Government Act, 1933, all expenditure of a local authority must be paid out of the appropriate general rate fund or county fund. It would therefore be wrong to include words in the clause to suggest that the local authority has a discretion in the matter. For these reasons, the proviso was deliberately omitted when the clause was drafted.

The second object of the Amendment is to place a limit on the expenditure of the street works authority on any given stretch of road (not more than £50 for each 100 yards of the street in any period of three consecutive years). The model clause contemplates a limit of this kind, but leaves a blank Where the actual amount is to be inserted. In practice, the limit inserted tin recent local Acts has varied widely from £10 to £75 per 100 yards. In the Somerset County Council Act, 1960, the 'proviso was omitted altogether, and this course has been followed in the Bill. It seems reasonable to leave it to the council's discretion. A financial limit on the power to deal with danger in streets seems undesirable. If thoroughgoing works (other than urgent repairs) are needed, the council still have the powers of Section 204 of the Highways Act, 1959, and the possibility that a council under this clause might carry out major works of reconstruction is very remote. In the case of authorities subject to district audit, the improper use of these powers would certainly be challenged. I cannot recommend that the Committee accept this Amendment.


I thank the noble Lord for his very full statement. In view of what he has said as regards the powers contained in the Highways Act, I beg leave to withdraw my Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 43 agreed to.

Clauses 44 to 46 agreed to.

Clause 47:

Refuse and litter bins

47.℄(1) Subject to the provisions of this section, a county council, local authority or parish council may provide and maintain in any street or public place receptacles for refuse or litter.

(3) In any place where a receptacle for refuse or litter has been provided or maintained under this section or under section one hundred and fifty-six of the Highways Act, 1959, the county council, local authority or parish council may put up notices about the leaving of refuse and litter, and for that purpose may, subject to the provisions of this section, erect and maintain notice boards.

LORD BRECON moved to add to subsection (1): Provided that a county council's powers under this subsection shall not be exercisable in a borough or urban district.

The noble Lord said: Clause 47 of the Bill is based on powers contained in a number of local Acts, though they have not been made into a model clause, and its main purpose is to give county councils and parish councils wider powers to provide litter baskets in streets and public places. This power is already given to borough, urban and rural district councils by Section 76 (1) of the Public Health Act, 1936; but this section does not extend to other types of authority. County councils have power to provide litter bins only in connection with highways for which they are the highway authority, or in parks under their control; parish councils may provide litter baskets only in parks and open spaces which they own or manage.

The precedents in local Acts and the passing of the Litter Act, 1958, suggest that wider powers to provide litter bins would be desirable, especially in rural areas. The clause as drafted goes a little too far, however. It has been represented that there is no need for county councils to have concurrent powers with borough and urban district councils, and this Amendment limits the extent of the clause in a way desired by the local authority associations concerned. The effect of the Amendment of the clause is that county councils could place litter bins on all highways for which they are responsible, including classified roads in boroughs and urban districts. Borough and urban district councils will have the power to put baskets in other public places within their districts, but the extra powers given by the clause to county councils and parish councils will be confined to the rural areas and the countryside. I beg to move.

Amendment moved℄ Page 33. line 40, at end insert the said proviso.℄(Lord Brecon.)

On Question. Amendment agreed to.

2.49 p.m.

LORD CONESFORD moved, after subsection (2) to insert: () The regular emptying mentioned in the last preceding subsection shall be sufficiently frequent to ensure that no such receptacle or the contents thereof shall become a nuisance or give reasonable ground for complaint.

The noble Lord said: Clause 47 has the excellent intention of lessening the nuisance of litter. Unless, however, some amendment is made, I think there is a real danger that, in some cases, it will have the paradoxical effect of actually increasing that nuisance. Let me remind the Committee that leaving litter is a criminal offence under Section 1 of the Litter Act, 1958. Of course, it is no defence whatever that no receptacle has been provided to receive it. Neither in law nor in equity nor in common sense does the absence of a receptacle provide the slightest excuse to anyone for leaving litter. If anyone brings anything into the open, either in his car, in his rucksack, in his pocket or in any other were there is no reason whatever why he should not take it away with him again instead of leaving it as litter.

If no receptacle is provided, there is some hope of most people behaving and of the minority of offenders 'being punished under the existing law. If, however. a receptacle is provided, it will be taken as a reason for not removing the litter, and unless such a receptacle is frequently emptied the bin and its contents can become an offence to eye and note. and even a threat to public health, when such things as the remains of food are left to rot in the receptacle. Further, if the place is a place to which great numbers resort and a single receptacle is filled to overflowing, the public will simply deposit their litter in the open near the receptacle instead of making any attempt to take it away.

Needless to say, I do not put these arguments forward as an argument for saying that receptacles for litter cannot perform a very useful function, provided that they are cleared sufficiently often; but if they are not cleared sufficiently often, then it is much better that they should not be provided at all, for the reasons which I have given. The words already in the clause say: It shall he the duty of a county council, local authority or parish council to make arrangements for the regular emptying and cleansing of any receptacles…

I am suggesting that regular emptying is not sufficient; the emptying must also be sufficiently frequent, and that is the object of my Amendment, which says: The regular emptying mentioned in the last preceding subsection shall be sufficiently frequent to ensure that no such receptacle or the contents thereof shall become a nuisance or give reasonable ground for complaint.

The purpose of my Amendment is not simply to cast an additional burden on local authorities. It is to remind local authorities that, unless they can provide for daily clearing, receptacles might actually increase the nuisance which they are intended to prevent. Either the local authority must clear the receptacles sufficiently often to prevent the receptacles themselves from becoming nuisances or they will take such words as I am proposing to insert in the clause as a notice that, if they cannot provide for this frequent emptying, they had better not provide a receptacle at all. I beg to move.

Amendment moved℄ Page 34. line 5, at end insert the said subsection.℄(Lord Conesford.)


My Lords, I had not intended to speak on this Amendment, but I should like to support very strongly the noble Lord, Lord Conesford. I imagine that many of us are able to give specific instances of where this sort of thing happens. I will take up only a few seconds of your Lordships' time to relate my own experiences in the Lake District where, at a very beautiful but hitherto not much visited lake in Wasdale, these bins have been put up for receiving rubbish. These receptacles are not emptied and it has fallen upon the conscience of the people living there to take time off from their work℄I would particularly refer to instructors of the Outward Bound Mountaineering School℄and go round in their own cars with dustbins to tidy up the mess, purely for the sake of the amenity of the country and under no obligation, because the point which the noble Lord has mentioned has not been brought into force. Therefore I should like to strongly support his Amendment.


My Lords, I should like to add that this is not peculiar to Wasdale. Certainly in Langdale there was one of these receptacles, which was a crying source of nuisance and about which comments were going all over the Lake District, and there was a similar abuse either in Borrowdale or at Buttermere, although I would not like to trust my memory about which. I strongly support this very valuable Amendment and hope that the Government will accept it.


I also should like to support this Amendment. But it is not necessary to go as far as the Lake country to see the abuse or misuse of these receptacles about which noble Lords have spoken. One has only to go, on the admittedly rare fine weekends, into London's parks in order to see litter littered to an extent which is indescribable, horrible and unspeakable, and, I think, not to be found anywhere else in this country or in the world. I would, however, make one minor criticism of the noble Lord's Amendment. I could wish that it not only provided for regular and timely clearance of receptacles, but also for receptacles of adequate size. This seems to me to be also extremely important. But I support the noble Lord's Amendment so far as it goes.


I, too, support the Amendment of my noble friend, and should like to take the opportunity of asking the Minister whether it would not be possible to insert something at the next stage to ensure that these receptacles are provided with lids, some of which could be hinged and some removable. Those receptacles fitted to lampposts and other supports in the streets could possibly be fitted with hinged lids, as in Paris, where there is a slot in the lid for people wishing to deposit a cigarette box or something like that, and it is necessary to open the bin to insert any larger piece of rubbish.

With regard to my noble friend's Amendment, I think it would be useful if local authorities would pay attention to the need for instructing their men, when they are pouring the contents of dustbins into their vehicles, to take more care to see that litter is not deposited in the street or allowed to blow away in the wind. I think that such instructions would be worth considering, because this is a country in which we get a fair amount of wind and a good deal of rubbish gets blown out of these bins. I warmly support my noble friend's Amendment.

3.0 p.m.


Subsection (2) of the clause already makes it the duty of the county council, local authority or parish council, as the noble Lord has said, to make arrangements "for the regular emptying and cleansing" of any receptacle they provide or maintain, and it goes on to provide that all these types of local authorities shall have the necessary power to do this. The clause should thus prevent the possibility that a litter bin might be provided by, say, a parish council in the expectation that the rural district council, who already have powers to collect household refuse, would automatically empty it. I should not have thought there was any need to elaborate in unnecessary detail something which ought to be left to the common sense of all responsible local authorities. If an authority feels sufficiently strongly to see that a litter basket is provided, it is likely to feel equally strongly on the subject of its emptying.


But it does not.


If there is any default, the most effective way is for local people to complain to the council offices or to their elected members. It is difficult to believe that the addition of the words proposed by the noble Lord, Lord Conesford, would, in practice, affect the way in which local authorities carry out the powers given by the clause or increase the likelihood of their being forced to do so through legal action. My inclination is to ask your Lordships not to accept the Amendment, but I appreciate the anxiety felt by my noble friend, Lord Conesford, and if he would be prepared not to press the Amendment now, I would undertake to study the problem further.


I hope that my noble friend Lord Conesford will not be taken in by the soothing answer of my noble friend on the Front Bench. A regular collection may be once in six months; that means nothing. The other point is this. There is great pressure, particularly on the smaller local authorities℄rural district councils and so on℄to put up litter baskets, which are, in fact, somewhat expensive for a small authority to put up. I know of cases where, under pressure from their own people, an authority have put up litter baskets, although they have warned the people that they have not the facilities for proper emptying, and exactly the situation arises as has been explained by my noble friend Lord Conesford. I do not know whether my noble friend is going to withdraw the Amendment now, but I hope that he will not let this Bill go through without allowing us to support him in some Amendment of this kind.


I am rather astonished that my noble friend the Minister, in reply to my Amendment, thought that it was too detailed. I expressly avoided putting in detail. I admit that I had thought, when I first decided to put down the Amendment, to prescribe a daily emptying; but I thought that I could then be accused of too much detail. However, what I have now suggested is a perfectly general principle: that the emptying shall be sufficiently frequent to ensure that no such receptacle or the contents thereof shall become a nuisance". What could be more reasonable and general than that? I fully appreciate that my drafting is the drafting of an amateur and that the skilful advisers of my noble friend may desire on Report stage some small Amendment of what I suggest, in order to make the Government entirely happy about the Amendment. But I suggest to the Committee that the best thing we can do, in view of the universal support that has been given to my Amendment, is to adopt it now whatever the Government may wish to do on the Report stage. Therefore, interpreting, as I think rightly, the wishes of the Committee, I do not wish to withdraw my Amendment.


Before the Amendment is put, may I say that I have great sympathy with the noble Lord's Amendment, as I think everyone who has spoken has. I would not accept the fact that it is too detailed. But, after all, the noble Lord in charge of the Bill has given an assurance that he will study the matter, presumably on the basis of trying to meet the wishes of the Committee, if at all possible. I should not have intervened but for the suggestion which is rather novel, that whenever a Minister gives an undertaking to study an Amendment the right thing is to include the Amendment in the Bill by passing it and then amend the Amendment at a later stage. I should be very happy if that were the position, but I think the probabilities are that the result would be that Ministers would be very chary of giving such an undertaking in future. I should have thought that the noble Lord has achieved his purpose in getting an assurance from the Minister that the matter will be studied; and, of course, he can put down his Amendment again.


I am extremely anxious to agree with the noble Lord, Lord Silkin, if I can. The reason why I suggested to the Committee℄and I think the Committee agreed with me℄that it would be a good thing to put this Amendment in was that the Minister did not go so far as to say that he was going to amend the clause. If the Minister had accepted the principle that something on the lines of my Amendment must go in, then of course I should have adopted the suggestion of the noble Lord, Lord Silkin. But, as I understood the Minister's speech, he was very doubtful indeed whether any amendment of the clause whatsoever was required. I had satisfied the Committee, I think, in all quarters that some addition to this clause is required. The Minister was unable to say that there was anything wrong with my Amendment, except that he thought it was unnecessary and rather detailed. In those circumstances, I thought it would be advisable that, when this matter comes before the House on Report stage, it should at least embody the wishes of the Committee as expressed on the Committee stage. It was for those reasons, and not because I had any lack of faith in the promise of the Minister to consider the matter℄of course I accepted that he would℄that I thought I should press the Amendment. I have satisfied the Committee that an Amendment is necessary; no criticism of my wording of the Amendment has been produced in any quarter, and with the general intention of making the proceedings of this Committee useful, I mean to press the Amendment.


I was hoping that my noble and learned friend would perhaps await the results of my noble friend's promise to look at this matter again. My noble and learned friend Lord Conesford has made one indisputable point℄namely, that the word "regular" does not necessarily imply any degree of frequency. That is a point which nobody can deny, and certainly I should not try to deny it. On the other hand (although I am afraid that I do not know a great deal about these local government matters), I think there might be some difficulty℄I do not know, and it is one of the things I should like to consider℄if, a duty having been imposed on a local authority, a provision were inserted which said simply that it shall be the duty of the local authority to perform its duty properly and not to effect any other sanction to them. I should myself think that that is worth investigating. I fully accept what my noble and learned friend has said: that it is not sufficient that collections should be regular if they are not also frequent. I hope that, with that assurance, he will allow this matter to be studied, in the knowledge that if nothing satisfactory to your Lordships emerges from that study he will not have in any way impaired his position, which he has made quite clear.


There is one point I should like to put to my noble friend the Leader of the House, and it is this. This Bill originates in this House and it is our duty to make it as perfect as possible before it goes to another place. If my noble friend withdraws his Amendment now, what opportunity will be given in this House for producing a proper Amendment upon this point? I realise that my noble friend can put this Amendment down on the Report stage, but the noble Viscount who speaks for the Government has quarrelled with the wording of it, for some reason which I do not quite understand. It means that if my noble friend puts the Amendment down again on Report, he is more or less compelled to put down an Amendment which is faulty in form, and that leaves only the Third Reading to improve upon it. How would the noble Viscount meet that point, having full regard to the duty and the rights of this House?


As regards the duty of this House, I am sure that both the Government and my noble and learned friend℄whom I would not accept as being an amateur in this connection at all; I think he lost his amateur status a long time ago℄will see whether we can give effect to this point, some part of which I have already accepted to be a good one, and the House in its collective wisdom will be in a position on Report to pass judgment on the matter. Certainly, if the Government feel that it is proper to amend the clause in the sense which I have indicated, that it is feasible to do so and in accordance with the ordinary requirements of local government, they would put their own Amendment down. I cannot foreshadow what it would be. Obviously, if we do not put down an Amendment we shall have to justify our not doing so, and I am sure the House will be able to pass judgment on that.


Does that mean that the Government are persuaded that some amendment of this clause is needed? That is the point.


Perhaps I should not have intervened so fully, but I felt that perhaps my noble friend was being a little hard pressed on the matter and that he might like to take further counsel. I have said all I can of my own knowledge and wisdom, such as it is, which is that I was persuaded that my noble and learned friend had made one point℄which I thought was not only good, but desirable℄that "frequent" and "regular" collections were not the same thing, and that they ought to be both.


If I may say so, the noble Earl, Lord Attlee, has put his finger on the exact point. At the present moment, Her Majesty's Government have not admitted that any amendment of this clause is required at all. This Committee, if I rightly interpret its view, is virtually unanimously of the opinion that an Amendment roughly on the lines of my Amendment is necessary. I am very much puzzled why Her Majesty's Government do not accept my Amendment. If they find that there is something

wrong with it, they can amend it on Report stage in any way they think fit, even to the extent of moving its omission and putting something else in its place. But this Committee will have at least indicated that it believes this clause requires amendment on these lines. If I have satisfied the Committee on this, what reason of any sort is there for not incorporating this Amendment on the Committee stage? I believe that this House, whether sitting as a House or as a Committee, should try to improve Bills to the best of their ability. I have endeavoured to do so by putting down this Amendment, and I do not see why it should not be carried.


