§ 7.0 p.m.
§ LORD SANDFORD
My Lords, I beg to move that the House do now resolve itself into Committee (on Recommitment) on this Bill.
§ Moved, That the House do now resolve itself into Committee (on Recommitment). —(Lord Sandford.)
§ House in Committee accordingly.
§ [The LORD AIREDALE in the Chair.]
§ Clauses 1 to 12 agreed to.
§ Clause 13 [Power to divert non-navigable watercourses and to carry out other works on any watercourse]:
LORD SANDFORD moved Amendment No.1:
Page 12, line 41, after first ("area") insert ("a lorry area")
§ The noble Lord said: Although there are 38 Amendments at this stage, the greater part of them are merely incorporating into the Bill matters which we agreed ill the Committee held off the Floor of the House, and I do not think we shall need to detain your Lordships for very long. There are two Amendments of substance, and Amendment No. 1, which is a paving Amendment, brings us to the first of them. It would be for the convenience of the Committee if we were to deal also with Amendment No. 3, which is another paving Amendment; Amendment No. 8, which is a substantive Amendment, and the consequential Amendments to it, which are Amendments Nos. 13 to 19, and Amendments Nos. 32,:34 and 38. All these Amendments taken together make provision for the creation of facilities for the parking of lorries and the trans-shipment of loads at strategic points on the highway system.
§ As my noble friend Lord Mowbray and Stourton promised in the earlier 1266 Committee discussions on April 28 (col. 52 of our Report of those proceedings), the Government have given further consideration to the proposal of the noble Lord, Lord Pargiter, that highway authorities should be given specific powers in this Bill to provide service stations alongside highways for the benefit of the motorist. As I undertook to do then, full and frank discussions have taken place between the Department, the local authority associations and the motoring interests. On the basis of these discussions, the Government have concluded that there is not sufficient case for making provision in the Bill for encroaching on private rights by taking power to acquire land compulsorily to enable highway authorities merely to secure the provision of only service facilities.
§ In the Government's view there is insufficient evidence that service facilities are not being provided adequately by private enterprise responding to the economic and social needs of the travelling public. The provision of public sanitary conveniences is adequately covered by existing powers and by the new powers provided for elsewhere in the Bill. I should make it clear that the Government would be very willing to review any arguments put forward by the local authority associations and the motoring associations for the provision of integrated service facilities along the lines the motorway service areas. During the course of this review, discussions will take place between the Department and all the interested bodies. Meantime, I commend to the Committee with some confidence the related provision now before it to enable highway authorities to establish sites for use specifically for heavy lorries and auxiliary vehicles. These provisions are aimed both at enhancing the quality of life in our cities through improving the environment, and at furthering the economic merest of one of our more important industries; namely, road haulage. I think the Amendments now before the Committee will achieve both these desirable objectives.
§ The Government are proposing that powers should be taken in this new clause, and the associated Amendments, which would help in establishing a network of strategic points with good access to the main roads of the country which road haulage operators could use in order 1267 to break bulk, transfer loads and so make it easier for vehicles of appropriate size to be used for different types of work, that is to say, the larger vehicles for the long distance journeys between towns and the smaller ones for work within the towns where it is economical to do this. Secondly, the proposed sites could serve for the overnight parking of lorries, so reducing the adverse effect on the environment which arises from the real problem of the parking of heavy lorries in urban areas. The third advantage will be that the security of these valuable vehicles and loads will be better safeguarded.
§ The clause gives enabling powers, both to the Government and to the local highway authorities, to set up those sites which will be known as "lorry areas". It is to be left to private enterprise to operate the trans-shipment, the warehousing, the refreshment and accommodation facilities on the sites. I should emphasise that all the proposed provisions do is to give enabling powers, including the compulsory acquisition of land for the sites. It will be up to the local authorities, the road haulage industry and other interests now to join with the Department of the Environment in working out details for giving practical effect to the proposals. This review will take into account the outcome of the consideration which the Government have already announced that they are giving to the further development of the inter-urban highway system. It will also take full account of all the safety aspects.
§ I hope that, with that brief explanation of what is, in essence, a simple concept, though slightly complex when put into the legislative form, we shall satisfy the Committee that what we are introducing, after the consideration which the noble Lord, Lord Pargiter, triggered off, is a sensible provision.
§ VISCOUNT MASSEREENE AND FERRARD
May I put a question to my noble friend in regard to Amendment No. 8? Subsection (2)(c) of the new clause refers to:facilities for the accommodation of persons and the provision and consumption of meals and refreshments…".Did I understand him to say that this accommodation and provision for meals and services will be provided by the highway authority, or by private individuals 1268 to whom the highway authority will lease these concessions? Are the highway authorities to have complete, compulsory powers, through the Secretary of State, to acquire land for these purposes where they require it? I did not follow my noble friend as closely as I should have done because I was reading the Amendment while he was speaking. If I have misunderstood him I hope he will forgive me.
§ LORD SANDFORD
The clause gives enabling powers both to the Government and to the local highway authority to set up the sites. But it is to be left to private enterprise to operate the transhipment, the warehousing, the refreshment and the accommodation facilities. But compulsory powers are available to the highway authorities to purchase the land for this purpose.
§ LORD PARGITER
I would give a general welcome to this clause. It does not go quite as far as I asked the Minister to go in the previous meeting of the Committee—to have a full service area.
§ LORD PARGITER
Well, we are grateful for small mercies. In this particular case, this provision goes a good deal towards meeting some of the problems which face highway authorities. It seems to me that, with a little addition, these areas could very easily become service areas for this particular purpose. I am glad to learn from the noble Lord that discussions will continue on the question of the provision of services areas. It is an important question, apart from the ideological factor as to whether they should be run by private or public enterprise. There was no suggestion in my original proposal that they should be run by public enterprise. The running would be by private enterprise, apart from the acquisition.
Many of the existing facilities, having regard to modern conditions, are not sited satisfactorily. In the absence of anybody's having any authority to find the right sort of place to operate from, the facilities continue to operate in unsatisfactory areas. But a person who operates them might be quite happy to move to a more suitable area if he had the power to do so, which he does not have in view of 1269 his limited means. This is a point I should like to be considered when the discussions take place.
