HL Deb 31 July 1962 vol 243 cc141-2

Clause 11, page 10, line 43, after ("authorised") insert (",subject to any conditions attached thereto under section (Power of Minister to attach conditions to compulsory rights orders),").


My Lords, this is a similar kind of Amendment relating to Amendment No. 27, which is the main substantive Amendment, and to a good many consequential Amendments as well. Perhaps I had better speak to the whole matter on this Amendment. This group of Amendments go together, and comprise Nos. 24, 27, 29, 30, 77, 82, 93, 97, 102, 103, 105, 106, 118, 119, 120 and 122. I think they concern just about the most complicated-looking subject that we have had to deal with. These Amendments are designed to replace Clause 13 of the Bill, which applies to provisions of the Fifth Schedule, which is accordingly deleted along with Clause 13. The Fifth Schedule regulates the execution of pipe-line works in railway land by virtue of a compulsory rights order. The reason why that should be deleted is that examination of it, in the light of comments received from the British Transport Commission since the Bill was first published, have revealed that it was not wholly satisfactory.

The Schedule largely followed what was in the Public Utility (Street Works) Act, 1950, but in order to provide satisfactory safeguards for the railway undertakers' operational land it would have been necessary to make substantial additions to the existing length of the Schedule. A considerable number of additional points would have had to be put in, and it became clear that the provisions that were in the Fifth Schedule, detailed and complicated as they were, were still not sufficiently comprehensive to cover every eventuality that might turn up. Even if they had been added to, and the Bill had been thereby even more complicated, there still would not have been any certainty that every possibility had been covered. The only solution was to remove that Schedule. The new clause which has replaced it will empower the Minister to attach conditions to a compulsory rights order with respect to certain matters which the clause will define in general terms—that is, the manner, the method, or the timing of the carrying out of works authorised by the Order. It means that there will no longer be provisions which have to be applied in all oases, regardless of the widely differing circumstances that may apply: whether it is a busy main line or a branch line, and according to whether the pipe-line crosses the railway line or runs alongside it. Instead, the Minister will be able to attach conditions tailor-made to meet each case.

A secondary, but by no means unimportant, effect of this change will be that it will be possible to apply special conditions in other cases, such as when pipe-lines cross or run alongside canals, or go through dock areas. It will also be possible to lay down conditions as to the exercise of compulsory rights over ordinary agricultural land for such purposes as ensuring that land, drains, ditches, water courses and so on are properly reinstated that rights of access are preserved, water courses and drainage systems safeguarded, and so on, and that the replacement of hedges and fences is carried out. That was the sort of safeguards for which my noble friend Lord Amherst of Hackney was asking at an earlier stage. I think that, taken in conjunction with the obligation on a pipe-line promoter to restore agricultural land, the new clause will give very good safeguards for the agricultural interests, as well as for the railway interests for which it was intended. My Lords, I beg to move that this House doth agree with the Commons in the said Amendment.

Moved, That this House doth agree with the Commons in the said Amendment.—(Lord Chesham)

On Question, Motion agreed to