I am sure that the last thing I should ever suggest to the House is that we should not try to improve Bills to the best of our ability. All I was suggesting was that, as the Committee have indicated their opinion quite clearly, the Minister (who knows a great deal more about it than I do, just listening to the debate) has indicated that he will take the clause back to his right honourable friend with an indication of the Committee's view. That was all my noble and learned friend was seeking at this stage. I would respectfully agree with what the noble Lord, Lord Silkin, said: that the really sensible thing to do is to realise that the Government have noted the view of the Committee and recognised tie validity of the arguments put forward, and will seek in some way to give effect to them. The only reason why I cannot give a more definite assurance is that the matter is not wholly in my hands, and I claim even less than my noble and learned friend to be an expert draftsman on matters of this kind. I hope that with that assurance he will feel that the best way is to seek the experts' advice, or the advice of those who he frankly has said are experts, and see what we can do to give effect to his desires.

On Question, Whether the said Amendment shall be agreed to?

Their Lordships divided: Contents, 38: Not-Contents, 20.

Airedale, L Amwell, L. Baden-Powell, L
Alexander of Hillsborough, V. Attlee, E. Birdwood, L.
Amulree, L. Auckland, L. Birkett, L.
Broughshane, L. Howe, E. St. Edmundsbury and Ipswich, L. Bp.
Cholmondeley, M. Killearn, L.
Chorley, L. Latham, Saltoun, L. [Teller.]
Conesford, L. [Teller.] Listowel, E. Shepherd, L.
Cottesloe, L. Merrivale, L. Silkin, L.
Dalton, L. Nathan, L. Strang, L.
Douglas of Barloch, L. Newall, L. Strathcarron, L.
Faringdon, L. Ogmore, L. Torrington, V.
Gifford, L. Pethick-Lawrence, L. Uvedale of North End, L.
Henderson, L. Rea, L. Wise, L.
Balfour of Inchrye, L. Hailsham, V. (L. President.) Newton, L. [Teller.]
Bathurst, E. Hawke, L. St. Aldwyn, E. [Teller.]
Bossom, L. Jessel, L. St. Oswald, L.
Brecon, L. Kilmuir, V. (L. Chancellor.) Spens, L.
Crathorne, L. Luke, L. Strathclyde, L.
Forbes, L. Mills, L. Teviot, L.
Gosford, E. Milverton, L.

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Resolved in the affirmative, and Amendment agreed to accordingly.

3.25 p.m.

LORD LATHAM moved, in subsection (3), to leave out all words from the beginning of the subsection down to "county" and to insert instead "A". The noble Lord said: I beg to move Amendment No. 52 as it appears on the Marshalled List. This Amendment is based upon the experience, limited perhaps, that litter bins are not universally efficacious as a means of avoiding the distribution of litter. Clause 47 (3) empowers the local authority concerned to put up in any place where a receptacle for refuse or litter has been provided or maintained under this clause or under Section 156 of the Highways Act, 1959, notices about leaving refuse and litter, and for that purpose to erect and maintain notice boards. Although in the past it has been the practice of at least one county council℄and probably there may be others℄to erect notice boards bearing anti-litter notices, the specific power contained in Clause 47 (3) to erect notices where receptacles are provided is bound, in the view of the local authorities, to raise doubts about the existence of what they have regarded as being an implied power to erect notices in places where there are no litter bins.

The Amendment is in line, it seems to me, with contemporary and gathering opinion about the prevention of litter in the countryside, and with the "Take your litter home" slogan which has been adopted by the "Keep Britain Tidy" organisation, and also, I understand, by the National Parks Commission in connection with the Country Code. There are many places where people are wont to pull their cars off the road and where it is most desirable to erect a notice warning against leaving litter without the necessity at the same time of providing a litter basket. The erection of notices may sometimes be more efficacious than the provision of litter baskets. I understand that certain conversations have taken place with the Minister's Department, and in those circumstances I hope that, in order to remove any uncertainty and doubt, the noble Lord will be able to accept this Amendment. I beg to move.

Amendment moved℄ Page 34, line 6, leave out from beginning to (" county ") in line 8 and insert (" A ").℄(Lord Latham.)


I am fully in agreement with the purpose of the Amendment which the noble Lord, Lord Latham, has just moved. I am advised, however, that this might not be the best way of achieving the object we both have in mind, and if he would be agreeable to withdrawing this particular Amendment I would undertake to put down some alternative words at the Report stage.


I am very grateful to the noble Lord, and I beg leave to withdraw the Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

THE EARL OF GAINSBOROUGH moved, in subsection (10), to leave out "forty shillings" and insert "ten pounds". The noble Earl said: This Amendment is to protect the litter bins which have given so much concern to your Lordships this afternoon. At present there is provided a penalty of 40s. for removing a litter bin or refuse bin. It is felt that this is an unrealistic penalty in these days. Under the Litter Act, 1958, if anybody leaves litter about or does not put it into a litter basket he may be fined a maximum of £10. But if this clause is left as it stands the rather absurd position arises that if you drop litter around you may have to pay £10, but if you take the bin away or damage it you pay only £2. Although there is provision for the local authority to recover damages in respect of damage to the bin, I think that your Lordships may agree that in these days 40s. is insufficient as a deterrent to stop people who want souvenirs and things. Although your Lordships may think that a litter bin would be a silly souvenir to take, there are such people about, and I would urge that this matter be considered by Her Majesty's Government. I beg to move.

Amendment moved℄ Page 35, line 12, leave out (" forty shillings ") and insert (" ten pounds ").℄(The Earl of Gainsborough.)


I agree with the noble Earl, Lord Gainsborough, that there are anomalies here. This fact was fully appreciated when the Bill was drafted, but it is extremely difficult to avoid anomalies when various penalties have been imposed in a large number of Acts and at different times. The figure of 40s. in this particular instance was adopted because it appears in local Acts at this point. Unfortunately, the figure of £10 which the noble Earl suggests is not free from anomaly either. I should like to suggest that we deal with this difficulty in the best way we can in the circumstances. The offence referred to in subsection (10) is that of removing or damaging a litter basket or a notice board. Section 289 of the Local Government Act, 1933, deals with a related matter and refers to the destruction or disfigurement of notice boards, advertisements, placards or notices, and it provides for a penalty of £5. If one wished to depart from the local Act precedent on which this subsection is based and drop the figure of 40s. then I think we ought to adopt the penalty under Section 289 of the 1933 Act for a similar offence. If this solution commends itself, I will put down an Amendment to this effect on the Report stage.


I am much obliged to the noble Lord. I feel sure that what he has said will go some way towards meeting the matter. In the circumstances, I beg leave to withdraw the Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 47, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 48:

Management of parks and pleasure-grounds

48.℄(1) Sections seventy-six and seventy-seven of the Public Health Acts Amendment Act, 1907 (which give a local authority certain powers as regards their parks and pleasure-grounds), together with Part VI of the Public Health Act, 1925 (which extends the said section seventy-six), shall be in force throughout the district of every local authority and section three of the said Act of 1907 (which relates to the adoption by a local authority of provisions in that Act) shall not apply to the said sections seventy-six and seventy-seven.

(2) When any part of a park or pleasure-ground is set apart by a local authority under paragraph (b) of subsection (1) of the said section seventy-six for the purpose of cricket, football or any other game or recreation, the local authority may, subject to the restrictions or conditions, if any, prescribed by rules made under that section, permit the exclusive use by any club or other body of persons of℄

  1. (a) any portion of the park set apart as aforesaid, and
  2. (b) the whole or any part of any pavilion, convenience, refreshment room or other building provided under that section,
subject to such charges and conditions as the local authority think fit.

(3) Subsection (2) of this section shall not empower a local authority to permit at one and the same time the exclusive use of℄

  1. (a) more than one-third of the area of any park or pleasure-ground, or
  2. (b) more than one-quarter of the total area of all the parks and pleasure-grounds provided by them or under their management and control.

(4) Subsections (2) and (3) of this section shall be read as one with the said section seventy-six.

3.32 p.m.

LORD SILKIN moved to leave out Clause 48. The noble Lord said: This is the first of three clauses all of which under the Bill constitute attacks on open spaces throughout the country. The effect of each one of them is to deprive the public of a measure of the enjoyment which they possess in the parks and open spaces, and which they have come by with great difficulty, and often with considerable expense. Each one of these clauses is capable of, and susceptible to, serious attack; but, taking them cumulatively, they represent a really grave attack on our open spaces. I have down Amendments to delete each of the three clauses; in the second Amendment, that relating to Clause 49, I am coupled with the noble Lord, Lord Conesford. I would respectfully suggest that the Government might well look at these clauses again to see whether they are, in fact, necessary in their present form in order to achieve their purposes.

I want at this stage to look at Clause 48. I want to say straight away that I fully realise that this clause is substantially in the form of one of the model clauses set out in the edition of Model Clauses for 1960, so that the powers conferred by Clause 48 are similar to those which have already been conferred by private Acts upon a number℄if you dike, a substantial number℄of local authorities. But I would say (I hope I am right) that in each case where these powers have been conferred upon local authorities they have been the subject of individual examination. Moreover, the mere fact that there is a precedent for conferring the powers upon one authority does not automatically entitle another authority to receive the same powers; in fact each one is looked at individually. What we are now proposing to do is to confer these powers indiscriminately upon all local authorities, without examination. I would also draw the attention of the Committee to the paragraph at the conclusion of the introduction to the model clauses and to what it says℄namely, The inclusion in this collection of a clause does not warrant its inclusion in a Bill; it is merely an indication that the clause, if included in a Bill, should be drafted, though not necessarily punctuated, on the model.

I would suggest to the Committee that the mere fact that a similar clause to this is incorporated in a number of Private Acts is not in itself a reason for introducing it in a Public Act.

I concede that in principle there is a good deal to be said on the merits of this clause: a local authority should have the power to take a portion of its recreational land used for snorts and games, and allow it to be used by private clubs, either on payment of a fee or any conditions that they like. But in my view this clause goes much too far. The Government have sought to impose limitations (they are contained in subsection (3) of the clause) by which the local authority are not permitted at one and the same time to allow the use for this purpose of more than one-third of the area of any park or pleasure ground, or more than one-quarter of the total area of all their parks. My case against the clause is 'that, even with these limitations, it will be possible in the case of a number of authorities to deprive the general public entirely of any facilities for playing individual, unorganised games; and I think that would be deplorable.

Even if you take both these limitations, you might still get the position that you could allow clubs to use the whole of the available land which is set aside for games and recreation. The subsection says: More than one-third of the area of any park or pleasure ground.

A quarter of a park or an individual pleasure ground might be devoted to games and recreation. So under this Bill you could take the whole of that area and give it to a club for its sole use. Then the subsection goes on to say: More than one-quarter of the total area of all the parks and pleasure grounds.

There, again, the amount or proportion of the total area of the parks belonging to any particular authority which is used for games or recreation might be less than one-quarter. The rest might be available to the general public for walks and rest and so on. But you could apply these conditions quite easily and deprive the public permanently, if you so desire, of the whole of the facilities which are enjoyed by so many people, schoolchildren and others, for games of recreation.

I would therefore say to the noble Lord that if the Government deliberately desire to give local authorities the power to let the whole of their land available for games and recreation to private clubs ℄I do not not know whether this particular point has been overlooked or whether it is deliberate—then I am afraid that we must part company and test the views of the Committee on this point. If, however, it is not their intention and they desire that those playing unorganised games℄schoolchildren and people playing cricket or football, or knocking a ball about other than in organised groups℄should still have these facilities, then I say that this clause runs the danger of depriving the general public of a good many of these facilities and is in need of further consideration, and in my view, amendment. I beg to move.

Amendment moved℄ Leave out Clause 48.℄(Lord Silkin.)


I should like to put another point of view. I have a good deal of sympathy with this clause for a reason which will commend itself to the noble Lord, the Minister in charge of the Bill, he being an old Rugby forward from Ebbw Vale, which is a friendly rival of my old club, Bridgend. Some years ago in my own town the professional sport of Rugby League came along and took our ground, a ground which me had had for very many years. The club is now about 80 years old and is one with which both my father and my grandfather were connected and of which I am at the moment, and have been for some years, Patron.

In South Wales the Rugby Club forms an integral part of the life of the community, second only, perhaps, to the religious life. I am not sure that it is always second; sometimes, about the time of the England-Wales match, I believe they are about equal. When we lost our ground it was a staggering blow to the life of the community in the little market town where I was born. We looked around and finally the council allowed us to play on the recreation ground. It was very kind of them and we appreciated it tremendously and managed to keep the club going; but we had no exclusive use of the ground. The result was that normally, even during a game, except for two or three occasions a year, we had no right to exclude others from the ground. We could not charge people to go in and we had to pick up all the paraphernalia of the game, the footboards around the pitch, afterwards. We could not put up any sort of stand, however flimsy. Indeed, it was only through the tremendous efforts of voluntary supporters of the club that we kept going at all.

Eventually, I am glad to say, we got our ground back. Professional football did not take on and had to go, and to-day, as the noble Lord, Lord Brecon, knows, the club is third in the Welsh League, following immediately behind Cardiff. We produced two members of the Welsh XV that played the South Africans and beat England, one being Ken Richards who, as those of your Lordships who follow the sport will know, played a masterly game and was the architect of victory. I mention this to show that this power is very important and that in conditions of that kind, which may happen anywhere, it is highly desirable that the council shall have the right to allow one team not only to play on the ground but also, in certain circumstances, to have the exclusive use of it.

I admit that this power should be used only in such circumstances as make it desirable, for we do not want to make it a very common practice; but I am certain that it would not be common. It would apply only in cases where it is really necessary, and only then would this power be used by the local authority. With that cautionary tale of my own club, therefore, I would support the Government in this measure, and I hope the Minister will resist any attempts to do away with the clause.


Like my noble friend, Lord Silkin, I await with some anxiety an indication from the Government of what are their intentions there, because where there are recreation grounds which have perhaps tennis courts or bowling greens I can visualise that a local authority, under this provision, could hand over the whole of those courts or greens to some club or set of individuals. That is my understanding at the present moment. I am sure that that is not the intention of the Government, but reading the clause as it now is I can see that that is possible. I feel I should draw the attention of the Committee to Clause 48. While this power is given to local authorities, no protection is given to the public by allowing them to protest.

The Committee will see that Clause 49 (7) provides that the local authority must advertise their intention in the newspapers, and presumably an inquiry could result from that action. But when we are dealing with Clause 48 there is no such provision, so that local people would have no opportunity to protest. They might even be unaware that some of their recreation grounds were being taken away from them for the use of a private club. They might have no idea that that was happening, and even if they knew of it they would have no opportunity of taking any action other than bringing pressure upon their local councillor. I certainly wait with anxiety to hear what the noble Lord, Lord Brecon, can tell us regarding this clause, but I believe that as it stands we should oppose it.


It is with some hesitation that I rise to differ from my noble friend, Lord Silkin. I hope the Government will maintain this clause. I think it is a reasonable and proper power to give to local authorities, and I am amazed by the suspicion that local authorities are likely to exaggerate in any way in their use of it. The contrary is far more likely. I should be far more anxious lest they should not use this power as widely as they might and should.


I do not always agree with the noble Lord, Lord Faringdon, opposite, but this time he has expressed my sentiments precisely. What on earth are we going to leave to local govern-men t to decide if we are not to permit them to decide about letting a football pitch to a recognised club or leaving it for desultory bands of boys to play upon? I believe it would be a gross and unwarrantable interference with the powers of local government if we were not to leave them to do this kind of thing.


I think a good deal can be said on both sides here and I do not wish to take any particular part in that discussion, but it occurred to me, in discussion with my noble friend, Lord Faringdon, that under subsection (3) (b) a local authority will not be permitted to give the exclusive use of: more than one-quarter of the total area of all the parks and pleasure grounds provided by them or under their management and control. If we are dealing with one of the large authorities who have a number of parks and pleasure-grounds it might be possible for them to hand over the whole of one park in this way, which clearly would not, I think, be wise or advisable. Is this a wrong interpretation? I shall be glad to have the noble Lord's view about that.


If I understand the clause rightly, there is a double limitation. It must not be more than one-third of the area of any park (that is under the paragraph (a)) and it must not be more than one-quarter of the total area of all the parks and pleasure-grounds provided by the local authority or under their management and control; so it is a dual limitation. I rise only because I have received a communication, as I think have other noble Lords, from a society which speaks with a good deal of authority on these subjects, the Commons, Open Spaces and Footpaths Preservation Society; and the point on which they are particularly unhappy is what they believe to be the insufficiency of the limitation in paragraph (b) of subsection (3): the limitation of a quarter of the total area. This Society from their experience are eager that, instead of the figure of one quarter, there should be a figure of one-eighth. I think that the Committee may like to have before them this considered view of the Society.