Apart from that, it seems to me that this power for the highway authorities will be exercised in this way. Presumably the Minister will, generally speaking, exercise the powers through local authorities. I have in mind adjoining trunk roads or motor roads and matters of that kind, which would primarily be matters for the Ministry, presumably through the local authorities. It seems to me that this will go a long way towards helping those authorities who want to restrict a good deal of loading, unloading, and transfer loading which goes on at present on the highway and which could be conveniently done elsewhere provided a suitable place was made available. From that point of view, although this is rather a long clause, it will be most helpful for the future conduct and the general wellbeing of highways and for the community.
VISCOUNT COLVILLE OF CULROSS
Before my noble friend answers that point, may I raise one drafting question? If he will be so good as to look at subsection (1) of the new clause which is Amendment 8 he will see that the final sentence says:An area provided under this section is hereinafter referred to as a 'lorry area'.As a matter of pure drafting, since there are two previous references, it should be "hereintofore as well as hereinafter"; and I would suggest that "in this Act" would be more apt.
§ 7.13 p.m.
§ LORD LUCAS OF CHILWORTH
One must give a general welcome to this particular clause which is Amendment No. 8. However, it appears to me that the clause does two things: first, in subsection (2), paragraphs (a), (b) and (c), it provides for the lorry parks and those things directly associated—in other words, the access roads—and accommodation for lorry drivers. With all this I find no quarrel. Indeed, I understand that if the clause stopped there it would meet the purpose of the Working Party which has sat for some 2½ years considering this lorry parking problem. So, however admirable and however much needed the lorry area parking area is, we find that the clause goes a good deal 1270 further. It goes, I would suggest, in subsection (2) paragraphs (d), (e) and (f) out of a lorry area into what one might almost call a transport interchange and service terminal, because this subsection introduces a number of other functions—functions which I do not believe are of prime necessity. Indeed, if one accepts all that the noble Lord, Lord Sandford, has told us of the purport of the whole of this clause, I can see the model of the motorway service area coming down to looking after trucks and trucking services and, as I said in Committee earlier, I do not think that motorway service areas are anything of a model for the future, unless it be a lesson to be regarded with some awe.
Paragraph (d) relates to warehouse facilities. There are warehousing facilities all over the place. They may be good, bad or indifferent. Nevertheless, there is a facility here. If one introduces this factor into a lorry parking area, among other things, three things will fall by the wayside. Security goes first because many different kinds of people are involved, and many different kinds of operation are going on. You will then get exactly the opposite of what I believe the parking area, the lorry area, is for. You will get a congestion of traffic; there will be many small lorries and small vans coming into the area—perhaps even a security area—and off-loading. There is a great deal of difference between offloading part of a load directly into a warehouse, with its staging, its cranes and so on, and moving it on to a different sized lorry or into a different sized van. These are real problems. If the operation is to be efficient, one needs a great deal of handling machinery, all of which will add to the cost.
To go to paragraph (e)—service station facilities—my understanding here is that the service station facility includes fuelling and repairing, and possibly maintaining. If we look at just fuelling, first of all most long-distance hauliers already have their own arrangements, maybe their contractual arrangements, for fuelling. There is a very high fire risk. After all, if there are, say, 300 vehicles, at a total value of perhaps £30,000 each (including load), concentrated in a parking area, if it is a maximum security area for parking these vehicles there will be one or possibly two exit/entrances. To 1271 service a number of vehicles of this order, one might be considering 60,000 gallons of fuel underground, with two or three outlets. The fire risk here is enormous.
The last point on fuelling—and I should like to couple this with other service aspects—is the tremendously high cost of installation. To equip a fuelling area, one might think in terms of a cost of £35,000 to £55,000. To equip such a service area to look after emergency repair of commercial vehicles, one might look again for a similar amount of money. How any organization—and I do not mind whether it is operated by private enterprise or by a public authority— can be made to pay, I do not know. In the first place, one has to staff such an investment and already staff is terribly short in the industry. One will merely stretch that which is available.
The last paragraph refers topublic sanitary conveniences, (including lavatories)".Unless my interpretation of the word "public" is completely wrong, I can see anybody—that is, any member of the public, on foot, by car, motor cycle, with or without caravan or boat trailer on the back—going into the lorry area to use the public lavatory. Immediately congestion occurs; immediately there is a loss of security. Indeed, I do not see how one can possibly exclude members of the public. Even without that subsection, I cannot find, reading the clause (nor, I regret, in what the noble Lord, Lord Sandford, said in explanation), how we are to prevent the public from using these facilities. Only a short while ago, a lorry park was set up, I believe in the West Country, specifically for lorries, for looking after lorry drivers' requirements; but as the holiday season approached,particularly in that part of the country, the lorries were rather swept out and the caravanners encouraged in. I cannot see what is to stop this happening here.
I have made these criticisms; they are meant to be helpful. The real need is for lorry drivers to know that there is a place in a particular area where they may park their lorries—securely park them, if the load so demands—go to the lavatory, have a shower, have a meal and have a bed. Nowhere in this country, 1272 or I believe even in Europe, is such a facility provided. I do not believe it is necessary to provide the other three facilities which are included in the clause, unless the Minister is going to suggest to us that in ten years' time these areas may well be required to cope with such an eventuality as I have outlined, and this provision will enable us to do it. But I hope that the Minister will give me, and other noble Lords who may possibly feel the way I do, the assurance that we are essentially looking after lorry drivers, the parking and the security of their loads, the wellbeing of the driver, and leave everything else alone.
§ LORD TEVIOT
I should like to support the noble Lord, Lord Lucas of Chilworth. Like him, I welcome this clause. I agree with what he said: that it should confine its purposes. I believe that there should be a pilot scheme. If we go wholeheartedly into building about 50 or 60 of these lorry areas we may find a whole lot of white elephants on our hands. I think we should have a pilot scheme of, say, four, spread over the country. I agree that it should be a commercial enterprise, but with safeguards for the drivers. At the moment the drivers' accommodation is rarely satisfactory. He goes to these towns, to these boarding houses, with his allowance, which is somewhat limited, and quite often he has to share a room with a number of other people. To encourage people to go away from home, some home comforts must be provided. These accommodation places, I suggest, should be somewhere where the driver has his own cubicle, and perfectly clean, and with not too expensive food. From our experience of these service stations, the food is far too expensive. But I do not, of course, suggest going back to "Mum's and Dad's Caff" in these accommodation places.
