HL Deb 25 October 1973 vol 345 cc802-3WA

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What action they are proposing to take in view of a recent High Court judgment in favour of an urban district council, in the Hutton v. Esher U.D.C. case, allowing that huge trunk mains and sewers can be routed through private land—even when this involves the destruction of homes, etc., on the proposed line—without so much as consulting with the owners; and whether, if need be, legislation can be introduced to bring some ethical element into this anti-civic code.


The Court of Appeal decided that the Council had power to construct a public sewer in such circumstances after giving reasonable notice to every owner and occupier of the land and, as appears from their judgment, comparable powers have existed since 1875 at least. While the Government fully sympathise with the owner of the bungalow concerned (who, as the Court remarked, is of course entitled to full compensation), they believe that the rights of the individual must sometimes give way to the needs of the community in a matter touching the public health, and they have no proposals for amending legislation.