Before the noble Lord replies, may I say that I thought I had made it clear that I was not against the principle at all, and therefore the football club in South Wales of the noble Lord, Lord Ogmore, would have been quite safe, in my view, and I should not object to it. What I do object to is that on the reading of this clause it is possible to let the whole of the available recreational grounds to clubs.


I do not think it is.


It is, if you read it carefully; not the whole of the park itself but the whole of that portion of the park which is allocated for games. These limitations do not relate to the portion of the park available for games only but to the total area of the park. My criticism would really be met if there were some limitation on the proportion of the area for games which could be set aside for clubs, so as to ensure that at all times there was some available recreational land for persons who were not members of clubs.


I should like to say one word in support of this Amendment. I have seen the danger that can occur in Hyde Park, over most of which the public could walk once upon a time, if not over the entire park. I have seen areas reserved, for quite proper reasons: places where people can putt and places at the Serpentine where people can undress and bathe. One can no longer walk right round the Serpentine, as I could when I was young. There is another part of the north of the Park reserved as a playground for children. Therefore, I think one should be extremely careful not to give powers like this too widely, because in time we might see more of the parks being taken away, though for quite proper reasons, and it means that the general public have less.


I think I sense what is the difficulty at the back of the mind of the noble Lard, Lord Silkin; that is, the principle of what happens to the remainder of the park we are talking about. When we have allowed a third to be earmarked for organised games, how are we to know what unorganised games (if I may call them that) can be played? I think that is the principle of the thing.


The main purpose of this clause is to extend certain powers concerning the management of parks and pleasure grounds which are contained in Section 76 of the Public Health Acts Amendment Act, 1907, and Section 56 of the Public Health Act, 1925. Under these Acts local authorities may already exclude the public from parts of parks set aside for particular games and they may charge for the use of those areas by the individuals or teams playing. What this clause permits, in effect, is an arrangement under which a local club may regularly have the use of a cricket or football pitch, or the bowling green or some of the tennis courts, together with changing-room accommodation and facilities for refreshments. Some regular arrangement is necessary if a club is to be able to settle its fixture list in advance. No one will question that some games can hardly be played seriously except on an organised basis and in an area from which non-players are excluded. I think we must remember that the people who form the clubs and play there are the public; they are not separate from the others.

If I understand the noble Lord, Lord Silkin, and other noble Lords correctly, I think their chief fear is that lands and buildings may be removed from public enjoyment even when they are not being used for organised games℄subject, of course, to the area limitations contained in subsection (3). On this it must be recalled that some permanent restriction on the public use of parks is necessarily involved when local authorities provide facilities for certain kinds of sports and games. Bowling greens, tennis courts℄we cannot let the public wander around tennis courts, even when people are not playing, but they can go and play tennis there℄and athletic tracks, for instance, are normally closed except to people who have paid to use them for their specialised purposes.

The first question, therefore, is whether there is any objection in principle to sports facilities being made available to clubs and not to isolated individuals and to the exclusion of the public while those facilities are required by the clubs. It is difficult to believe that this is seriously contested. The noble Lord, Lord Ogmore, spoke about Rugby clubs in South Wales. My own club, in which I played over 30 years ago, played on a pitch that is in a park at Abergavenny. They still play. They have it for use for Saturday games at the present moment. It is this sort of provision that has to be made, subject to the safeguard of one-third of any park or a quarter of all parks. I have noted what my noble friend Lord Conesford has said about his having a letter to say that people who are concerned with this question think it should be one-eighth. I will have a look at that point.

The real problem reduces itself to this, therefore: should we try to write into this clause some words to the effect that pitches, playing fields, refreshment rooms, et cetera, should, so far as is practicable, be available to the public when they are not actually being used by a club? If I have correctly summarised the main grounds for the objections mentioned by noble Lords, and by Lord Silkin in particular, I think we should not find it impossible to meet the point that the noble Lord has raised. If he would agree to withdraw his objection I would certainly explore the practicability of tabling an Amendment on Report stage to this effect.


Could the noble Lord give an answer to a question which arises from a point made by my noble friend Lord Chorley? I fully take the point that it is one-third of the area of any park or, alternatively, one quarter of the total. It is not stated "whichever should be the less".


May I suggest that both apply? We say shall not empower a local authority to permit at one and the same time the exclusive use of more than one third of the area of any park… or more than one quarter of the total area… Both limitations must be satisfied.


I thought that that was so and I suddenly had a doubt.


It is so.


I am much obliged for having heard the speech of the noble Lord, Lord Brecon. However, I am still concerned. I am thinking of a recreation ground where I used to live where they had about a dozen tennis courts. As I understand it, it would be possible for the local authority, if they wished, to give these tennis courts exclusively for the use of a local club, say on Saturdays and Sundays, which means that anybody who was not a member of the club would not have access on a Saturday or a Sunday. That may be the judgment of the council. I think it would be wrong that that facility which has been built up in a recreation ground should be handed over exclusively to a club and that the public should be denied completely any access to it, unless, of course, the local authority were to provide further facilities. As I see it, what we want to do is to make our recreation grounds available to as many people as possible. We may lose that if we give exclusive rights ℄and the public know they are exclusive rights℄to a club. In a club one can quickly fill up the fixtures list. At times you can play tennis or golf on Saturday or Sunday with regular members, and the not-so-regular members do not get a chance to play. think we should resist anything that will deny the public at least a general access to the facilities in these recreation grounds.


I wonder whether, before the noble Lord, Lord Brecon, replies to my noble friend, he would consider one other aspect of the matter, arising particularly out of the assurance he offered to my noble friend Lord Silkin. It is not merely a case in every instance of local recreation grounds with buildings and facilities provided by the local authorty. There are examples where the local authority provide the land and give a local club permission to put buildings on it. They come to an agreement that it will be for a period of years. I have in mind, for example, the Taunton Town Football Club, where it is local authority land and where they put up buildings. There are two points arising from that. First, this step was not taken without its being very thoroughly canvassed in the town and in the town council, and we must have regard to that fact.

The noble Lord, Lord Hawke, said that local authorities have not many powers left: I have heard it said that they have nothing to lose but their drains. But here is a case where a scheme has been thoroughly canvassed and local councillors have thoroughly considered local opinion. Surely they have a right in such matters. If the noble Lord, Lord Brecon, is going to consider an arrangement in this clause whereby, when a particular club is not using the facilities, the public shall have access, I would point out that in the case that I have cited it would be wholly impracticable. There the buildings themselves do not belong to the local authority, so that it would be wholly wrong, to suggest that the public should have access when the club is not using them. So it is not as easy as the noble Lord thinks. When he considers this matter, will he consider in particular a case of that kind?


I should like to say something on the same lines as those followed by the noble Lord, Lord Stonham. I think the noble Lord, Lord Brecon, wants to be a little careful before he accepts the views expressed against this particular clause. I say that for two reasons. First, there is exclusive use of the portion of land itself. have already indicated the trouble we had to go to in Bridgend, when, after every game (we played twice a week), we had to move everything off. If anybody is to be allowed to use the ground when a particular club is not intending to use it, it may mean that the ground will be cut up terribly. The club may be paying a great deal of money to keep that ground in good order, with a groundsman or two, and they would be paying a great deal of money to keep it in order so that anyone could come along and play on it without paying a brass bean, and possibly spoiling the ground. Secondly, children and so on may damage the posts and the various impedimenta that there are around the ground.

The second point is as to the building, the pavilion. Here the club, if there is a club, must have exclusive use, because all its gear would be in the building. There would be the equipment of the players℄the football boots, and all the rest of it℄as well as the flags, and so on. There cannot be anything but exclusive use of a building. You cannot have other people going into a building where there is hundreds of pounds worth of the club's equipment. I think, therefore, that, so far as paragraphs (2) (a) and (2) (b) are concerned℄and particularly (2) (b)℄the Minister should consider very carefully before he gives way. He knows as well as anybody (because he used to play for Ebbw Vale, which is a club of the type I am talking about) that in South Wales there is often only one piece of land available in the industrial area, which piece has very often been made by levelling a tip. If a club ℄it may be an absolutely first-class club; as, indeed, Ebbw Vale is℄has to use a ground which anybody else can use on all the days on which the club is not playing, then it will not be a first-class club very much longer℄that I can assure your Lordships. So I sincerely hope that the noble Lord will resist any attempt to "water down" this clause.


With the greatest respect, I do not think the noble Lord, Lord Ogmore, has got it quite right. As I understand it, many of these grounds and pavilions are played on and used by many clubs and by schools. It is not a question of an exclusive use by any one club. I have seen all this expensive equipment in pavilions, and so forth, with wardens and so on, to look after it, to see that no damage is done. These grounds are being used by all sorts of clubs, and not by one alone.


The noble Lord has given an undertaking that he will look at this question again from the point of view of ensuring that the general public ℄and I mean the general public other than those people who are members of clubs℄are not deprived of all facilities for games and recreation. I think that the clause can be appropriately amended so as to ensure that. It seems to me that all that is needed is a further condition having regard to the amount of recreational land that would be left, and not merely to other open space. On that assurance℄and perhaps it would be helpful if, in this case, the noble Lord would allow me to have a word with him on this subject before he puts the Amendment down℄I should be very happy to withdraw the Amendment.


Certainly. I am very grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Silkin, for what he has just said. I do not think we can legislate for every possible condition that exists in these parks under local government authority. I think that what Lord Silkin has in mind in the Amendment is as to the exclusive use of this land for a game℄and I think "exclusive" means that if they want to play a game of football then it is exclusive while they play that game of football. Personally, I have very great faith in local authorities; and, so far, I have not heard of any objection throughout the country as to the misuse of the powers they already have. But I will give Lord Silkin an undertaking to consider the point that he has raised, and also to see whether we can meet the point that he has made: that the public shall have the use of the ground when it is not being used by the club.


It was not quite that. I do not necessarily mean that. I take the point that it may not always be convenient; but what I mean is that you do not part with the whole of your recreational land to clubs, but leave some of it for the general public. However, I think we can talk this thing over.


May I just add that it is limited by subsection (3)?


I do not think it is.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 48 agreed to.

Clause 49 [Parking places in open spaces and playing fields]:

4.8 p.m.

LORD CONESFORD moved to leave out Clause 49. The noble Lord said: We now come to the clause which enables a local authority, subject to the provisions of the clause, to take over one-eighth of the total area, or one acre, whichever shall be the less, of an open space and to use it as a parking place for relieving the congestion of traffic in the area. In the debate on Second Reading on November 24 last year, I attacked this clause and gave notice that immediately the Bill received its Second Reading I should table an Amendment to leave out the clause. I tabled my Amendment that same day. During that debate, I was supported in every quarter of the House, most notably by my noble friend Lord Luke. I trust that in the same way this afternoon I shall be supported in every quarter. I am glad to see that my Amendment is supported by the noble Lord. Lord Silkin, and others.

I believe that this clause is as offensive to informed public opinion as it certainly is to the amenity societies most concerned. At the risk of repeating arguments already known to the Committee, may I briefly set out the case against the clause, reserving any further argument until I hear the Minister's reply? It simply is not true to say that this clause does no more than make general a provision already to be found in many local Acts; that it is, in effect, the model clause No. 82 in the volume which any noble Lord can obtain in the Printed Paper Office.

Provisions on the lines of the model clause have been incorporated in a certain number of Statutes. I mentioned two, I think, in my speech on Second Reading℄the Oldham Corporation Act, 1960, Section 55; the Southend Corporation Act, 1960, Section 43, I think it was; and there are some others. But there are the greatest differences between the model clause and what has been adopted in existing Statutes on the one hand, and what is now proposed in this measure on the other. And those differences are not wholly accounted for by the Minister's explanation℄though I agree that that has some weight℄that in making a power general by legislation, it is necessary to provide for rather wider powers than would be given in legislating for any individual local authority. But the model clause says nothing whatever about land provided as playing fields under Section 4 of the Physical Training and Recreation Act, 1937. The model clause is confined to parks, pleasure-grounds and open spaces provided by the corporation in question, or under their control. And the model clause contains nothing even remotely resembling subsection (6) of Clause 49, about which I may say a little more later.

Even if the clause we are considering did not go beyond what many local authorities already have power to do under local Acts, there would still remain an enormous difference between powers enjoyed in a particular case by the deliberate decision of both Houses of Parliament, after hearing relevant evidence, and powers which may be exercised without any Parliamentary control of any kind. In every Private Act in which any provision on the lines of this clause has been provided, the section has been considered by the Private Bill Committees of both Houses of Parliament, who deal so carefully with such private legislation. But if this Clause 49 is not left out, then, hereafter, wider powers than are enjoyed by any local authority will be exercisable without any Parliamentary control of any kind whatsoever.

What is the purpose for which these portions of open spaces and playing fields can be taken over? They can be taken over for the purposes of Section 81 of the Road Traffic Act, 1960. That section empowers local authorities outside London to provide parking spaces for the purpose of relieving or preventing the congestion of traffic. In other words, to relieve traffic in the area it will be possible, for the first time, for any local authority to take a portion of a park, playing field or open space. I think the Minister mentioned on the last occasion that Section 81 of the Road Traffic Act, 1960, was itself a consolidating section. I agree with him. Some of the powers in that section had existed long before. What is wholly unacceptable is the suggestion that these powers should be applied to parks and open spaces. In my respectful submission to the Committee, it would be possible to justify a provision on these lines if, and only if, when a parking space ought to be provided in a congested city, the first place to which the local authority should look were an existing park, open space or playground. I would suggest that not merely is that not the first place where they should look for their parking space: it is the very last place.

That point, I am glad to say, was taken in a leading article in The Times of last Tuesday, which many noble Lords may have seen, and which concluded in this way: The argument that the last space we can spare is our already inadequate fund of public parkland is unanswerable".

I respectfully agree. It is the last place, as I say, to which a local authority, anxious to serve the public, should look when seeking a place in order to relieve traffic congestion. While it is the last place to which they should look, the fact is that, if we are so foolish as not to delete this clause, the parks will be the first place to which in fact they will look; because this parking space they will be able to secure without paying compensation. They will be able to secure it cheaply. If they seek, in a congested area, to obtain a space for a garage or off-street parking, they may have to pay heavily for it; but if they are allowed to invade the parks and playgrounds, that will provide a very cheap alternative. They will merely be taking away the land from the public, who enjoy the open spaces, without expense.

That brings me to the so-called safeguards. It is said that there is a safeguard in the decision of the local authority, which must respect public opinion. Then there is the provision for a local inquiry; and, finally, there is the Minister's sanction. I will say a word about those safeguards in a minute. But one thing is quite certain: that those safeguards, individually or collectively, are pitifully inadequate compared with the safeguards that are to be swept away. May I remind the Committee of the provisions of subsection (6) of the clause? I commented on them luring the debate on Second Reading, and so did the noble Lord, Lord Silkin. Let me read it again: The powers given by this section may be exercised notwithstanding anything in section ten of the Open Spaces Act, 1906, or in any other enactment, whether in any public, local or private Act, which provides for the use or enjoyment of any open space or playing field for recreation or any similar purpose".

That means to say that all restrictions in existing Acts are to be swept away. The local authority will be able to take over the open space to relieve traffic congestion in the area, not only without any Parliamentary control whatsoever over such taking over, but with power to override everything in the Statutes which so far provides for the contrary.

Since Section 10 of the Open Spaces Act, 1906, has been mentioned, may I again remind the Committee of what the words of the Section are? Under Section 10 of the Act a local authority had to hold and administer the open spaces: in trust to allow, and with a view to, the enjoyment thereof by the public as an open space within the meaning of the Act and under proper control and regulation and for no other purpose.

That is what the Parliament of 1906, in its wisdom, provided. Under that general Statute, which in some respects was a consolidating Statute, many open spaces previously in private hands or in the hands of charities were transferred to local authorities, I believe, as all parties then thought, for greater security. I doubt if anybody foresaw, in 1906, that rather more than half a century later it would be proposed to sweep this safeguard aside and to provide that, without any Parliamentary control, a portion of a park can be taken to provide parking space to relieve traffic congestion in the area.