I entirely agree with the noble Lord, Lord Lucas, on paragraphs (d) and (e). do not want to amplify, but I am sure what he says is complete sense. I would back him up in his remarks on paragraph (f), the public sanitary convenience. These places could become stopping-off places for people coming from a dance hall after a few drinks in rather a gay spirit, coming along and "mucking up" the place. If the lorry driver is resting, 1273 he should be protected. I think that when this scheme finally gets going the highway authorities should consult everybody, including representatives of the drivers.
§ LORD STRANGE
I want to add one or two words to what other noble Lords have said. This is rather a novelty, and it comes as a bit of a surprise to the Front Bench. It is essential that these security parking places are made throughout the country. I cannot go into the point too deeply, because I should be giving away certain secrets of security; but it is essential that lorries carrying valuable cargoes are able to go into a simple parking place where they can be left under full security control, while the drivers go and have a shower, wash up and sleep, without going outside to talk to other people. This is essential, and I trust that the noble Lord will bear this very deeply in mind.
§ LORD WINTERBOTTOM
May I say how grateful I am to the noble Lord for considering what my noble friend said on the Committee stage of the Bill? It was his comments then, as I understand it, that sparked off this series of Amendments and the new clause. We thank the noble Lord for taking notice of what was said at the Committee stage. May I say that I am not as pessimistic as the noble Lord, Lord Lucas of Chilworth, as some other noble Lords have been, I do not see how, if you create facilities like these, you are able to exclude the public. I think all you can do is to see that the facilities provided under subsection (2)(d) for handling and storing goods are secure. If that is done, the rest, surely, is a public facility which should be open to the public.
I welcome this new clause for one reason that has not so far been mentioned: Subsection (1)(b):the transfer of goods to or from any such vehicle from or to any other vehicle …This is a most important paragraph. One of the things that has worried me has been that the wish of people in this country to maintain the amenities of this country may at some time or other get in the way of essential technological progress. At the moment, as I understand it, the maximum size of lorry allowed is determined by the size of the international container. Nothing 1274 larger than that is being permitted. I believe that British Leyland has a major project that is stalled at the moment and not permitted because of size. One can understand that one does not want these giant lorries trundling through Oxford or Chester, but there is no reason why they should not go on the motorways of the country. If we are to have a major export trade in commercial vehicles, one would wish to have a transfer point to which these big vehicles can go and transfer their loads to smaller vehicles. As I have said, I am glad to support these Amendments.
§ 7.29 p.m.
§ LORD SANDFORD
I am most grateful to noble Lords, because I think that what has been said indicates a widespread acceptance of the principle which Her Majesty's Government have been seeking to secure here. If I may say so, we are just as Crateful, though in a different way, for the detailed comments from the noble Lords, Lord Lucas of Chilworth and Lord Teviot, which are exactly what was wanted at this particular stage; and I can assure them that everything they have said, including the interesting idea of a pilot scheme, will certainly be taken fully into account.
I do not think the noble Lord, Lord Lucas, need look at this proposal as though it were a "free-for-all" and a provision for the public at large. I should have thought the details of how these parking areas will be designed and used remain to be worked out. This is simply an enabling provision on which detailed arrangements have yet to be made and full consultations yet to be held. But it would be not far short of the mark to envisage these areas rather like docks, where one ship comes in to bunker, to give leave to the crew, to deal with its cargo; and other vehicles have limited access into the dock area if they have business there—to collect cargo or to bring passengers in and out, and so on. This is the kind of regulation that will be applied here. It may be that some part of these areas will be open to the public, or it may be that the whole of them will be open to the public; but certainly those areas where there is fire risk and valuable cargo will clearly be subject to full security. But, as I have said, details will have to be worked out for this.
1275 I am grateful to my noble friend Lord Colville of Culross for his valuable proposal, which I am sure will improve the Bill. There is no doubt that the lessons already learned on the motorways will have an application here, and I am glad that the noble Lord, Lord Winterbottom, sees, as we do, that at least one of the valuable contributions which this will make, in due course, will be the full development of the latest technology in road haulage. I hope that, with that explanation, the Committee will feel able to accept this Amendment.
§ LORD LUCAS OF CHILWORTH
I thank the noble Lord, Lord Sandford, sincerely for his further explanation, but I am not absolutely convinced about this. He said, "Of course in some areas there may be access by the public."
§ LORD LUCAS OF CHILWORTH
I thank the noble Lord—some part or parts of the areas. This seems to be the thin end of the wedge, and while I thank him for the assurances he has given I must tell him that I should like to ponder further on this matter and may well wish to bring up the point again at a later stage.
§ Clause 13, as amended, agreed to.
§ Clauses 14 to 17 agreed to.
§ 7.33 p.m.
LORD SANDFORD moved Amendment No. 2:
After Clause 17, insert the following new clause.
§ Agreements for the provision of walkways
§ —(1) A local highway authority may enter into an agreement with any person having an interest in any land on which a building is, or is proposed to be, situated, being a person who by virtue of that interest has the necessary power in that behalf, —
- (a) for the provision of ways over, through or under parts of the building, or the building when constructed, as the case may be, or parts of any structure attached, or to be attached, to the building; and
- (b) for the dedication by that person of those ways as footpaths subject to such limitations and conditions, if any, affecting the public right of way thereover as may
1276 be specified in the agreement and to any rights reserved by the agreement to that person and any person deriving title to the land under him.
§ A footpath created in pursuance of an agreement under this section is hereinafter referred to as a "walkway".
§ (2) An agreement under this section may make provision for—
- (a) the maintenance, cleansing and drainage of any walkway to which the agreement relates;
- (b) the lighting of such walkway and of that part of the building or structure which will be over or above it;
- (c) the provision and maintenance of support for such walkway;
- (d) the making of payments by the local highway authority to any person having an interest in the land or building affected by the agreement.
§ (3) Subject to subsection (4) below, any covenant contained in an agreement under this section and entered into by a person having an interest in any land affected by the agreement shall be binding upon persons deriving title to the land under the covenantor to the same extent as it is binding upon the covenantor notwithstanding that it would not have been binding upon those persons apart from the provisions of this subsection and shall be enforceable by the local highway authority against those persons as if the authority had at all material times been the absolute owners in possession of adjacent land and as if the agreement had been expressed to be made for the benefit of such land.
§ (4) A covenant contained in an agreement under this section shall not be enforceable by virtue of subsection (3) above against a purchaser for money or moneys worth of a legal estate in any land affected by the agreement unless before the completion of the purchase the agreement has been registered in the prescribed manner in the register of local land charges of the local authority in whose area the land is situated.
§ The power conferred by section 15(6) of the Land Charges Act 1925 to make rules for giving effect to the provisions of that subsection shall be exercisable for giving effect to this subsection; and in this subsection "prescribed" means prescribed by rules made in the exercise of that power and "purchaser" has the same meaning as in that Act.
§ (5) If any person for the time being liable to perform any such covenant, being a positive covenant, fails to perform it, then, without prejudice to any other right or remedy they may have, the local highway authority may, after giving the person in default not less than twenty-one days' notice of their intention to do so, enter on the land or building in question and execute such works as may be necessary to secure performance of the covenant and may recover the expenses reasonably incurred by them in so doing from that person.1277
§ (6) A local highway authority by whom an agreement under this section has been made may make byelaws regulating—
- (a) the conduct of persons using any walkway to which the agreement relates;
- (b) the placing or retention of anything (including any structure or projection) in, on or over any such walkway.
§ (7) The authority having power by virtue of section 250 of the Local Government Act 1933 to confirm byelaws made under subsection (6) above shall have power to confirm them with or without modifications.
§ (8) Subject to subsection (9) below, the Secretary of State may make regulations—
- (a) for preventing any enactment or instrument relating to highways or to things done on or in connection with highways from applying to walkways which have been, or are to be, created in pursuance of agreements under this section or to things done on or in connection with such walkways;
- (b) for amending, modifying or adapting any such enactment or instrument in its application to such walkways;
- (c) without prejudice to the generality of paragraphs (a) and (b) above, for excluding, restricting or regulating the rights of statutory undertakers, sewerage authorities and the Post Office to place and maintain apparatus in, under, over, along or across such walkways;
- (d) without prejudice as aforesaid, for defining the circumstances and manner in which such walkways may be closed periodically or temporarily or stopped up and for prescribing the procedure to be followed before such a walkway is stopped up.
§ (9) Regulations under this section shall not exclude the rights of statutory undertakers, sewerage authorities or the Post Office to place and maintain apparatus in, under, along or across any part of a walkway, being a part which is not supported by any structure.
§ (10) Without prejudice to subsection (9) above, regulations under this section may make different provisions for different classes of walkways and may include such incidental, supplemental and consequential provisions as appear to the Secretary of State to be expedient for the purposes of the regulations.
§ (11) Nothing in this section shall be taken as affecting any other enactment by virtue of which highways may be created.")
§ The noble Lord said: I beg to move Amendment No. 2. And we come now to the second and the only other substantive Amendment with which we have to deal this evening. Noble Lords who were members of the earlier Committee on the Floor of the House may recall that I gave notice of a tentative proposal to make provision in this Bill for the provision of walkways by agreement. That proposal has now been embodied in this new clause and I trust that this will 1278 prove to be a measure Which will meet with your Lordships' approval. Walkways are pedestrian-ways giving access to and through private commercial developments and, as such, they are a welcome contribution to urban amenities and particularly to the separation of pedestrians from motor traffic.
§ Four local authorities—the Greater London Council, Liverpool, Newcastleupon-Tyne and the City of London—have already taken local Act powers so that they can provide walkways; and I am sure that noble Lords are familiar with those that are not far from here on the South Bank. In February 1968 an advisory group comprising representatives of Government Departments and local authorities was set up to look into legal and planning questions raised by this new form of development. They recommended comprehensive legislation to include powers to allow local authorities, by agreement or compulsorily, to create and acquire rights over land, to undertake work and enter into agreements with developers to provide walkways, and to impose conditions in planning permissions to secure the provision of walkways. Copies of the report are available in the Library.
§ The Highways Bill now before the Committee provides the first opportunity for legislative provision for walkways. Obviously the Highways Bill cannot attempt to achieve all that the advisory group recommended, for that would be outside the scope of the Bill. But it seems worthwhile to have a limited provision which will enable walkways to be created by agreement—and I stress the words "by agreement" because the earlier proposals emanating from the advisory group included compulsory powers—and in the same clause to provide for the administration of such walkways. The clause permits local authorities to enter into agreements with persons having interests in existing and proposed buildings, for the provision in these buildings of pedestrian ways and for their dedication as footpaths. Such footpaths would be known as walkways. Apart from providing for the necessary consequential matters, the clause goes no further than that. It is simply giving the power to do things by agreement freely entered into by both sides. The agreement can be subject to limitations and conditions and 1279 can make provision for such matters as maintenance and lighting. The clause provides for covenants in the agreement to be enforceable by the local authority against successors in title and gives the authority support powers to do work required by the Government and to recover expenses. This last feature does not break new ground.
§ There are precedents, for though ordinarily only restrictive covenants are enforceable against successors in title a considerable number of local authorities—23 or so—have obtained powers in their own private legislation to enforce against successors in title positive covenants contained in agreements. The clause allows the local authority to make bylaws regulating the use of the walkway and allows the Secretary of State to make regulations to amend, modify or adapt highway law or to prevent its applying to walkways. Such powers are obviously needed to ensure that highway law is suitably applied to walkways within buildings. Under these regulations the Secretary of State is empowered to exclude, restrict or regulate the rights of the statutory undertakers, sewerage authorities and the Post Office, though he cannot exclude the exercise of these rights in walkways on solid ground. I know full well that statutory undertakers and property owners are concerned about the exercise of their rights in walkways, and I can assure you that they will both be consulted when the regulations are being prepared. I beg to move.