If open spaces can be invaded and desecrated so cheaply, while to acquire garages where they ought to be acquired remains expensive, of course, many local authorities will decide, with perfect bona fides, to use these powers for invading their parks and open spaces. Then there can be a local inquiry. But what evidence can be brought against them? The local authority may say, with perfect truth, that there is a need for providing parking space and Parliament has said that this is a proper use of the parks, subject to this limitation. On what ground can the Minister be expected to say, "No"? I have no doubt whatever that if we accepted this clause, the Minister, whoever he was and to whatever Party he belonged, would exercise his power carefully and honestly, but what would that power be? A local authority would have established their bona fide view that there was a need, and Parliament would have said that this was a proper use of their parks. Sometimes, no doubt, the local inquiry would reveal a difference in opinion about the policy of whether space should be taken, but the real objection to the taking over would be the objection that I am voicing to your Lordships this afternoon, that our parks and open spaces are precious. The past Statutes which protect them are wise and we should be foolish if we swept them away.

There is one final reason why I have cause to hope that the Government will not refuse to bow to the wishes of the Committee this afternoon. I expected that the speech which I am now making would have had to be made last Tuesday when, I may say, I had many more friends in the House who are unable to he here to-day and who would certainly have supported me. But something was said in the course of that debate which I was very glad to hear. My noble friend Lord Newton, in resisting some Amendments of the noble Earl, Lord Gains-borough, which he thought had a good deal to be said for them, used these words [OFFICIAL REPORT, Vol. 227 (No. 28), col. 1183]: The two Amendments are therefore contrary to the intention of the Bill as a whole. which is to enact well-precedented local provisions which are either non-controversial or, at any rate, not too controversial.

I think that what is said in the course of this debate will satisfy Her Majesty's Government beyond a doubt that this clause is extremely controversial. I beg to move.

Amendment moved℄ Leave out Clause 49.℄(Lord Conesford.)

4.25 p.m.


My Lords, I should like to say a few words on this clause. I was one of those who spoke on the Second Reading and I will not repeat word for word what I said on that occasion, but I think it is an objectionable clause, and it could rightly be called retrograde. As I said on the former occasion, it boils down to this: whether we are going to continue a policy of trying to find land for recreation and children's playgrounds, or whether we are going progressively to pass over this sort of land for car parks. In view of what was said on Second Reading, I had hoped that we might have something from Her Majesty's Government to meet some of the points that were made then. Perhaps I may repeat, here and now, that this is a great encouragement to local authorities to take this land instead of taking other land for their purposes, just ℄as the noble Lord, Lord Conesford, has said℄because it is so easy. Recreational land has been obtained with great difficulty and laid out at great cost and it is doing a good job as it. I consider it a great pity that any of it should be taken for another purpose,

I wish that the Government would encourage local authorities to use a little more imagination over this question. I have already made a plea for a wider definition of open spaces. I am sure that other spaces are available, though perhaps not so easily available, for car parking arrangements and which could be used before taking land that is now being used for recreation. I had hoped that there might have been more of a joint approach over this matter, recognising that there is still a great need for recreational spaces. It is not as if all our needs were in one direction. There should be a joint approach to this matter. I am well aware that land for any purpose is difficult to find, but there should be a joint approach towards obtaining land that can be used as an open space. perhaps some for parking cars and the the rest for additional recreation. But I object strongly to the principle which now seems to be Government policy, that land at present being used for recreation should be used for an entirely different purpose.

Why should the taking of this land be made easier for local authorities? It is just opening the door to local authorities who have not thought about it yet. I am well aware that 300 local authorities, or one quarter of the total, have already taken action. I think that that in itself is regrettable, and it is not a reason at all for saying that the rest should be able to do it. But the Government are now opening the door to 1,400 other local authorities to do just this very thing. Those powers that have already been taken were obtained under a number of private Acts and before the pressure on parking space became so great. I end by saying that there are few new spaces for children and adults, without taking away even one-eighth of what exist already. I should like to support all that the noble Lord, Lord Conesford, has said and to vote in favour of the deletion of this clause.


I should like to say a few words in support of the noble Lord, Lord Conesford, and the exclusion of this clause from the Bill. I am conscious that at this stage, after the speech of the noble Lord, Lord Conesford, it is difficult to add anything very new to the argument, and although there are some assemblies where it is necessary to repeat something time and time again in order that the facts may finally sink in, I do not think this Committee is quite in that category. I merely say that for the reason that, should I repeat somehting that has already been said, in the circumstances, I hope the Committee will be indulgent and forgive me.

My mind is coloured by something said on the last Amendment by the noble Lord, Lord Silkin. For many years I was the Chairman of the Standing Committee on National Parks that agitated, in season and out of season, for the creation of national parks, and we were delighted beyond measure when the Labour Government of the day brought in the National Parks Bill in 1949. When Lord Silkin said this afternoon that it was well to remember the struggles which had taken place to provide the public parks and the public open spaces, I felt that that was a note which might well appeal to noble Lords in every part of this Committee. In particular, when the noble Lord, Lord Conesford, referred to Section 10 of the Open Spaces Act, 1906, I thought how these great boons, fought for so earnestly and for so many years, can so quickly and easily be taken away. This Bill expressly cites Section 10 of the Act of 1906, as the noble Lord, Lord Conesford, pointed out, and that section is framed in those important words: Open spaces in trust for the enjoyment of the public and for no other purpose. The framers of that Bill would certainly be profoundly astonished to think that that which was couched in that very expressive and impressive language should, in a clause of this nature in the Public Health Bill, just be cast on one side.

When it is said: "Well, we are taking only one acre or one-eighth of a public park", I think of that line of Milton: Besides what the grim wolf with privy paw Daily devours apace and nothing said. If you take your acre to-day, what is to prevent you from taking your acre again to-morrow? You have the perfect example, I think, in this very Bill, because in 1906 nobody would have conceived that land that was in trust for the enjoyment of the public and for no other purpose one day would be just swept away. What guarantee is there, if it be said: We will let you have this little piece; we will let the grim bad wolf "℄I hope it does not apply personally to anybody℄"have the one acre", that there will not come a moment when it is said: Now we will take another acre "?

I should like to make this quite clear. In those days about which I spoke, when we agitated for national parks, I hope I always tried to see the other side to the amenity side. The great cities needed water; and one was conscious that when, for example, in the Lake District they made their proposals to raise the level of Ennerdale Water or Hawes Water, the great cities had fo have water from somewhere. So to-day, while I think this Committee would do well to keep in mind the great problem that faces urban authorities in finding parking space for cars℄it is, I fully agree, one of the most urgent and most pressing problems which urban local authorities, in particular, have to meet℄yet still I feel, even with that knowledge, that this is not the way to meet it. To take public land of which we have far too little, as was quoted by the noble Lord. Lord Conesford, to ameliorate or to mitigate in some way the difficulty of parking is, in the submission which I make to this Committee, utterly wrong and improper.

I am bound to add this. I do not know quite what the answer of the Government is going to be about this matter. For my part, I cannot quite see that any amendment of this particular clause could be really acceptable. It seems to me to be one of those cases where you say you will give the power or you will not; it is as clear-cut as that. I would suggest, on all the facts of this case, that the proper answer is that we will not.

The other thing I should like to say is this. The clause itself contains all those safeguards which are normally to be met in a clause of this kind: the proposals must be made public; the Minister, if he thinks tit, can hold an inquiry, and so on. I think that those matters in a Bill of this kind are really quite illusory. Let us envisage this. All the steps have been taken and the Minister has said: "You may have your local public inquiry." There you are at the inquiry. What do you say? Those who represent the local authority get up and say, quite rightly" Our need is really desperate. One of the most pressing problems that we have to face is this question of providing parking space." And they will add: "Parliament, in its wisdom, has given the power to take land for this purpose." That is what will be said. They will bring their facts and those facts will not be able to be refuted; they cannot be contested. There is the problem.

The answer from the other side is the answer that I am making here before the Committee: Your problem is recognised. We have sympathy with your problem, but this is not the way to solve it." Then those who are presenting the case at the inquiry would say, would they not, "Parliament has given this power and would not have done so unless it was to be exercised. Here we come at this inquiry and put before you our dilemma and our needs, and we ask you to exercise the power that Parliament has given". It would be a difficult thing for any inquiry, whoever presided over it, to say: "We do not think this power ought to be exercised." Equally, it would be difficult for the Minister, when it comes before him, to say: "Despite your need, and despite the gravity of the problem, you: shall not have the land."

So I think, with great respect to the arguments which may be used on the other side, that this is a case where the Committee must make up their mind whether they are ready to give this power or whether they are not, with the consciousness that once having given the power we cast away some portion of that heritage of our open spaces which we ought, as lovers of the country, to do our utmost to preserve.

4.40 p.m.


I wish to say a few words in support of my noble friend's Amendment. I would start by saying that the circumstances of different places are so various that I think a wide, general power of this kind must be always very dangerous. I am acquainted with a locality where it is quite a common thing for the local proprietors, in order to help the local authority, to make land available for a public open space for children's playgrounds, or something like that, at a purely nominal sum. Sometimes it happens that in the course of time a new housing centre is built, and it becomes essential for the local authority to resume that land and to use it for building. The practice in this locality, at any rate, is that they re-convey the land to the proprietor in question. They probably get another piece of land a little later, and the land is then sold for building de novo. But the whole system goes on with great friendliness between the local authority and the proprietors, because it is quite understood how the thing will be treated. If a public open space, children's playground or whatever it might be, were taken over for parking under the powers conveyed in this Bill. I think it would poison that happy relationship.

Let me take another case. I am a trustee for a public open space which has been enjoyed since the seventeenth century under a deed of trust. It is highly valued by the whole of the community. It is a children's playground, and it is used for every kind of diversion. Recently, owing to the parking difficulties, I have had every sort and kind of pressure put upon me to give off a little portion of this valuable public open space for parking. I did my best. I allowed the trustees to grant a lease for ten years, in the hope that circumstances would change. But the pressure is so strong that it is practically irresistible, and the worst of it is that it is nearly always in a place which impairs the whole use of the land. I entirely agree with what the noble and learned Lord, Lord Birkett, has said, and I shall support the Amendment of my noble friend.


The places in which the demand for parking accommodation is greatest are, of course, the centres of cities, and it is precisely there that every assault on open space ought to be safeguarded. It has been the policy of Parliament, no matter what Party was in power, for several centuries to safeguard public open spaces and to prevent their being used for purposes other than the general enjoyment of the public. There have been cases in which public open spaces, or parts of them, have been diverted to other uses. In such cases it has been the practice of Parliament, in giving permission for that purpose, to require an equal amount of open space to be provided somewhere else. But there is no such provision in the clause which we have in front of us, and therefore the danger is quite acute that this practice will be adopted generally as an easy means of meeting the demand for parking spaces.

Curiously enough, this clause appears to be quite inconsistent with what I understand from recent speeches to be the policy of the Minister of Transport, because he has said quite clearly that people who want to park motor cars in the centre of cities ought to pay a full commercial price for it, and that that fact has to be borne in mind in the policy of getting motor cars off the public streets and parked elsewhere. But if that is the policy, it is perfectly clear that it ought to be the duty of the local authority, if it is going to provide parking spaces, to acquire other land for it, and not to use public parks and open spaces for the purpose, and that it should then charge a proper price in order to obtain a commercial return upon its expenditure. This clause is contradicting entirely the policy which appears to have been enunciated℄in my opinion, properly and justly℄by the Minister of Transport. I sincerely hope that the Government will accede to the arguments which have been put before the Committee this afternoon, and will agree to the deletion of this clause.


I have naturally listened with great attention and respect to the remarks of noble Lords who have contributed to this discussion. While I am under the influence of the advocacy of the noble and learned Lord, Lord Birkett, I am not sure that my judgment is quite what it should be. My doubts could be based on a number of arguments, and I think I ought to put them on record.

In the first place, of course, we know that local authorities make mistakes; and so, I believe (although I should not say it), does Parliament from time to time. But it is a great matter of public policy that local communities should be allowed to manage their own affairs, within limits and subject to proper safeguards, and that they should do so by means of powers conferred by Statute. What this Amendment, in substance, does is to say that this matter of open spaces is a matter of such overriding importance that local authorities are not to be allowed to manage their own affairs, even though what they do has the support of the Minister of Housing, and even though a public local inquiry has pronounced in their favour, unless of course they go to Parliament℄as I think 300 local authorities in one form or another have done℄and obtain the powers by local or private Act, which is an expensive and difficult procedure. Then, of course, they may do it.

Notwithstanding the fact that 300 local authorities have obtained these special powers by this procedure, I understand that there has been remarkably little complaint about the way in which those powers have been used. One would have expected that, had the clause involved the disastrous consequences suggested by the noble and learned Lord, Lord Cones-ford, in the exercise of these powers a certain amount of criticism would have been aroused. But I understand that this has not been so. I recognise, of course, as my noble and learned friend pointed out℄as he always does with great acuteness℄that to grant a general power to local authorities is different in principle from the procedure followed in the case of a Private Bill, whereby local authorities go to Parliament and argue the case on its specific merits; I think that point has a certain validity.

I was a little surprised to hear so little attention paid to the effect of local public opinion, which on the whole, I think, is something to be trusted in things of this kind, and also surprised to hear so little weight attached to the value of local public inquiries and the opinion of the Minister, particularly in this case. I have heard, and indeed, having lived a humbler life at the Bar than the noble and learned Lord on the Cross-Benches, have attended in various capacities, numbers of public local inquiries; and obviously where the Minister concerned is the Minister of the Department with a policy departmental interest in favour of a positive answer, one has a certain number of misgivings, which we try to meet one way or another by various safeguards and procedures which we discuss in Parliament from time to time. But in the present case, of course, the Ministry with the policy interest are the Ministry of Transport, and the Ministry who would give or withhold their consent are the Ministry of Housing, whose policy interest must be towards the preservation of an open space. I should have thought, bearing in mind that the statutory interest and departmental interest of the Ministry concerned would have been in favour of the preservation of an open space, that one should not lightly disregard that as a safeguard.

In those circumstances, I should have thought that the case for the Amendment was extremely doubtful. But I do bear in mind what my noble and learned friend, Lord Conesford, said, I think towards the conclusion of his remarks. It certainly is the intention of my right honourable friend that this Bill should be a Bill which includes not merely clauses which are right but clauses which are, at any rate to some extent, uncontroversial. I hope that this candid admission which was made by my noble friend at the last sitting at which this Bill was discussed in Committee will not be read too closely against me on any other Amendments which we may from time to time have to resist for the exclusion of particular clauses; otherwise we may have remarkably little left.

But I have listened very carefully to all the arguments presented, and I hope the Committee will think that, on the whole, I act wisely if, notwithstanding my own doubts, to which I have given candid expression, I say on behalf of the Government that I will accept the exclusion of this clause, provided that it is distinctly understood that I am not binding my right honourable friend the Minister of Transport in any private legislation which may subsequently be put forward by local authorities and also that my words about the desire of the Government not to include controversial clauses will not be taken down and used too much in evidence against me.


It only remains for me to thank my noble friend for what he has done and to say that I think that the reputation for wisdom of Her Majesty's Government will grow as a result of his action.

Clause 50 [Closing of parks and pleasure-grounds]:

4.55 p.m.

LORD SILKIN moved to leave out Clause 50. The noble Lord said: I beg to move the Amendment standing in my name. This clause permits the closing of parks and pleasure grounds for a limited period from time to time for the purpose of carrying on a show or other special purposes. I think that the practice of closing parks for short periods has been established in the past, although, so far as I know, there is no model clause dealing with this particular subject and it cannot be said that there are large numbers of local authorities which have Private Acts for the purpose. My objection to the clause is not to the principle. Again, I think there may be cases where it would be right to make preparations for holding a show in a park.

My objection is on two grounds: first, that it goes much too far, because it enables one-quarter of the total area of open spaces within the area of a local authority to be closed at one time, and I think that that is quite an inordinate amount to take; secondly, that it may be closed for a consecutive period of six days rather than four, as at present. And in computing any such period of six consecutive days, a Saturday and the following Monday shall be regarded as consecutive days".

So in practice one might get more than six days during which the ground is closed. I should be quite content if the noble Lord could give me an assurance similar to the one he gave me on the Amendment I moved earlier; namely, that he will look at the details of this clause again, see whether he does not agree that one-quarter is too much to close down at any one time, whether the six days are really necessary, and whether he would not be content with what is the present practice. I beg to move.

Amendment moved℄ Leave out Clause 50.℄(Lord Silkin.)