§ LORD PARGITER
I should like to give a general welcome to this clause. We are breaking new ground to a certain extent and it occurs to me that there will be places which are existing walkways which presumably, as soon as this Bill becomes law, will become highways. I wonder whether or not the process of reaching agreement will have to be gone through with regard to existing walkways before they become highways, or whether they will become highways and then not be subject to any other agreement which exists regarding any other highway. It is important that we should have this point clear, because it could create a great deal of difficulty and confusion. I am a little disappointed with the clause, particularly subsection (9) which says: 1280Regulations under this section shall not exclude the rights of statutory undertakers, sewerage authorities or the Post Office to place and maintain apparatus in, under, along or across any part of a walkway, being a part which is not supported by any structure.In other words, any walkway which is on the ground.
While the Minister will take powers under regulations to see that other people observe any necessary restrictions, no restrictions at all are to be placed on the statutory undertakers. If I were the owner of a property and the highway authority said they would like to have a walkway on my property, or adjoining it, and said, "Of course, the Minister will make regulations governing the use of this and we shall have by-laws, but none of these shall have any power at all with regard to the statutory undertakers", I should regard it as unfair. We know that statutory undertakers sometimes exercise their powers very arbitrarily indeed, and unless the Minister implies that he will take some powers by regulation to limit them it will be an extremely hard job to get any agreements at all, however necessary they may be. Once the owner is told by the highway authority that they can give him only limited protection because they can give him only the protection which the Minister will prescribe, and they specifically exclude the statutory undertakers, the owner will not cooperate. While, obviously, the statutory undertakers must have rights—that is recognized—they ought to be subject to some sort of regulations, even if they are not precisely the same as those which will apply to other persons and other bodies.
I hope the Minister will be able to look at this matter again, with a view at least to seeing that statutory undertakings are brought under some sort of control—not arbitrary and not necessarily out of keeping with what they ought properly to have. At least they ought not to be empowered at any time to chop up a walkway (as they do at the present time) and they usually do it one after the other and not together, as they are supposed to do under the existing regulations. If something could be done about this it would be helpful because it would also show some sort of pattern for the future as to what ought to be done in a general way. I hope the Minister will be able to meet these points.
§ LORD NUGENT OF GUILDFORD
I, too, congratulate my noble friend on breaking new ground—or taking a little step in the air, I suppose it is here. But I am going to follow the wise words of the noble Lord, Lord Pargiter, by also expressing a note of anxiety that has been voiced by the National Association of Property Owners, who fear that the rights of the private property owner may be prejudiced by this new clause. I have noted, of course, that my noble friend has stressed that these acquisitions would be made by agreement only. Nevertheless, the property owners, who naturally have had some experience of developing property and of negotiations with public authorities, have also had experience that pressures can be put upon them and that, although there may be voluntary agreement, the pressures sometimes wring out of them concessions which they would have been reluctant to concede. They feel that they need a safeguard here, and it is common knowledge to noble Lords, I am sure, that planning consent is sometimes difficult to get unless the dedication of a piece of property in a major development is made for a highway. These things do happen, and I am sure my noble friend realises that a safeguard is needed here to make sure that these agreements are completely voluntary and that no pressures of such a kind could be put on a property owner in these circumstances.
I am sure my noble friend is conscious that he and I, and indeed probably noble Lords in all parts of the Committee, want to see these urban developments done with private capital. They are expensive, they are often difficult and chancy, and it is far better that they should be done, wherever possible, by private capital and by a private developer. Therefore it is particularly important to see that in taking this step—which in my judgment is a very wise step to take—we shall see more walkways constructed in the future. I am sure this is the right thing to do in urban developments but we must be certain that the urban developer is not discouraged by this imaginative step that is being taken by my noble friend.
There are two points that I should like to put to my noble friend. One is whether he will open consultations immediately with the private property owners. They have not been included in the consultations 1282 that have taken place to date, and they would like to be taken into consultation right away. Secondly, I urge that they should be consulted later, when regulations are drawn up, particularly to cover such points as the noble Lord, Lord Pargiter, mentioned, to get the right balance between the interests of the private property owner and the statutory undertakers, because as the clause is drafted it looks as though the statutory undertaker might come out rather better than the private property owners. If my noble friend will be good enough to give those assurances I feel sure that private property owners generally will welcome this as being an imaginative measure.
§ 7.43 p.m.
§ LORD SANDFORD
I am grateful once again for the welcome given by noble Lords to this concept as well: in my view, it will undoubtedly do a great deal to improve the urban environment. I was asked by the noble Lord, Lord Pargiter, about the status of existing walkways. In fact it varies, because the Acts under which they have so far been obtained also vary; but I confirm that their status will rest on the Acts under which they were obtained and will not be affected by this particular clause.
The noble Lord then asked me about the effect of subsections (8) and (9) on the statutory undertakers, drawing my attention particularly to the word "exclude" in subsection (9). But the use of the word "exclude" there does not override the two words "restricting" and "regulating" in subsection (8)(c), which certainly applies. The activities of the statutory undertakers will be subject to restriction and to regulation, but not to complete exclusion. The precise effect of those terms, taken together, is something which we shall need to go into more fully in 'the consultations which I confirm will certainly be carried out before the regulations are made.
That brings me to the remarks made by my noble friend Lord Nugent of Guildford. It is perfectly legitimate and understandable, and indeed desirable, that there should be full safeguards for the property owners. In spite of what I have said about the whole clause being based on agreements freely entered into, I can give him an assurance that there will be now the fullest consultations before the next stage, in order to see whether any 1283 further safeguards can be built in that will meet the wishes of the property owners. I can give him an assurance that there will be consultations on that point and on any other points they care to raise with my Department before the next stage. Furthermore, there will be consultations both with the property owners and with the statutory undertakers, and with others, before the regulations envisaged in subsection (8) are drawn up.
§ LORD PARGITER
I thank the noble Lord for what he has said. There is just one point that I wish to make. Existing walkways will be covered by existing Acts of Parliament, and in the interests of uniformity it may well be desirable, in the interests of all parties concerned, to transfer them to this statute in order to get a uniform standard. I should like to know whether or not that can be done, and, if it cannot be done at the moment, whether the noble Lord will consider the desirability of arranging it, where it is done voluntarily, and they could be so transferred.
§ LORD SANDFORD
I can certainly give an undertaking that it will be looked into, but I should not like to give any undertaking that it could be done until it has been looked into.
VISCOUNT COLVILLE OF CULROSS
My Lords, I think my noble friend will probably discover that the form of this new clause is in common form with most of the local enactments anyway.
§ Clauses 18 to 20 agreed to.
§ Clause 21 [Extension of powers relating to drainage of highways]:
§ 7.52 p.m.
§ LORD SANDFORD
My Lords, Amendment No. 3 is another paving Amendment to Amendment No. 8. I beg to move.
§ Page 21, line 24, at end insert ("lory area"). —(Lord Sandford.)
§ On Question, Amendment agreed1284
§ LORD SANDFORD moved Amendment No. 4:
Page 21, line 43, at end insert:
("(11) The provisions of the said section 103 and of subsection (8) above are without prejudice to the provisions of any enactment the purpose of which is to protect water against pollution.").
§ The noble Lord said: My Lords, this Amendment fulfils the promise given in Committee to my noble friend Lord Nugent of Guildford that nothing in this clause, which authorises the discharge of water from highways, should override legislation dealing with pollution.
§ Clause 21, as amended, agreed to.
§ Clauses 22 to 24 agreed to.
§ Clause 25 [Provision of picnic sites and public conveniences for users of trunk roads]:
LORD SANDFORD moved Amendment No. 5:
Page 24, line 19, at end insert ("the Greater London Council").
§ The noble Lord said: This and the next Amendment, No. 6, of which I gave notice to the Committee, make fully comprehensive the catalogue of local authorities who may be involved in providing picnic sites and public conveniences on trunk roads. Amendments to Schedules 1 and 13 likewise bring the G.L.C. into Schedules 1 and 13. I mention them now, but if any noble Lord wants any further explanation I can give it to him when those Amendments are reached.
VISCOUNT COLVILLE OF CULROSS
My Lords, I should like to take this opportunity of saying, since my noble friend has mentioned Amendment No. 33, which is a specific matter which I know was worrying the Greater London Council, how grateful they are to have this small point about watercourses in their area cleared up.
§ Clause 25, as amended, agreed to.1285
§ Clause 26 [Provision for exercise by local authority of functions of Secretary of State with respect to management or provision of picnic sites, etc.]:
Page 26, line 10, after ("district") insert ("the Greater London Council").—(Lord Sandford.)
§ Clause 26, as amended, agreed to.
§ Clause 27 agreed to.
LORD SANDFORD moved Amendment No. 7:
After Clause 27, insert the following new clause:
§ Power to make advances in connection with provision of public conveniences
§ ".The power of the Secretary of State under section 235 of the principal Act to make, with Treasury approval, advances to highway authorities shall include power to make such advances in respect of expenses incurred by such an authority in connection with the provision of public sanitary conveniences on or under land forming part of, or adjoining, or in the vicinity of, a highway or proposed highway."
§ The noble Lord said: My Lords, in the earlier Committee the noble Lord, Lord Pargiter, moved a manuscript Amendment to the effect that grants should be paid to local highway authorities who provided public conveniences on existing local highways, and I asked for time for Her Majesty's Government to consider this point. We have concluded that it would be right for the Secretary of State to have power to pay grant in certain limited cases on principal roads where such provision was clearly required to meet other than local demands. We have thought it right, while doing this, to widen the scope of the Amendment to include new principal roads as well as existing principal roads, and the rate of grant is 75 per cent.
§ LORD PARGITER
I am particularly grateful to the noble Lord for having accepted the spirit, at any rate, and almost the words, of an Amendment which I moved in the Committee previously. There is only one small point I would raise. I am sure that this is the intention. Presumably these rank pari passuwith any other type of public convenience 1286 which is erected with the authority of the Department or approval of the Treasury, and presumably the grant will be at the same rate. That is the only point I have in mind.
§ LORD SANDFORD
Amendment No. 8 is the substantive part of the matter which we discussed on Amendment No. 1.
After Clause 27, insert the following new clause:
§ Provision of areas for parking heavy goods vehicles, etc.
§ ".—(1) A highway authority shall have power to provide on land adjoining, or in the vicinity of, a highway or proposed highway for which they are, or, as the case may be, will be. the highway authority an area which may be used for all or any of the following purposes, that is to say—
- (a) the parking of heavy goods vehicles;
- (b) the transfer of goods to or from any such vehicle from or to any other vehicle; and
- (c) the temporary storage of goods which have been or are to be carried by heavy good, vehicles.
§ An area provided under this section is hereinafter referred to as a "lorry area".
§ (2) A highway authority by whom a lorry area is provided shall have power to erect buildings and execute works on the area for the purpose of providing all or any of the following, that is to say—
- (a) parking places for heavy goods vehicles;
- (b) a means of access to and from the area from or to a highway;
- (c) facilities for the accommodation of persons and the provision and consumption of meals and refreshments;
- (d) facilities for handling and storing goods;
- (e) service station facilities; and
- (f) public sanitary conveniences (including lavatories);
§ (3) A highway authority shall have power to make arrangements with some other person, not being a council, for anything which that authority have power to do under subsection (2) above to be done by that other person and power to lease the lorry area or any part thereof to that other person, but shall not themselves have power to operate any such facilities as are mentioned in paragraphs (c), (d) and (e) of that subsection.
§ (4) Where a lorry area is provided by the Secretary of State under this section he may 1287 enter into agreements with a local authority for the exercise by that authority of all or any of his powers under subsection (2) above so, however, that section 10(2) of the principal Act (discharge of functions delegated by the Secretary of State to a council) shall apply to the exercise of the powers of a local authority under any such agreement and to the conditions to be included in any such agreement as it applies to the discharge of functions delegated under that section to a council and to the conditions to be attached to any such delegation.