May I support what the noble Lord has just said on one point on which I, in common with other noble Lords, have heard from the Commons, Open Spaces and Footpaths Preservation Society? They agree with his criticism that one-quarter is too great, and they suggest that a better figure would be one-eighth.


I shall be very happy to give the assurance for which the noble Lord, Lord Silkin, has asked. I shall look once again at the particular parts of this clause to which he has referred. I think the figure of one-quarter has been given to meet certain needs, if it is a large function or something of that description, and the idea of increasing it from four days to six days was really for the purpose of having a function for a full week. I think the only idea was to enable the local authorities to fit in their programme, or whatever entertainment they have, more easily with the week, and perhaps to have larger functions. But I am happy to give an assurance to look at the particular parts of this clause.


With that assurance, I beg leave to withdraw the Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 50 agreed to.

Clause 51 agreed to.

Clause 52 [Charges in cases exempted under s. 4 of Act of 1937]:

LORD JESSEL moved, in subsection (2) after "such" [charges] to insert "reasonable". The noble Lord said: Clause 52 empowers local authorities to specify charges in respect of those trade effluents which so far have been exempt from charges℄that is, effluents which were lawfully discharged prior to March, 1937. As these charges are to be imposed for the first time and they are old-established cases, I suggest that it is essential they should be reasonable in addition to being specified. By that I mean sufficiently described as to make them fully understandable. Perhaps I can give an example of what I consider reasonable and unreasonable. I think it is unreasonable to ask a user to pre-treat an effluent if it is impossibly expensive, and I think it would be reasonable for a new user, if he were asked by the local authority to contribute to standing charges for bringing a sewage works up to date, to be told exactly how his contribution was arrived at. I hope the Minister will be able to put in this little word for me. I beg to move.

Amendment moved℄ Page 40, line 42, after (" such ") insert (" reasonable ").℄(Lord Jessel.)


This matter has been looked at very carefully. It is felt that the insertion here is really unnecessary. The subsection lays down a basis on which charges can be specified for exempted effluents, and these are referable to the Minister on appeal. It goes without saying that the Minister will apply the test of reasonableness. It may, perhaps, be argued that the word, although unnecessary, does no harm, but that is not certain. There may be unfortunate implications if it is inserted here and omitted from other provisions in the Bill conferring powers on local authorities. It will be a natural presumption that there is a reason for such a difference, and the result would, to say the least, be rather confusing. I think it is better to avoid these complications, and I am afraid that the Government cannot accept this Amendment.


I personally cannot see any harm in putting the word in the Bill, but at this stage I beg leave to withdraw my Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

5.3 p.m.


Under the Act of 1937 a charge when specified in a consent granted by local authority for the discharge of a particular trade effluent could not be varied. This Bill seeks to remove this anomaly. But I suggest that the provisions of Clause 52 (2) go too far the other way and empower the local authority from time to time to revise charges. I think it would be unreasonable for a local authority, having given a direction on charges for an effluent previously exempted, suddenly to give another direction almost immediately afterwards. In the Manchester Corporation Act, 1956, power was given to vary the otherwise fixed and specified charges, provided that there was a three year interval. I am told that this precedent℄I should say sound precedent "℄is doing extremely well in Manchester, and I suggest that three years is a fair period for the charge to operate without revision. I beg to move.

Amendment moved℄ Page 41, line 3, after (" time ") insert (" not being less than three years from the date of the last direction ").℄(Lord Jessel.)


The objects of this Amendment and those which Lord Jessel will move to Clause 57 (1) are to provide a minimum period of three years, during which a local authority would be prevented from varying e Charges they may have imposed on exempted effluents under this clause, and varying the conditions including charges which they may have attached to their consents and which they are now being given power to vary under Clause 57 (1). The noble Lord will no doubt claim that a trader who is to be subjected to the new charges or the variations in conditions permitted in these two clauses should at least have some assurance that changes will not be made to often.

On the other hand, the local authorities have their point of view, namely, that the charges and the other conditions, which they are now being allowed to impose and vary, must be reasonably variable as circumstances may alter in the future. It is not altogether easy to reconcile these different points of view. I understand that the Federation of British Industries are having some discussions with some of the representatives of local authorities and that something may be agreed between them. If that is so, I have no doubt it may well be acceptable also to my right honourable friend and to Parliament. But in the meantime perhaps the noble Lord will withdraw his Amendment, on the understanding that some provision of this kind may be inserted at a later stage. In any event, these Amendments, to be consistent, would need some extension. Clause 54 gives the local authority another power to vary its directions, and logically that power should be limited in the same way.


I thank the noble Lord for his reply, and naturally, in view of his assurances, I beg leave to withdraw my Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

5.7 p.m.

LORD HAWKE moved to add to subsection (2): provided that the local authority, in a direction specifying charges under this subsection, shall have regard either to the value of the by-products recovered at the sewage works of the authority or to the cost of recovering the by-products from that particular trade effluent.

The noble Lord said: On behalf of my noble friend Lord Barnby, who much regrets that he is unable to be in England at the moment, I beg leave to move his Amendment. In 1956 there was appointed a sub-committee to the Central Advisory Water Committee, to consider, among other things, the various anomalies arising out of the laws regarding the discharge of trade effluents into local authority sewers. The Committee agreed that it was advisable that all these effluents should go into the local sewers but that the existing system, that those who acquired a right to do so before 1937 should put the stuff in free whereas those who only came on the scene after 1937 had to pay, was an anomaly, and they recommended that all should pay. This clause of the Bill is an attempt to carry out their recommendation. In fact, they recommended that local authorities should be authorised to make reasonable charges℄note the word "reasonable"℄for treating trade effluent and to vary these charges having regard to the cost of such treatment. Clause 52 is presumably intended to implement this recommendation. But the local authorities are instructed in respect of charges to have regard only to any additional expense incurred or likely to be incurred.

Under the former system, the Trade Premises Act, 1937, recognised that it was most difficult to cover in one general Statute the wide variations in the nature and composition of trade effluents and the method of treatment, and it was left to the local authorities to administer the provisions of the Act through bylaws which had to be submitted to the Minister for approval after they had been discussed with designated bodies of traders within the area of the local authority. So that any charges that were going to be levied there quite clearly arose only as the result of by-laws already discussed between the local authority and the people who knew all about the effluent. In this case, that provision is not in this Bill; the local authorities are the sole arbiters of the expense incurred, and the only redress a trader has is an appeal to the Minister as to the reasonableness or not of the charge in any particular case.

This is a cumbersome and most irksome procedure, particularly for a small firm which never particularly likes to get involved in appeals to a Minister, and so on. These provisions are particularly disquieting to the wool textile industry of the West Riding of Yorkshire. As your Lordships know, "Where there's muck, there's money", and the effluents discharged into the sewers of the local authorities of the West Riding contain a lot of very valuable by-products, such as lanoline, fertilisers and so on, and some of these I understand get worked up into most valuable products such as ladies' face cream and the like. The wool textile industry maintain that in view of the great value of these by-products it is only right that, when charges come to be calculated for receiving their effluent into sewers, due regard should be had to the exceedingly valuable content of this effluent which is extracted by the local authorities.

It seems a reasonable point, and the industry suggest, therefore, that in determining the expense incurred, or likely to be incurred, the local authority shall take into account either the receipts from the sales of the by-products or the cost attributable solely to the recovery of these by-products. The one would work out to the advantage of the local authority if they were running the byproduct business at a loss, and the other if they were running it at a profit. As the Bill stands, we believe that it does not carry out the recommendations of the Armer Committee to their full extent. The purpose of this Amendment is to implement the full recommendations of that Committee. I beg to move.

Amendment proposed℄ Page 41, line 4, at end insert the said proviso. ℄(Lord Hawke.)


This Amendment is presumably meant to ensure that a local authority in fixing their charges shall take account of the value of the byproduct they can recover from whatever it is made into. There is nothing wrong with this in principle, but it is really unnecessary, as Clauses 52 and 56 already do what is necessary and, as now drafted, provide that a local authority in fixing charges shall take into account besides the nature of the effluent any additional expense incurred or likely to be incurred. That expense is unquestionably net expense: that is to say, the revenue from effluent should be set off against the expenditure. If a local authority were so unreasonable as to ignore a factor of this kind, the Minister, on appeal, would have to put that right.

The noble Lord, Lord Hawke, is quite right that the number of places where there is something valuable in the effluent is very small; but it does occur in the wool textile industry. From the information I have, I believe there are only three places in the whole of the country where this occurs. It is not a big question, and there are only a handful of cases. We believe the Bill makes sufficient provision for them. Apart from these objections, the Amendments are slightly defective in drafting, too. For those reasons Her Majesty's Government are not prepared to accept this Amendment.


I thank my noble friend for his explanation, and naturally we shall value his assurance that "any additional expense" means net expenditure; but may I ask whether, if we come forward at the next stage of the Bill with an Amendment to insert the word "net", the noble Lord will accept it?


When the noble Lord brings it forward I will certainly look at it.


I shall have to consider the whole question. At this stage I beg leave to withdraw my Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.


This Amendment should be read in conjunction with Amendment No. 75. I do not mind subsection (8) of Clause 52, but my contention is that it does not go far enough. I have the Armer Committee to support me there, because they stated that sufficient grounds had not been shown for giving statutory authority to abrogate contracts between traders and local authorities. Subsection (8) deals only with agreements affecting previously exempt effluents℄that is, effluents discharged prior to March, 1937; so we have a gap between that date and the coming into force of the Act resulting from this Bill. I believe that that gap should be looked after, so that agreements shall not be broken, and I believe my Amendment No. 75 does that. It should also be remembered that while some of the agreements contain a provision for charges, in some cases they do not. But here the trader has usually given some valuable consideration℄say, the installation of pre-treatment plant, and generally better control of his effluent. I beg to move.

Amendment proposed℄ Page 41, line 35, leave out subsection (8).℄(Lord Jessel.)


The Armer Report in paragraph 113, in recommending that charges should be imposed on "exempted" effluents, made an exception for effluents where there is a contract between the local authority and the trader". Subsection (8) of Clause 52 accordingly provides that no Charges shall be payable under the clause where charges are already payable under an agreement. I take it that the Amendment is to be read with the new clause to which the noble Lord has just referred, which he wishes to insert after Clause 67. The united objective of those Amendments is presumably to ensure that the charging powers conferred by the Bill are not to be available where there is any kind of agreement℄that is, without the qualification in Clause 52 (8).

Evidently, the noble Lord thinks the subsection is not wide enough, but he can be assured that it was framed with care to include the genuine agreements and to exclude what the sub-committee had not got in mind. The case in which no charges can be imposed under the clause is that in which, under an agreement between local authority and trader, charges are payable to the local authority for the discharge of trade effluents for any period. That is unquestionably what the sub-committee meant℄that a trader who had already covenanted to pay a charge for an exempted effluent should not be disturbed. The whole of Clause 52, of course, is dealing with exempted effluent.

It was not enough to say there shall be no new charges where there is any agreement. There are "agreements" between traders and local authorities in which the two parties agree as a matter of mutual convenience that a certain volume was in fact the maximum discharged on any one day during the twelve months before the Act of 1937, and that a certain rate was the highest rate of discharge during that period. These factors are relevant to determining the extent of the exemption under Section 4 of the Act of 1937. No payment is made. It is essentially an agreement on facts that have been in dispute. It is for these reasons that I am unable to accept the Amendment put down by the noble Lord.


It is a complicated subject. I think I am convinced by my noble friend's answer, but I am not quite sure. In the meantime I beg leave to withdraw my Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 52 agreed to.

Clause 53 agreed to.

Clause 54 [Installation of inspection chambers and meters on exempted premises]:

5.20 p.m.


Here, again, I want to insert the word "reasonably", but for a very different reason. The point of my Amendment is that meters are not the only way in which the quantity of trade effluent can be measured. In practice, the volume of trade effluent may often, with sufficient accuracy, be calculated from the volume of water supplied to premises. The wholesale use of meters would be a burden in some cases, and the Amendment is designed to permit alternative procedure. I beg to move.

Amendment moved℄ Page 42, line 21, before (" be ") insert (" reasonably ").℄(Lord Jessel.)


I should like to tell the noble Lord, Lord Jessel, that I will have a look at the point he has raised on this Amendment.


I am grateful for that assurance, and with the leave of the Committee I will withdraw my Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 54 agreed to.

Clause 55 agreed to.

Clause 56 [Conditions which may be attached to consents under Act of 1937]:


The opening part of subsection (1) of Clause 56 states that the following matters, on which conditions may be attached in the consent, correspond, subject to minor variations, to the matters set out in subsection (1) of the said section five",℄ meaning Section 5 of the Act of 1937. My Amendment refers to paragraph (e) of subsection (1) of Clause 56, which corresponds to paragraph (f) of subsection (1) of Section 5 of the 1937 Act, with the important difference that formerly the power to make charges was in respect of specified charges, whereas the Bill now under consideration omits the word specified". This may be a mistake. Charges for trade effluents are a very complex subject, because the cost of treating and disposing of particular trade effluent when mixed with all the other trade effluents and domestic sewage of the district is difficult to define. There are ways and means of doing this, even though they tend to be rough, practical approximations. I submit that the person who is called upon to pay a charge should be told as plainly as possible what the charge is by its being specified in the condition of consent of the effluent. I beg to move.

Amendment moved℄ Page 44. line 5, after the first (" of ") insert (" specified ").℄(Lord Jessel.)


I agree with the noble Lord, Lord Jessel, that these are very complicated matters. But Clause 56 empowers a local authority to attach conditions to consents, one of them being (in Clause 56 (1) (e)) charges for receiving the effluent into the sewer. The insertion of the word "specified" before "charges" seems to serve no useful purpose. Clearly a charge must be specified by the local authority and reviewed by the Minister. I understand that the Federation of British Industries may con- ceivably be disturbed because Clause 56 (1) (c) allows the local authority to make a condition eliminating a specified constituent from the effluent before it enters the sewer℄while the word is not used in subsection (1) (e). But the two paragraphs are not comparable. In subsection (1) (c) the word is needed. The local authority are to specify one constituent amongst many and exclude it. They are not to have a general power to exclude any (unspecified) constituent at any time. But in subsection (1) (e) they cannot make charges without specifying them.

Alternatively, my noble friend, Lord Jessel may have in mind the wording of Section 5 (1)(f) of the Act of 1937: … byelaws may provide… for requiring … occupiers of trade premises… to pay such charge… as may be specified in the byelaws) and the wording of Clause 52 (2) of the Bill: A local authority may direct… that… the occupier shall pay such charges… as the local authority may… specify in the direction… But the fact that "specified" and "specify" are used in these contexts does not necessarily mean that "specified" is needed in Clause 56 (1) (e); and its omission from Clause 56 (1) (e) does not, in the Minister's view, enlarge the scope of a local authority's charging powers. For these reasons I ask the Committee not to accept the Amendment.


I shall have to read that reply later at my leisure. In the meantime, I beg leave to withdraw the Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.


Amendment No. 61A is consequential on the last one I moved, and I move it formally.

Amendment moved℄ Page 44, line 12, at end insert℄ (" Provided that the local authority, in a condition specifying charges under this subsection, shall have regard either to the value of the by-products recovered at the sewage works of the authority or to the cost of recovering the by-products from that particular trade effluent ").℄(Lord Hawke.)


For the reasons I gave on the earlier clause, the Government cannot accept this Amendment.


I beg leave to withdraw it.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.


To make sense of this Amendment it should be read in conjunction with Amendments Nos. 73 and 74 which I have on the Marshalled List, especially No. 74 which gives a definition of "approved apparatus". It says: Approved apparatus' means apparatus approved by the Minister". I am told that paragraph (a) of subsection (2) of this Clause 56 is entirely novel, and, while its object is a proper one, the difficulty is that the apparatus referred to is not defined, and there are good grounds for thinking that much of the apparatus the paragraph could be held to cover does not exist. I am also told that a distinction must be made between thorough examination of an effluent, which may be made in a laboratory, and any apparatus to be installed on the effluent plant to achieve the purpose of the paragraph outside a laboratory. Such apparatus is likely to be costly and difficult to maintain and to require the most expert supervision. My Amendment seeks approval of the Minister of Housing and Local Government to any apparatus which the local authority might require. I think that this is a safeguard for the user. I beg to move.

Amendment moved℄ Page 44. line 24, after (" of ") insert ("approved ").℄(Lord Jessel.)


The word "approved" is not defined in this clause. But the noble Lord's Amendment to Clause 64 is supplemented. as he said, by a definition that 'Approved apparatus' means apparatus approved by the Minister". Presumably the word has the same meaning here. I am not quite clear what is expected of my right honourable friend. Is he in some way to "approve" the apparatus before the local authority impose it as a condition? That could be done only by way of some general published list of "Approved appliances for determining this and that". That might well be confusing. Would it be possible to draw up a list with such clarity that it would be crystal clear to local authority and trader what was "approved" in any particular circumstances℄or whether any- thing was approved at all? It is very doubtful, and who would get the benefit of the doubt? It might not be the trader. The existence of the list might encourage some local authorities to require apparatus in cases where it was not really needed℄and require the trader to appeal to the Minister. And my right honourable friend might be embarrassed in exercising his appellant jurisdiction by misapplied quotations from his own approved list. The purpose of this Amendment is obscure, and that fact can only make it objectionable. I must ask the Committee on this occasion not to accept the Amendment.


If the purpose of the Amendment is obscure I must ask leave of the Committee to withdraw it.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 56 agreed to.

Clause 57 [Power to vary conditions]:

5.30 p.m.


This Amendment is consequential. Clause 57 empowers a local authority to vary any of their conditions of consent, whether for charges, for technical conditions or otherwise. All such conditions were previously unalterable, under the Act of 1937; and, while we agree that variation is reasonable, it is not fair that the local authority, having imposed such conditions, should be empowered to vary them at any time. I should like to refer once more to the Manchester Corporation Act, 1956, about which I have already spoken, and I suggest that, here again, a period of three years would be fair. Having heard my noble friend's answer to my previous Amendment on these lines, I can anticipate what his answer is going to be. I beg to move.

Amendment moved℄ Page 44, line 38, after (" may ") leave out (" at any time ").℄(Lord Jessel.)


My noble friend is quite right. Our opinion on this Amendments is the same as that set out in the answer that I gave on Clause 52; and for the reasons then given the Government cannot accept this Amendment.


I beg leave to withdraw this Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 57 agreed to.

Clause 58 [Appeals under s. 3 of Act of 1937]:


My noble friend Lord Broughshane is unable to be present at the moment, and he has asked me to say on his behalf that he does not wish to move the Amendment in his name.

Clause 58 agreed to.

Clause 59 [Postponement of right to discharge trade effluents in special cases]:


With the permission of the House, I should like to take Amendments Nos. 67 and 68 together. Throughout the Act of 1937 and in Part V of this Bill, the reference is to the "owner or occupier" of trade premises. Subsection (2) of Clause 59 refers solely to the occupier of the trade premises, and it is suggested that this could prejudice the owner's position℄if, for example, the present occupier were to vacate the premises in favour of the owner, and the owner were to be served with a trade effluent notice not to commence discharging a new trade effluent after the present occupier had left the premises. I beg to move.

Amendment moved℄ Page 46, line 29, after first (" the") insert (" owner or ").℄(Lord Jessel.)


The purpose of this Amendment is not altogether clear. The noble Lord, Lord Jessel, may have in mind the wording of Section 2 (3), of the Act of 1937, which provides that a local authority may give a direction to "the owner or occupier, as the case may be" of the premises in question℄ that is, to the person who served the trade effluent notice. There may therefore be some merit in the idea behind the Amendment. The proposed wording is not quite satisfactory, but I should be very happy to take this back and to have another look at it.


I am grateful for my noble friend's answer, and beg leave to withdraw the Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 59 agreed to.

Clause 60 agreed to.

Clause 61 [Power to extend Act of 1937 to other effluents]:


This is an Amendment for clarification, to leave no doubt that the Minister may by order deal in terms, within the clause, only with any effluent which is discharged into public sewers. As the clause relates to the Act of 1937 and Part V of the Bill, it should not be competent for the Minister to make an order for any liquid or other matter which is discharged from any premises other than to public sewers. If your Lordships will look at the Explanatory Memorandum, at the bottom of the first page, you will see that reference is made merely to public sewers. I hope the Minister will clear up this point for me. I beg to move.

Amendment moved℄ Page 48, line 14, after ("premises ") insert ("into public sewers ").℄(Lord Jessel.)


This Amendment appears to be purely a drafting Amendment. The Act of 1937 and Part V of the Bill relate only to the discharge of trade effluent into public sewers, and it is not intended that under Clause 61 other discharges℄that is, discharges not made to public sewers℄should be brought under control. I am happy to remove any doubt there may be on that score by accepting the Amendment.


This Amendment makes it clear that orders under Clause 61 of the Bill shall be made by statutory instrument. The clause, in effect, empowers the Minister of Housing and Local Government by order to include within the description of "trade effluent" any discharge of waste matter not already covered by the special provisions governing trade effluents. Subsection (5) of the clause also provides that such orders shall become effective only after being approved by a resolution of each House. I beg to move.

Amendment moved℄ Page 48, line 30, at beginning insert (" An order under this section shall be made by statutory instrument and ").℄{Lord Brecon.)

Clause 61, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 62 agreed to.

Clause 63 [Appeals to the Minister]:


This Amendment is linked with Amendment No. 72, and it will be convenient, with your Lordships' permission, to consider them both at the same time. Subsection (2) of Clause 63 provides that, where a decision is taken by the Minister on an appeal connected with this part of the Bill, the Minister's decision shall apply as if in all respects it had been the decision of the local authority itself. These two Amendments repair a slight omission in the drafting so as to ensure that this is also the position when the Minister, on an appeal against conditions attached to a consent, imposes a condition as part of his decision on appeal. I beg to move.

Amendment moved℄ Page 50, line 7, after (" given ") insert (", or condition imposed ").℄(Lord Brecon.)


I beg to move.

Amendment moved℄ Page 50, line 10, after (" given ") insert (" or, as the case may be. the condition had been imposed ")℄(Lord Brecon.)

Clause 63, as amended, agreed to.

Clauses 64 to 67 agreed to.

5.40 p.m.

LORD JESSEL moved, after Clause 67 to insert the following new clause:

Unjustified disclosures of Information

".If any person discloses any information relating to any manufacturing process or trade secret used in carrying on any particular undertaking which has been furnished to or obtained by him under this Act or in connection with the execution thereof, he shall, unless the disclosure is made

  1. (a) with the consent of the person carrying on that undertaking; or
  2. (b) in connection with the execution of this Act; or
  3. (c) for the purposes of any legal proceedings arising out of this Act or of any report of such proceedings,
be guilty of an offence."

The noble Lord said: Clause 1 (3) of this Bill states that: Part V of the Bill shall he construed as one with the Public Health (Drainage of Trade Premises) Act, 1937….

Section 14 (2) of the latter Act states that the 1937 Act shall be construed as one with the Public Health Act, 1936, there referred to as the principal Act. Section 287 (5) of the Public Health Act, 1936, will therefore apply to the provisions of this Bill in the same way as it applies, for example, to Section 10 of the 1927 Act. Section 287 (5) reads as follows: If any person who in compliance with the provisions of this section or of a warrant issued thereunder is admitted into a factory, workshop or workplace discloses to any person any information obtained by him in the factory, workshop or workplace with regard to any manufacturing process or trade secret, he shall, unless such disclosure was made in the performance of his duty, he liable to a fine not exceeding one hundred pounds or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding three months,

At first sight, this penalty provision appears to be sufficiently wide to provide an effective deterrent. However, I am told that this is not so, because the information that it protects is limited to that obtained in a factory or workshop, whereas the information required under this Bill, by reason of Section 9 of the 1937 Act and this Bill, would be sent 'by the factory occupier to the local authority, and there might be no necessity for an official of the latter to set foot inside the factory at all.

The new clause which I have moved in my Amendment, which is taken verbatim from Section 26 of the Clean Air Act, 1956, has the following advantages over Section 287 (5) of the Public Health Act, 1936. First of all, it protects information, however obtained. Secondly, an official of the local authority would be subject to the penalty. Thirdly, the information covered by this clause would include details of effluents. Fourthly, the clause contains a clear statement of the offence. And fifthly, any discharger who is injured by an unjustified disclosure may institute proceedings in respect of the contravention under Section 298 of the Public Health Act, 1936. I beg to move.

Amendment moved℄

After Clause 67, insert the following new clause℄

(" Unjustified disclosures of Information

.If any person discloses any information relating to any manufacturing Process or trade secret used in carrying on any particular undertaking which has been furnished to or obtained by him under this Act or in connection with She execution thereof, he shall, unless the disclosure is made

  1. (a) with the consent of the person carrying on that undertaking; or
  2. (b) in connection with the execution of this Act; or
  3. (c) for the purposes of any legal proceedings arising out of this Act or of any report of such proceedings,
be guilty of an offence.") ℄(Lord Jessel.)


The proposed new clause is repeating exactly, as the noble Lord has just said, the wording of Section 26 of the Clean Air Act, 1956. Certain provisions about the disclosure of information with regard to manufacturing processes and trade secrets are contained in Section 287 (5) of the Public Health Act, 1936. They will apply to disclosure of any information obtained under the Bill in the circumstances there envisaged ℄namely, the entry upon premises of authorised officers of the authority concerned. The proposed new clause duplicates these provisions, but it goes further in dealing not merely with information which has been "obtained by" any person concerned, but also with information "furnished to" him.

So far as the Bill provides in Clauses 54 (1) (e) and 56 (2) (c) for the making of returns and the giving of certain information by traders to local authorities, I am in sympathy with the suggestion, which has been made on behalf of industry, that some wider power than that contained in Section 287 (5) may be desirable to cover the disclosure of information from these additional sources. On the other hand, I am not quite sure how far the exact provisions of Section 26 of the Clean Air Act are appropriate to this Bill. If the noble Lord were to agree to withdraw his Amendment, I should be glad to consider how we could meet the point of substance with which, as I have said, the Government are in sympathy.


I am grateful to my noble friend for his reply. He obviously appreciates the need for wider powers, and that is really all I want. As he has undertaken to look at this matter again, I beg leave to withdraw my Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clauses 68 and 69 agreed to.

Clause 70 [Power to reduce numbers of pigeons and other birds in built-up areas.]:

On Question, Whether Clause 70 shall stand part of the Bill?


I do not expect the Government to give an answer now, but I am wondering whether they ought to consider if the powers they are giving to local authorities in this matter are not a little too wide and not quite closet), enough defined. We all realise that removing starlings particularly, or pigeons, from built-up areas is anything but a simple task, and it might be that the process would cause as much nuisance as the birds themselves. However, my main concern is subsection (2), where the authorities merely have to believe that doves or pigeons have no owner. I am wondering how far consideration has been given to the position of carrier pigeons. I do not know whether they are covered by this particular subsection, whether some further precaution is necessary, or whether some cautionary phrase might be added to ensure that an enthusiastic pigeon catcher, who would probably be able to distinguish them, did not in fact do something which might cause serious regret to an owner. I do not know whether the Government can answer me now, but I wanted to make that point.


I cannot give an answer to that question straight away, but where there is a large congregation of pigeons I suppose it would be very difficult to say who were the owners. Normally these pigeons will be dealt with, I presume, at the time they roost, which is at night time, and in their homes. However, I will certainly look into this matter.

Clause 71 [Byelaws as to pleasure fairs and roller skating rinks]:


Clause 71 of this Bill, which is based on model clause No. 95, gives local authorities the power to make by-laws for the purposes set out in subsection (1). Subsection (6) of the clause gives to local authorities the power of entry conferred in Section 287 of the Public Health Act, 1936. That section sets out the circumstances in which a right of entry may be exercised and deals with safeguards and enforcement. Section 287 (1) (a) provides, however, that a local authority may enter premises to find out whether by-laws are being observed only if it is the duty of the authority to enforce those by-laws. If it is not their duty to enforce them, then the authority have no power to enter the premises under Section 287 of the Act of 1936. The purpose of this Amendment, therefore, is to complete the power of entry intended to be given by subsection (6) of the clause by including these by-laws among those which it is the authority's duty to enforce. I beg to move.

Amendment moved℄ Page 52, line 28, at end insert℄ ("and it shall be the duty of the local authority to enforce byelaws made by them under this section.")℄(Lord Brecon.)


If these words are really necessary. I do no: want to say anything against them, but it astonishes me to find local authorities being given the power to make by-laws without also having the power to enforce them. It is the first time that I have come across this form of words in any Statute. Though I do not ask the noble Lord to give me an answer, I should be grateful if I could be informed whether there is any precedent for these words and whether the granting of authority to make by-laws does not ipso facto contain within it power to enforce them.


I will certainly meet the noble Lord's request and let him have some information on this point.


This clause gives local authorities powers to make by-laws to control the hours at which pleasure grounds and local skating rinks shall be open and to provide that they are run in a decent and sanitary manner. The clause gives a long list of the various entertainments which are to be covered by the clause but does not include bowling alleys. They are of comparatively new appearance, from America. There is nothing at all to suggest that they are not properly run and operated, and there is no objection to them at all, but I think it would be simpler to make the by-laws cover bowling alleys as well as the other varying forms of entertainment are covered. I beg to move.

Amendment moved℄ Page. 53, line 9, after (" galleries ") insert (", bowling alleys ")℄(Lord Amulree.)


I am convinced by what the noble Lord has said, and am prepared to accept the Amendment.


This Amendment, if carried, would permit a local authority to make by-laws or to apply existing by-laws to entertainments where the profits are devoted to a charitable purpose. I am advised that the exemption contained in this subsection is not included in many local Acts, and frankly I do not think that the exemption is necessary or desirable. I admit that there may be difficulties about defining a charitable purpose. Many local authorities let a town hall or park or open space free of charge to organisations who wish to hold a function for a charitable purpose. But I put it to the Minister that if the local authority have no power to apply their existing by-laws or any by-laws made in future to any function or entertainment run for charitable purposes, then these functions will be excluded from the operation of the by-laws. I submit for consideration that local authorities who, in the past, have let premises free of charge to organisations who wish to hold a function for a charitable purpose℄ I know that we did it in East Ham frequently℄may be reluctant to do so, seeing that they will have no power of any sort of control. I beg to move.

Amendment moved℄ Page 53, line 24, leave out from (" days ") to end of line 26.℄(Lord Burden.)


The purpose of subsection (4) (d), which the noble Lord seeks to, delete, is to exempt charitable entertainments from the operation of by-laws made under the clause. If the Amendment were accepted, church bazaars and gardens parties, and perhaps other harmless occasions. which we have removed from the main purpose of the clause, would be brought under the by-laws. There are some local Acts at present which do not exempt entertainments for charitable purposes, but all recent local Acts on this point have included exemption similar to this, and it appears in the model clauses. I suggest that the right thing to do is to leave paragraph (d) in the Bill unchanged. For these reasons, I would recommend to the House not to accept the Amendment.


I have no desire to press this Amendment hut I would issue a word of warning to the Minister. He may find that the scope of this exemption is far 'wider than church 'bazaars, garden parties and desirable things of that kind. Many organisations use council premises and town halls free of charge. I suggest that this may not be a good clause in the interests of the promoters of charitable functions. But the responsibility for that is not on my head: it is on the head of the Government. With that warning, I beg leave to withdraw the Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 71, as amended, agreed to.

LORD BRECONmoved, after Clause 71 to insert the following new clause:

Byelaws as to seaside pleasure boats

".℄(1) For the prevention of danger, obstruction. or annoyance to persons bathing in the sea or using the seashore, a local authority may make byelaws℄

  1. (a) regulating the speed of pleasure boats;
  2. (b) regulating the use of pleasure boats so as to prevent their navigation in a dangerous manner or without due care and attention or without reasonable consideration for other persons;
  3. (c) requiring the use of effectual silencers on pleasure boats propelled by internal combustion engines.

(2) The Secretary of State shall be the confirming authority as respect byelaws made under this section.

(3) Any byelaw may be made under this section so as to have effect not only within the district of the local authority but also within a distance seaward from that district not exceeding one thousand yards from low-water mark of ordinary spring tides; and any offence against any such byelaw committed within that distance may be inquired into and dealt with as if it had been committed within the district of the local authority.

(4) If and in so far as any byelaw made under this section is inconsistent with any byelaw made by any dock undertakers, the latter shall prevail."

The noble Lord said: This new clause has been put down because there is a clear need to exercise some form of control over the growing number of motor boats now used. It gives local authorities the power to make by-laws dealing with the speed and use of pleasure boats and the fitting of silencers.