§ (5) Section 31 of the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1967 (provision as to use of certain parking places) shall apply in relation to a lorry area provided under this section as it applies in relation to a parking place provided under section 28 of that Act as if for references to a local authority there were substituted references to a highway authority, and sections 84A, 84B and 84C of that Act (provisions relating to certain orders, including orders under the said section 31) shall have effect as if references therein to the said section 31 included references to that section as applied by this subsection.
§ (6) The power of the Secretary of State tinder section 235 of the principal Act to make, with Treasury approval, advances to a highway authority shall include power to make such advances in respect of expenses incurred by such an authority in connection with the provision of a lorry area or in the exercise of any other power under this section.
§ (7) A local authority may contribute towards any expenses incurred by the Secretary of State under this section.
§ (8) Nothing in section 88 of the Public Health Act 1936 (restriction on erection of public sanitary conveniences in, or accessible from, streets) shall affect the powers of a highway authority under this section.
§ (9) In this section "heavy goods vehicle" has the meaning assigned to it by section 199(1) of the Road Traffic Act 1960 and "local authority" has the same meaning as in section 26 of this Act.") —(Lord Sandford.)
§ LORD LUCAS OF CHILWORTH
My Lords, it is at this point that I should express my reservations on what the noble Lord, Lord Sandford, said on this Amendment, No. 8 and various subsections. Having had the opportunity of reflecting on what he said, I must emphasise that my unhappiness is not diminished by what he said, and it may well be that I shall wish to discuss this again at the later stage.
§ Clause 28 [Control of builders' skips]:
§ The noble Lord said: Amendment No. 9 and the succeeding Amendment, No. 10, fulfil an undertaking given in Committee, at column 63, in response to considerations advanced by my noble friend Lord Brooke of Cumnor and my noble friend Lord Chesham. They introduce greater flexibility into the procedure under the clause by allowing highway authorities to permit anyone, not only the owners of building skips, to deposit them on the highway or to cause them to be deposited there, and I hope this and the other explanations I gave at the time meet the considerations that my noble friend Lord Brooke introduced into the Committee.
§ LORD BROOKE OF CUMNOR
My Lords, this completely meets the point I raised in my Amendment in the previous Committee, and I am most grateful to the noble Lord. I think the wording of this Amendment is almost identical with the Amendment which I moved and then withdrew at his request, though I never would have spotted the necessity for the consequential Amendment, No. 11.
Page 28, line 41, leave out from ("agreement") to end of line 42.—(Lord Sandford.)
§ Clause 28, as amended, agreed to.
§ Clauses 29 to 32 agreed to.
§ Clause 33 [Building operations affecting public safety]:
§ LORD SANDFORD
My Lords, Amendment No. 11 is a minor technical Amendment to correct a drafting slip. The effect of the Amendment is to make it clear that the word "building" means any building and not a particular building. I beg to move.
Page 33, line 4, leave out second ("the") and insert ("a").—(Lord Sandford.)
§ Clause 33, as amended, agreed to.
§ Clauses 34 to 38 agreed to.1289
§ Clause 39 [Appeal against certain decisions of local highway authority under s. 38]:
§ LORD SANDFORD
My Lords, Amendment No. 12 fulfils an undertaking given in the Committee to include the words given in the Amendment, which I think speak for themselves.
Page 44, line 11, at end insert ("and shall consider any representations made by the local highway authority").—(Lord Sandford.)
§ Clause 39, as amended, agreed to.
§ Clause 40 agreed to
§ Clause 41 [Acquisition for highway construction, improvement, etc.]:
§ LORD SANDFORD
My Lords, Amendments Nos. 13 to 19 are consequential on Amendment No. 8 to which the Committee have already agreed. I beg to move No. 13.
§ Amendment moved—
Page 47, line 14, at end insert—
("(4A) A highway authority may acquire land which is required for the purpose of providing a lorry area in the exercise of their powers under section (Provision of areas for parking heavy goods vehicles, etc.) of this Act.") —(Lard Sandford.)
§ Clause 41, as amended, agreed to.
§ Clause 42 agreed to.
§ Clause 43 [Acquisition in advance of requirements]:
§ 8.0 p.m.
Page 48, line 29, leave out ("or trunk road picnic area") and insert ("trunk road picnic area or lorry area").—(Lord Sandford.)
§ Clause 43, as amended, agreed to.
§ Clauses 44 to 47 agreed to.
§ Clause 48 [Distance limits from highway applicable to compulsory acquisition]:
§ Amendment moved—
Page 54, line 3, at end insert—
("( e) in the exercise of the powers of section 41(4A) of this Act acquire com-
pulsorily land lying more than 880 yards from the middle of the highway or proposed highway on land adjoining, or in the vicinity of, which a lorry area is to be provided").—(Lord Sandford.)
Page 54, line 22, leave out second ("or")—
Page 54, line 23, after ("area") insert ("or lorry area").—(Lord Sandford.)
§ Clause 48, as amended, agreed to.
§ Clause 49 [Clearance of title to land acquired for statutory purpose.]:
Page 55, line 18, after ("Act") insert ("and to land acquired by a highway authority in exercise of the power conferred by section 41 (4A) thereof").
Page 55, line 22, at end insert ("or, as the case may be, to a highway authority and a lorry area").—(Lord Sandford.)
§ Clause 49, as amended, agreed to.
§ Clauses 50 to 52 agreed to.
§ Clause 53 [Special parliamentary procedure in relation to compulsory purchase of open spaces.]:
§ LORD SANDFORD
I beg to move Amendment No. 20. I gave notice of this in Committee. It is little more than drafting. Where the sense now is "widening or draining" it becomes, in effect, "widening and/or draining". This is what is desired. I beg to move.
Page 58, line 7, at end insert ("and after the word "highway" there shall be inserted the words "or partly for the widening and partly for the drainage of such a highway"."). Page 55, line 18,(Lord Sandford.)
§ Clause 53, as amended, agreed to.
§ Clauses 54 to 56 agreed to.
§ Clause 57 [Contributions towards expenses incurred by a highway authority in executing certain works by persons deriving special benefit therefrom.]:
LORD SANDFORD moved Amendment No. 21:
Page 61, line 5, after ("section") insert ("may provide for the making to the highway authority by the other party to the agreement of payments in respect of the maintenance of the works to which the agreement relates and").