Under Section 231 of the Public Health Act, 1936, local authorities already have power to make by-laws to regulate, among other things, the navigation of vessels used for pleasure purposes in areas set aside for public bathing. The power in the new clause is an extension of the existing provision, but it goes further in a number of ways. It is not confined, for instance, to preventing danger but aims also at reducing annoyance℄that is, from noise. Nor does it have only bathers in contemplation; it is for the benefit of all persons using the seashore. By-laws made under this clause would be confirmed by the Home Secretary, who is also the confirming authority for by-laws made under Section 231 of the Public Health Act, 1936. It is largely because the Home Secretary has received a number of representations on this subject that the clause has now been brought forward.

The clause is based on provisions which are already contained in a number of local Acts. There are, in fact, two model clauses on the point (Nos. 98 and 99), though these have not been followed exactly. Model clause No. 98 deals with the keeping and landing of boats along the seashore, and also provides for a licensing system affecting boats kept on any part of the seashore owned by the local authority. Many boats nowadays are brought by trailer and are not necessarily kept permanently on or near the water, so the provisions about licensing appear unnecessary in relation to the main purpose of this clause. Model Clause 99 makes by-laws effective up to a limit of three miles from low water mark. This distance seems too great for bylaws such as these, though it may be appropriate in other circumstances. The figure of 1,000 yards has been adopted instead. Neither the existing precedents nor this clause would affect boats other than pleasure boats, and it will be noted that subsection (4) saves the application of by-laws made by dock undertakers. I beg to move.

Amendment moved℄ After Clause 71, insert the said new clause.℄(Lord Brecon.)


The noble Lord spoke about motor boats: do "pleasure boats" also include yachts℄in particular, catamarans?


The clause deals with speed and noise, and I do not think that a yacht travels so fast or makes a noise.


But my point is whether the definition is satisfactory. The Amendment speaks about "pleasure boats". The noble Lord perhaps does not know it, but a catamaran moves at a prodigious speed.


I saw them at the Motor Show and know about them. If the noble Lord would like me to look at that definition to see if it covers the type of boat that the clause wants to cover℄that is, those that make a terrific noise and those that go at terrific speed ℄I will certainly do so.


There is, in fact, no definition of "pleasure boat" in this clause. In view of what my noble friend has just said, I think it would be desirable to have a clearer definition of what is meant.


As I say, I will have a look at. it.


Does the noble Lord mean to include yachts and small pleasure boats of that nature?


That is the point. I do not know that it is at all desirable. I hoped that yachts would not be included; and I have only a slight reservation about catamarans.

6.2 p.m.

LORD AMULREE moved, after Clause 71 to insert the following new clause:

Hairdressers and barbers

"℄(1) As from the day on which this section conies into force in the district of a local authority, a person shall not carry on the business of a hairdresser or barber on premises occupied by him unless he is registered by the local authority under this section and the premises are so registered.

(2) On application in that behalf made to the local authority by any person for the registration of the applicant or of any premises, and, if the application relates to premises, on his furnishing them with particulars of the premises, the local authority shall register the applicant or the premises and issue to the applicant a certificate of registration.

(3) The local authority may make byelaws for the purpose of securing℄

  1. (a) the cleanliness of premises registered under this section and of the instruments, towels, materials and equipment used therein, and
  2. (b) the cleanliness of the hairdressers or barbers working in such premises in regard to both themselves and their clothing.

(4) if any person carries on business in contravention of subsection (1) of this section. he shall be liable to a fine not exceeding twenty pounds.

(5) If a person registered under this section contravenes or fails to comply with any byelaw made under subsection (3) of this section, the court by which he is convicted may, instead of or in addition to imposing a fine, order the suspension or cancellation of his registration, and of the registration of the premises in which the offence was committed, if they are occupied by him.

(6) If the court directs that this subsection shall apply, an order for the suspension or cancellation of registration under the last foregoing subsection shall not come into force until the end of the period of fourteen days mentioned in subsection (1) of section eighty-four and subsection (2) of section eighty-seven of the Magistrates' Courts Act, 1952, as the period within which a person convicted may bring an appeal, whether by case stated or otherwise, and if before the end of that period an appeal is so brought the order shall not come into force until the final determination or withdrawal of the appeal.

(7) Where the registration of any person is cancelled by order of a court under subsection (5) of this section℄

  1. (a) he shall within seven days deliver up to the local authority the cancelled certificates of registration and, if he fails to do so, he shall be liable to a fine not exceeding forty shillings, and to a further fine not exceeding ten shillings for each day on which the default continues after he is convicted, and
  2. (b) he shall not again be registered by the local authority under this section except in pursuance of a further order of a magistrates' court made on his application.

(8) The occupier of premises registered under this section shall at all times display on the premises the certificates of registration and a copy of any byelaws for the time being applying to the premises, and, if he fails to do so, he shall be liable to a fine not exceeding forty shillings.

(9) Where an offence punishable under this section which has been committed by a body corporate is proved to have been committed with the consent or connivance of, or to be attributable to any neglect on the part of, any director, manager, secretary or other similar officer of the body corporate, or any person purporting to act in such capacity, he as well as the body corporate shall be deemed to be guilty of that offence and shall be liable to be proceeded against and punished accordingly.

(10) This section shall be construed as one with the Public Health Act, 1936.

(11) This section shall come into force in the district of a local authority on such date as the local authority may resolve, being a date not less than twenty-eight days after the passing of the resolution, and, not less than twenty-eight days before that date, the local authority shall publish in a local newspaper circulating in the district a notice of the resolution which shall set out the general effect of the provisions of this section."

The noble Lord said: The object of this new clause is to ensure that there shall be proper cleanliness in barbers' and hairdressers' shops, both in regard to the people who cut, shampoo or wash the hair and to the equipment and the condition of the premises. The point about the registration proposed is that it would be a means whereby the local authority would know where these premises are. The introduction of the registration is in no sense meant to affect the livelihood of the hairdresser and will in no way be applied to the question of whether or not he is competent or experienced. The sole purpose is so that the local authority may be able to inspect the premises to see Whether they are run in a clean fashion. If they are not the case would need to be brought to the courts. It will not be possible, under the Amendment, for the local authority to withdraw the registration, but the courts will be able to do that under bylaws which the local authority can make, if the Amendment is passed, to ensure this cleanliness. The courts will have no duty imposed on them to cancel the registration if they do not wish to do so

I would say, before sitting down, that there is no disease that has been spread a great deal by dirty conditions in hairdressers' and barbers' shops generally, but it seems 'to me not an unreasonable preventive measure to take to ensure that they are kept properly clean; and I am sure that that is what the general public wants. Maybe it is not a very good argument to include, but this clause does at present appear in 70 or so private Acts of Parliament which affect about 300 local authorities. I beg to move.

Amendment moved℄ After Clause 71. insert the said new clause.℄(Lord Amulree.)


I am not sure whether the clause is as well drafted as it might be; it looks to me extremely complicated. However, I am satisfied that there is a need for some kind of protection against the possibility of persons contracting, say, dermatitis when they attend a hairdresser. In the course of my own now rather lengthy professional career I have successfully fought a number of actions in which claims have been made against hairdressers for dermatitis contracted when clients were receiving attention. I hope the Minister will not say, as he said in the case of tuberculosis, that there is no evidence of anybody having suffered as a result of contact with hairdressers. I think the case is clearly established, and that it would be a great improvement to this Bill if some clause were inserted so that there was a form of registration to ensure the cleanliness of the premises, of the equipment and of the hairdressers or the barbers themselves and their clothing. I do not 'think this new clause goes too far in that direction, and I hope that the Government will look on this Amendment favourably.


I should like to say a word or two in support of this Amendment. I can assure the noble Lord, Lord Brecon, and your Lordships that the local authorities attach great importance to this proposed new clause and that it has been strongly pressed upon the Department. I know that there has been some trouble in regard to the inclusion of a similar clause in a local Bill, but that should not deter the Government at this stage, when they have the opportunity of doing what I consider is the right thing in regard to hairdressers' shops. After all is said and done, it is only protecting the public and the decent, careful hairdressers, who go to considerable expense and trouble in regard to their equipment and the precautions they take, as against other hairdressers who are not so careful as they ought to be. I am sorry that this Amendment has come up at this late hour, because, along with some of my colleagues, I felt that it ought to have the most serious attention of your Lordships. I hope that if the noble Lord cannot go very far with us this evening, and even if he is inclined at the moment to give a negative reply, in view of what has been urged he will take it back or leave the matter so that it can be looked at again at a later stage.


I firmly support this new clause, particularly in its possible application to small towns where there may be only one hairdresser, who may also carry on the business of a tobacconist or perhaps rent off part of the shop for other forms of salesmanship. Cleanliness in hairdressers' shops, generally speaking, is of a high standard, hut there are cases where one sees dirty basins, dirty floors and dirty equipment. By these means skin diseases can be spread. This is a Public Health Bill, and I feel that this new clause, while it would not put any inconvenience on bona fide hairdressers, would help to strengthen the conviction behind the Bill.


A large number of local authorities have already been granted powers on the lines set out in this proposed new clause, and the possibility of including it was considered when the Bill was being drafted. It was perhaps difficult to say, however, that the need for these powers was generally agreed or accepted. In view of the views expressed by noble Lords on the proposed new clause, subject to the Committee being agreeable, I am willing, on behalf of the Government, to accept it. I would add that there may possibly have to be drafting changes.


I am grateful to the noble Lord.

Clause 72 agreed to.

LORD BURDEN had given Notice of his intention to move, after Clause 72, to insert a new clause dealing with washing facilities at inns. The noble Lord said: I think it would not be fair to the Minister for me to move this Amendment, and if it is convenient to him I should prefer to leave it until the Report stage.

Clause 73 agreed to.

Clause 74 [Summary recovery of damages for negligence]:

6.10 p.m.

VISCOUNT COLVILLE OF CULROSS moved, to leave out "twenty" [pounds] and insert "one hundred". The noble Viscount said: The idea of this clause is obviously an admirable one, in that it enables the local authority to recover from somebody who negligently damages an article of street furniture the cost of that article in a court which involves very little expense. However, in practice, I think the application of the limit of £20 will be found more or less to stultify the whole object of the clause. In these days, when the value of money has fallen to such a large extent, it is not really sensible to expect the sum of £20 to cover very much in the list of articles of street furniture which are mentioned in this clause.

I have in my hand a list of various items which appear all over the streets in this country. For instance, the cheapest price at which you can find a bus shelter for sale is £36, plus the foundations, and a really expensive one is £125 plus foundations. Lamp-posts are mostly insured for not less than £25, and in some cases for £50. Even a six-foot long teak seat, by the time that its carriage and foundations have been supplied, would cost more than £20. I would also point out that where the item is not totally destroyed but has to be removed before another one can replace it, there is an extra cost over and above that of the new article by itself.

Thus, in the circumstances, it looks as though the limit of £20 is going to result in a negligible use of this clause, which would be a pity, because the alternative must be for the county council, the parish council or whatever it may be, to go to a court such as the county court, where they would have to pay more and where, incidentally, it would cost more for the person who has been negligent to defend the action. This is particularly important in the case of the very small authorities which are listed here, the parish councils or parish meetings, to whom the opportunity of going to an inexpensive court to recover this damage will be very valuable.

It is not, as I understand it, purely a question of precedent that the jurisdiction of the magistrates should be limited to £20. There are recent Acts as well as older ones which allow either a higher limit or a limit in their discretion. I would quote Sections 50, 33 and 34 of the Magistrates' Courts Act, 1952, Section 67 of the Water Act, 1945, and various other Acts, which are up to date and which allow the magistrates to give as civil damages a greater sum than £20. Therefore, if we are going to legislate in a fashion such as this clause provides, surely it is sensible to put in the clause a sufficient sum to allow it to be used in the way in which it is intended to be used, and not merely to put in this legislation a clause which is almost valueless. Therefore, I suggest that a sum such as £100 or, if that is felt to be too high, perhaps £75, should be incorporated in this clause instead of £20. I beg to move.

Amendment moved℄ Page 54, line 20, leave out ("twenty ") and insert ("one hundred ")℄(Viscount Colville of Culross.)


I have listened very carefully to the arguments my noble friend has advanced, and I should like your Lordships to consider another aspect of this matter before you make up your minds. The purpose of the clause is to give county councils, local councils and parish councils the power to recover damages in a magistrates' court instead of the county court when relatively trifling damage has been caused by negligence to the various matters mentioned, like lamp-posts, notice boards or other pieces of equipment in a street or public place. Of course, as my noble friend has said, it is cheaper and easier to go to a magistrates' court than to a county court, and no objection need be raised to relatively trifling sums being recovered in this way. Many local Acts, therefore, contain a clause on these lines, and it appears in the model clause handbook as No. 108.

It is interesting, as I am sure my noble friend knows, that there have been a number of attempts to raise this figure. In four they have been successful, and in three out of the four they have got it up to £50 and one to £100. But as against that, there are over 100 local Acts in which Parliament, on the advice of the Government, has restricted the amount of damages which may be recovered in this way to £20. As I understand it, the reason why Parliament has acted in this way, broadly on the advice of the Government of the day, has been because magistrates' courts, who do an enormous amount of work, for which I, being in charge of the magistrates, could not be more grateful to those who sit in the courts℄of course their work is largely concerned with criminal cases (they do 97½per cent. of our criminal work) and what I might call domestic cases between husband and wife, adoption of infants and affiliation cases℄are not intended and, indeed, not fitted, to discuss a question of negligence in which a serious point may arise.

When you get to damage in the sphere that my noble friend has raised, of payment of about £100, you may well get questions of the law of negligence coming into operation and being raised which otherwise would not be raised. In other words, one has to look at the other point of view. This is a privilege local authorities have. As I say, everyone wants them to have the privilege in regard to small claims, and to have the minimum amount of trouble. But when the claims get bigger, one has to regard the other aspect of equality before the law, and in the case of the bigger claims they ought, in my view, to go to the courts which deal with such claims. If there is no defence, and if it is a question of simply paying out for something, then they can get their judgment very quickly and cheaply on the basis of there not being a defence; but I think they ought to go to the county court for other claims.

I have not had a chance of looking at the various sections of the Magistrates' Courts Act and the Water Act to which my noble friend referred. If they are the ones I suspect they are, they raise very different points, and I do not think are a clear analogy here. I ask your Lordships to accept the general viewpoint that giving people special powers to go to the court which does not deal with the matter in the ordinary way should be limited to small amounts, and therefore I would ask my noble friend not to press the position of the four local authorities but to accept the position which has been placed on over one hundred that I have mentioned.


I am, of course, grateful to my noble and learned friend both for coming at all and for the interesting and complete answer which I think he has given to my Amendment. It will, I know, be of great interest to the smaller local authorities, the parish councils and parish meetings, to know that it is the policy of Her Majesty's Government that they should go to the county court in these cases. It may have been thought that there was some precedent which prevented magisrates from having greater jurisdiction; but if it is felt that in the general interest of the public as well as that of the local auhorities these cases should not be heard in the magistrates' court but should go to the county court, I am quite willing to accept my noble and learned friend's reply on the subject. I beg leave to withdraw the Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 74 agreed to.

Clause 75 [Power to amend local Acts]:


In this Amendment I am trying to help the Minister. There appears to be a gap in his powers in regard to local Acts which came into force between March 1937 and to-day. Clause 75 of this Bill specifically excludes the provisions of Part V from the power of the Minister to amend local Acts. My Amendment is to substitute for this exclusion the powers already existing under Section 12 of the Act of 1937, brought up to date. I beg to move.

Amendment moved℄ Page 54, line 32, after (" Part V ") insert (" Section 12 of the Act of 1937 shall apply to any of the provisions of Part V of this Act but so that the provisions of that Section shall be extended to enable the Minister by Order to amend or adapt any local Act in force at the date of the passing of this Act ").℄(Lord Jessel.)


The purpose of this Amendment appears to be to ensure that the powers of Section 12 of the Act of 1937 are available in relation to the provisions of Part V of the Bill and that they will enable the Minister to amend or adapt (for the purpose mentioned in Section 12) any local Act (of the kind mentioned in that section) which is in force when the Bill is passed. Subsection (1) of Section 12 of the Act of 1937 enables the Minister to amend or adapt local Acts relating to sewerage authorities to bring them into conformity with the provisions of that Act, and subsection (2) of that section says that, in relation to an area in which a sewerage or sewage disposal system is provided by a joint sewerage authority℄such as a joint board℄the Minister may by order provide that the functions of a local authority under such provisions of the Act of 1937 as may be specified in the order shall be discharged by the joint sewerage authority either as well as, or instead of, by the local authority.

Clause 1 (3) of the Bill provides that Part V shall be construed as one with the Act of 1937. One effect of this is that references in Section 12 of the Act of 1937 to provisions of that Act will include references to the provisions of Part V. Having given further consideration to the noble Lord's Amendment, I am quite prepared to look into the question whether anything else is necessary to achieve the results which the Amendment is apparently intended to produce.


I am quite happy to withdraw my Amendment. I am only trying to help the Minister. if he thinks he has the powers, I am delighted to hear it. I understand he is going to look to make quite sure he has. I beg leave to withdraw the Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 75 agreed to.

Clauses 76 and 77 agreed to.

6.25 p.m.

LORD BURDEN moved after Clause 77, to insert the following new clause℄

Amendment of 26 Geo. 5 & 1 Edw. 8. c. 49 s. 89 .Section eighty-nine of the Public Health Act, 1936, shall in its application have effect as if for the words refreshment-house or place of public entertainment' in subsection (1) of that section there were substituted the words refreshment-house., café or restaurant '.

The noble Lord said: This Amendment seeks to amend Section 89 of the Public Health Act, 1936, by a substitution of the words "refreshment-house, café or restaurant" for the existing words "refreshment house or place of public entertainment". I regret, however, that in the drafting of the new clause it was overlooked that this would exclude places of public entertainment. This defect, however, would be put right if the Government were disposed to look at my new clause.

There is clearly a strong doubt as to whether cafes and restaurants are included in the scope of the present Section 89. The Public Health Act, 1936, contains no definition of either "refreshment house" or "place of public entertainment", although in respect of the former it is quite likely that a court may have regard to the definition of refreshment-houses contained in Section 6 of the Refreshment Houses Act, 1860℄namely: all houses, rooms, shops or buildings kept open for public refreshment, resort and entertainment at any time between the hours of ten o'clock at night and five o'clock the following morning not being licensed for the sale of beer, cider, wine or spirits respectively".

As the proprietors of such refreshment houses are required to take out a licence under the Act of 1860, it seems unlikely that any unlicensed café or restaurant could be brought within the expression "refreshment-house" in Section 89 of the Public Health Act, 1936.

This new clause is taken from a clause in the Cardiff Corporation Bill, which would give the City Council power to require the provision of reasonable sanitary accommodation for the use of customers in cafés or restaurants. This provision removes a doubt as to the applicability of Section 89 of the Public Health Act relating to refreshment-houses. That, of course, substantiates the point I made just now. From the evidence submitted by the Corporation I gather that the Cardiff City Council have not up to now applied Section 89 to cafés or restaurants because of the doubt in law, but the Council consider that it is in the interests of public health that sanitary accommodation should be provided at these premises.

The city receives many visitors from all parts of the country. There is a regular substantial influx of residents from the valleys and from neighbouring towns, particularly at week-ends and on Thursdays, the weekly shopping half-holiday of many of the adjoining districts. There are a large number of eating houses in the city, but at only a minority of them are sanitary conveniences provided for customers. Out of about 197 eating 'places, only 61 possess separate conveniences for customers; at 30 premises, customers are stated to be allowed, on request, to use the satisfactory occupier's facilities. At 106 premises there are no suitable sanitary conveniences for customers. The Cardiff Corporation were satisfied that lack of these conveniences in these premises and other things affected the comfort and health of their customers but did not extend to being a public nuisance. I understand that your Lordships' Committee accepted this evidence and argument and accepted a clause, and I understand that it has been accepted in another place.

Now I come to the point of public nuisance. In addition to this, I venture to submit to your Lordships some important information I have obtained from the chief public inspector of a popular seaside resort. This is the information he gives me. Serious nuisances are being caused in the town by the absence of sanitary accommodation at cafes, coffee bars and similar establishments which are open for long hours in the evening. People frequenting these places often remain for long periods and, because no sanitary accommodation is provided for their use, go outside into doorways, basement areas and, in fact, anywhere handy, and use these places as conveniences. In a survey of 30 establishments of this kind, only two were found to be provided with conveniences for their customers.

I know quite well℄as I am sure your Lordships do℄that there may be difficulties in that some cafés have not adequate space and are unable to provide conveniences. On that point I think it is important to recognise that it may not be necessary to require the provision of conveniences at all eating places. Every case would have to be considered on its merits, and so, accordingly, would the types of meal and refreshments served and the time customers spend on the premises. It must also be recognised that for structural and other reasons conveniences could not always be provided. But℄and this is the proviso℄Section 89 enables a person who has been asked by the local authority to provide conveniences to question the reasonableness of the authority's requirements when the case is taken to court by the authority. This should provide a sufficient safeguard against the unreasonable exercise of the authority's powers under this section, if it is amended by the Bill now under consideration by your Lordships. I have submitted to your Lordships the experience of a responsible officer and of the corporation of a great industrial city. I have also submitted evidence from an entirely different sort of place, a popular seaside resort which it would be quite unfair for me to particularise. I think I have submitted enough evidence to show that my new clause merits serious consideration in the interests of public health, not to mention decency. I therefore commend my new clause to the Minister, and I beg to move.

Amendment moved℄ After Clause 77, insert the new clause.℄(Lord Burden.)


The noble Lord who has moved this new clause has drawn a horrifying picture, if it is at all true. I should like to support from all points of view the new clause that he is proposing. I think it is most improper and irregular, in a place where one can obtain food and drink, not to have sanitary conveniences available. That is really going back to the bad days of the middle nineteenth century, before main drains and sewers were built. We do not want so go back to that. I am sure the Government will look kindly on this new clause.


I have listened with great interest to what the noble Lords, Lord Burden and Lord Amulree have said. Section 89 of the Public Health Act, 1936, deals with the provision of sanitary conveniences. Among other things it covers refreshment-houses and places of entertainment. Lord Burden's Amendment is aimed at widening the ambit of the expression "refreshment-houses", but he has agreed now that he has omitted to put in "places of entertainment"℄an omission which could, of course, be put right at a later stage. It is quite possible that what the noble Lord had in mind was Section 58 (4) of the Wallasey Corporation Act, 1958. It is true that that subsection deleted "places of entertainment" but only because they were dealt with in other provisions of the Wallasey Act. I think that, so far as Cardiff Corporation are concerned, we should have to look up the Bill and the references made to it. Of course, the lack of conveniences to which the noble Lord referred may be due to the fact that the local authority have not provided sufficient public conveniences. That may be part of the trouble, anyway in some of the towns.

It is far from certain, however, that the expression "refreshment-houses" in the 1936 Act has anything other than the ordinary meaning it would have in everyday speech, and legal advice given to the Ministry of Housing and Local Government does not support the view that it has some special or restricted meaning based on the Refreshment Houses Act, 1860, as is sometimes suggested. If this view is correct, then Section 89 of the Public Health Act, 1936, already covers cafes and restaurants, and the Amendment is unnecessary. For those reasons, in view of what the noble Lord has said, if he would like to consider his Amendment on the Report stage, I think that would be a good idea. At the same time, I cannot give an undertaking that the Government will put down an Amendment.


I am most grateful to the Minister for what he has said, and I am quite willing for the matter to be considered on the Report stage. If the legal advice given to the Minister is as stated by the noble Lord, I think it would be helpful to local authorities if that were backed by just a simple Amendment to the 1936 Act. I am sure it would not be the desire of the Department to involve local authorities in costly litigation, seeing that there is such doubt as to the legal interpretation of the words. But with the assurance that the Minister will see whether the matter can be clarified (I think that is the right word) in the interests of local authorities, I beg leave to withdraw my Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 78 [Expenses]:


The expression "the Minister" is defined in the Interpretation Clause, Clause 2 (1), as meaning the Minister of Housing and Local Government. The Minister of Housing and Local Government is not, however, the only Minister who could incur expenditure under the Bill. The Home Secretary, for instance, is the confirming authority for by-laws made under Clause 71. The Ministers of Transport and of Power may make regulations under Clause 45. The purpose of this Amendment is merely to ensure that expenses incurred by any Minister under the Bill are properly authorised. I beg to move.

Amendment moved℄ Page 55, line 42, leave out (" the ") and insert (" any ").℄(Lord Brecon.)

Clause 78, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 79 [Short title, commencement and repeals]:

6.41 p.m.

LORD BRECON moved, in the proviso to subsection (3), after "shall" [take effect] to insert: save as otherwise expressly provided in the said Part I.

The noble Lord said: This Amendment paves the way for the later Amendment to Part I of the Fourth Schedule, and with your Lordships' permission, the two might conveniently be taken together. Both of them are purely technical and are designed to correct a drafting discrepancy. Building regulations, cannot, of course, be made immediately the Bill becomes law. Under Clause 9 the Minister first has to appoint the Advisory Committee, and then he has to consult with them and with other interested bodies, all of which must take some time. Subsection (2) (a) of Clause 79 therefore provides that the provisions dealing with building regulations shall come into force on a date appointed by the Minister. There will thus be an interim period between the date when the Bill as a whole comes into force and the date when the building regulation provisions come into force on the appointed date.

To cover this interim period, paragraph 7 of the First Schedule provide:, that all existing building by-laws shall remain in operation until the appointed day, when they will all be replaced by building regulations; and it repeals as from the passing of the Bill (these are the crucial words) Section 68 of the Public Health Act, 1936, under which building by-laws are effective for a limited period of ten years, which might, in some cases expire before the appointed day when building regulations will come into force.

Part I of the Fourth Schedule lists all the repeals consequential upon the building provisions of the Bill, including the repeal of Section 68. But the proviso to subsection (3) of Clause 79, as it now stands, has the effect that all these repeals will take place on the appointed date, not as from the passing of the Bill. The Amendments are designed to bring Part I of the Fourth Schedule and the proviso to subsection (3) of Clause 79 into line with paragraph 7 of the First Schedule by providing that the repeal of Section 68 shall be effective as from the passing of the Bill. I beg to move.

Amendment moved℄ Page 56, line 16, after (" shall ") insert the said words.℄(Lord Brecon.)

Remaining clause, as amended, agreed to.

First Schedule agreed to.


Your Lordships have already given some consideration to this Schedule when I moved the three new clauses, Amendments Nos. 4, 5 and 6. I beg to move.

Amendment moved℄ After the First Schedule, insert the following new Schedule℄


Establishment of actual and estimated cost per yard of sewer

1.℄(1) As soon as may be after a resolution has been passed for the purposes of section (Contribution to cost of sewering highway) or section (Contribution to cost of sewer in land subsequently laid out as street) of this Act and the actual cost of constructing the sewer to which the resolution relates has been ascertained, the local authority shall serve on the owners of the premises fronting the street or the Hart of the street in which the sewer is constructed a notice specifying—

  1. (a) the amount of the actual cost per yard of the sewer constructed in the street or part of the street, and
  2. (b) the amount which the local authority estimate as the cost per yard of a sewer having an internal diameter of nine inches constructed in the street or part of the street art a depth of seven feet,
and every such notice shall state that the lesser of these amounts will be relevant in computing the amount of any payment recoverable under section (Contribution to cost of sewering highway) or section (Contribution to cost of sewer in land subsequently laid out as street) of this Act, as the case may be, in respect of those premises, and shall give particulars of the right of objection conferred by the next following paragraph.

(2) The cost per yard of a sewer constructed in a street or part of a street shall be computed by the local authority by dividing the cost of constructing that sewer by its extent in yards.

2.℄(1) Any person on whom a notice is served under the foregoing paragraph may within one month of the date of the notice serve on the local authority an objection in writing to the correctness of any amount specified by that notice.

(2) If an objection is made under this paragraph within the said period and is not withdrawn, the local authority shall, after the expiration of that period, apply to a magistrates' court to appoint a time for hearing and determining all objections so made within that period and shall serve on all the objectors notice of the time and place so appointed.

(3) At the hearing the court may direct that there be substituted for any amount specified in the notice such other amount as the court may determine.

(4) Subject to any direction by a court on the hearing of objections under this paragraph (whether at first instance or on appeal), the amounts specified in the notice shall be conclusive for all purposes.

Recovery of payments

3. Whenever a payment becomes recoverable in respect of any premises, the local authority shall serve a notice specifying the amount of the payment on the owner of the premises for the time being, arid may recover that amount together with interest thereon from the date of the notice from that person:

Provided that no notice shall be served under this paragraph before the amount of the actual and estimated cost per yard of the sewer has been conclusively established.

4. The rate of interest chargeable under the last foregoing paragraph shall be such rate as the local authority may determine not exceeding the maximum rate fixed by the Minister for the purpose of section two hundred and ninety-one of the Public Health Act. 1936, at the time when the notice is served, or, if different maximum rates are then so fixed, the highest of those rates.

5. The payment recoverable in respect of any premises together with interest thereon front the date of the notice served under paragraph 3 of this Schedule shall, from that date until recovered, be a charge on the premises and on all estates and interests therein.


6.℄(1) A building shall he deemed to be erected after the date on which a resolution comes into operation unless its erection was complete before that date.

(2) A building shall be deemed to be erected℄

  1. (a) if any part of the building is wholly or partly re-erected when the outer wall of that part has been demolished (otherwise than in consequence of fire or other accident) to within ten feet of the surface of the ground adjoining the lowest storey of that part;
  2. (b) if (not having been originally constructed for human habitation) it is converted into a house;
  3. (c) if it is converted into a factory, shop or place of public resort;
  4. (d) if it is extended so that the area occupied by the site of the building will (with any previous extension made since the date on which a resolution came into operation in relation to the building) be increased by an area of more than one-eighth or. in the case of a building constructed for agricultural purposes, one-quarter, of that occupied by the site of the building before that date;
and subsection (2) of section ninety of the Public Health Act, 1936 (which specifies operations which are deemed to be the erection of a building), shall not apply in relation to section (Contribution to cost of sewering highway) or section (Contribution to cost of sewer in land subsequently laid out as street) of this Act.

7.℄(1) References to premises on which a building is erected are references to the building and any land occupied with the building.

(2) References to "fronting" include references to adjoining and abutting and "frontage" shall be construed accordingly.

Proof of publication of resolutions

8. Publication of a notice of a resolution for the purposes of section (Contribution to cost of sewering highway) or section (Contribution to cost of sewer in land subsequently laid out as street) of this Act in a newspaper and the date of any such publication may he proved by the production of a photostatic or other reproduction certified by the clerk of the local authority to be a true reproduction of a page or part of a page of that newspaper hearing the date of its publication and containing the notice ").℄(Lord Brecon.)

Second Schedule agreed to.

Third Schedule [Attachment of street lighting equipment to certain buildings]:


With regard to 'the last Amendment in my name, I have 'been informed by the noble Lord that if I were to move it in a slightly different form it would be acceptable to the Government. What it amounts to, if I may paraphrase, is that 'this clause is to apply not only Ito a building owned by a development corporation established under the New Towns Act but also to dwellings owned by the Commission for the New Towns established under the New Towns Act, 1959. I gladly accept that suggestion and I hope that if I do not persist in my proposed Amendment but hand in a Manuscript Amendment in that form, it may be acceptable. I see the noble Lord opposite nodding his head, indicating that he will accept the Amendment. I should just like to say how much we appreciate the great physical handicap under which he has conducted these proceedings today. We think that it is very brave of him and I hope that he will go straight to bed and get over his disability, and come back fit for the next stage of the proceedings. I beg to move.

Amendment moved℄ Page 63, line. 51, first column, at end insert℄ A building owned by a development corporation established under the New Towns Act, 1946 (or the Commission for the New Towns established under the New Towns Act, 1959).℄(Lord Silkin.)


I accept the Amendment as the noble Lord, Lord Silkin, has presented it. May I thank him very warmly for his kind words? One does not know when influenza is going to attack, and if it attacks just before one is expected to undertake a task like this one can hardly push that task on to one's friends. I am most grateful for your Lordships' consideration.

Third Schedule, as amended, agreed to.

Fourth Schedule [Enactments repealed]:


This Amendment is linked with Amendment No. 86 which we have already considered this afternoon. I beg to move.

Amendment moved℄ Page 64, line 20, third column, at end insert (" as from the passing of this Act").℄(Lord Brecon.)

Remaining Schedule, as amended, agreed to.

House resumed.

House adjourned at thirteen minutes before seven o'clock.