§ The noble Lord said: This Amendment, of which notice was also given on the earlier Committee, ensures that agreements under Clause 57, which provide for contributions towards highway works by persons deriving special benefit therefrom, may also provide not only for contributions towards capital costs but towards the maintenance costs of the works involved. I beg to move.
§ Clause 57, as amended, agreed to.
§ Clauses 58 to 61 agreed to.
§ Clause 62 [Supplementary provisions as to powers of entry for the purpose of survey.]:
§ LORD SANDFORD moved Amendments Nos. 22 to 27.
§ Page 63, line 35, leave out ("and").
§ Page 63, line 36, at end insert ("and any river authority").
§ Page 64, line 5, leave out ("or") and insert ("any").
§ Page 64, line 6, after ("undertakers") insert ("or any river authority").
§ Page 64, line 9, after ("undertaking") insert ("or, in the case of a sewerage authority or a river authority, would obstruct or impede the performance of their functions under any enactment").
Page 64, line 24, at end insert—
("( ) in relation to a river authority, the Secretary of State and the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food acting jointly;").
§ The noble Lord said: Amendments Nos. 22 to 27 fulfil another undertaking given in the earlier Committee. They would add references to river authorities in subsections 5 and 7 of Clause 62 so as to extend to such authorities the protection of these provisions in respect of 1292 survey works by highway authorities. I beg to move all six Amendments.
§ Clause 62, as amended, agreed to.
§ Clause 63 [Powers of entry for purpose of maintaining, etc., certain structures and work]:
§ LORD SANDFORD moved Amendments Nos. 28, 29 and 30:
Page 64, line 40, at end insert—
("( ) In relation to a bridge to which section 118 of the Transport Act 1968 (duty of highway authorities, etc. as respects bridges over railways or inland waterways) applies, being a bridge belonging to a highway authority, subsections (1) and (2) above shall have effect subject to the provisions of that section.").
§ Page 65, line 3, leave out ("affects") and insert ("shall affect").
Page 65, line 5, at end insert—
("( ) Nothing in this section shall affect any agreement for the time being in force between a highway authority having power or a right to maintain, alter or remove a structure or work and any person having an interest in the land on, over or under which it is situated, being an agreement relating to the maintenance of or other dealing with the structure or work.")
§ The noble Lord said: I think it will be for the convenience of the Committee if these three Amendments, of which I gave notice on Committee, are taken together, although they deal with separate points. Section 118 of the Transport Act 1968 deals with highway bridges over railways and canals. The first Amendment makes it clear that Clause 63 of this Bill does not override Section 118 of that Act. Amendment No. 29 is a drafting Amendment. Amendment No. 30 makes it clear that Clause 63, which provides the framework for future agreements about such things as the upkeep of bridges, does not upset existing agreements. I beg to move.
§ Clause 63, as amended, agreed to.
§ Clauses 64 to 67 agreed to.
§ Clause 68 [Amendment of penalties for certain offences]:
LORD SANDFORD moved Amendment No. 31:
Page 68, line 2, after ("words"") insert ("liable").
§ The noble Lord said: This is a drafting correction. As subsection (1) of the clause is at present drafted, Section 141 of the 1959 Act has been rendered meaningless since, by drafting convention, the word "liable" is deleted from Section 141 and the subsection does not provide for its replacement. The Amendment will put this right.
§ Clause 68, as amended, agreed to.
§ Clauses 69 to 80 agreed to.
§ Clause 81 [Interpretation]:
§ Amendment moved—
Page 75, line 17, at end insert—
(""lorry area" means an area provided under section (Provision of areas for parking heavy goods vehicles, etc.) of this Act;").—(Lord sandford.)
§ Clause 81, as amended, agreed to.
§ Clauses 82 to 84 agreed to.
Page 79, line 25, at end insert ("and, if the waters or watercourse affected are or is within the London excluded area as defined in paragraph 15(3) of Schedule 14 to the London Government Act 1963, the Greater London Council").—(Lord Sandford.)
§ Schedule 1, as amended, agreed to.
§ Schedules 2 and 3 agreed to.
§ Schedule 4 [Purposes for which additional land may be taken in advance of requirements]:1294
§ Amendment moved—
§ Page 83, line 39, at end insert—
|("Section 41 (4A)
|The provision of a lorry area.
|The extension of the lorry area.")
§ (Lord Sandford).
§ Schedule 4, as amended, agreed to.
§ Schedule 5 agreed to.
§ Schedule 6 [Compulsory acquisition of rights: modification of 1946 and 1965 Acts]:
LORD SANDFORD moved Amendment No. 35:
Page 85, line 4, at end insert ("or in connection partly with the widening and partly with the drainage of such a highway, and that the giving of other land in exchange for the right is unnecessary, whether in the interests of the persons, if any, entitled to rights of common or other rights or in the interests of the public").
§ The noble Lord said: Amendment No. 35, of which notice was given in the Committee at (column 83), corrects a drafting omission in the Bill as printed, and also covers the situation in which rights over certain categories of land are required partly for draining and partly for the widening of an existing highway. The Bill, as drafted, provides for one or the other but not for both in the case of the same piece of land, and this Amendment puts that right. I beg to move
§ Schedule 6, as amended, agreed to.
§ Schedules 7 to 12 agreed to.
§ Schedule 13 [Part I of Schedule 1 to Principal Act as amended]:
Page 96, line 32, at end insert ("and if the waters or watercourse affected are or is within the London excluded area as defined in paragraph 15(3) of Schedule 14 to the London Government Act 1963, the Greater London Council")—(Lord Sandford.)
§ Schdule 13, as amended, agreed to.1295
§ In the Title:
§ Line 6, at end insert ("the")—( Lord Sandford.)
§ LORD SANDFORD
Your Lordships will be relieved to see that this is the last consequential Amendment concerning the creation of lorry areas, and the last Government Amendment. May I thank the Committee for their indulgence? I beg to move Amendment No. 38.
Line 7, after ("highways") insert ("provisions authorising the provision of facilities for purposes connected with the transport of goods by road")—(Lord Sandford.)
§ Title, as amended, agreed to.
§ House resumed: Bill reported, with the Amendments.