§ Mr. Baldwin (Leominster)
I beg to move, in page 9, line 28, at the end, to insert:'animal' means any horse, pony, cattle, ass, mule, sheep, pig or goat.1457 If it would be in Order, I should like to ask that the words "or dog" be added at the end of the Amendment and that I be allowed to move it in that form. My hon. Friend who drafted it must have forgotten our very faithful friends, whom I should like to be included. The word "animal" appears many times throughout the Bill, and I think the time might arise when the courts might be asked to give a definition of this word.
I am sure that my overworked legal Friends will not mind if I suggest that the Amendment is necessary to clarify the position. For instance, it will be seen from Clause 2 (4) that the "appropriate authority" has power to determine that a by-pass is unnecessary. One of the reasons for such a determination may be that the by-pass is not necessary fordriven, led or ridden animals or any description of such animals.I think that the addition of the definition contained in the Amendment will prove to be of assistance in the future. I suggest that a similar form of words should be used to that contained in section 22 (3) of the Road Traffic Act, 1930, which states:In this section, the expression 'animal' means any horse, cattle, ass, mule, sheep, pig, goat, or dog.I hope that the Amendment will commend itself to the Committee.
I take it that the hon. Member wishes to include the words "or dog" at the end of his Amendment, so that it will conclude with the words, "… pig goat or dog"?
I wish to support the Amendment, particularly with the inclusion of the words "or dog." Dogs are still essential on many farms, particularly sheep farms and many farmers find dogs very useful. I know from my experience that dogs have considerable difficulty in crossing these grids. I have a grid outside my house, and I notice that my dog always runs along a little wall at the side of it and never tries to cross it in any other way. Some of these grids might not have the necessary wall. It is also possible that sheep brought down from the hills may never have seen one of these grids before. I think it essential that the words "or dog" should be added to the list descriptive of the word "animal."
§ The Solicitor-General
The Amendment proposed would not really improve the Bill, but, on the contrary, would limit its scope and have the effect of frustrating the very purpose which hon. Members supporting the Amendment have in mind. I would remind the Committee of the structure of the Bill. The word "animal" is left undefined, that is to say, it is entirely comprehensive and may cover any kind of animal. If we look back to the beginning of the Bill we see that the appropriate authority can insert a cattle-grid; when we look to see what a cattle-grid is we see that it isa device designed to prevent the passage of animals, or animals of any particular description.As the Bill is constructed, the authority can consider what kind of animal they want to hinder in passage in a particular locality and construct a cattle-grid to be suitable to deal with those animals. Therefore, if one limits the categories of animals with which the authority can deal by inserting a definition as is proposed by the Amendment, we would limit the power of the authority to deal with any kind of animal not within the terms of the definition. Dogs could now be dealt with by the authority, but other sorts of animal which are not included in the definition which it is sought to insert would be excluded from the purview of the Bill and the result of limiting the term "animal" to certain specific animals would be to rob the authority of power to provide a cattle-grid to deal with any other such animals.
By limiting the category of animals and putting in a definition such as is suggested, one is limiting the authority by saying that it cannot provide cattle-grids for dealing with any animals other than those defined. It is, therefore, better to leave the wording as it is. One might want to deal with all sorts of animals. For example, deer are not included in the definition and perhaps—to take a more extreme and unlikely example, but a possible example, nevertheless—there might be a private park in which there are animals of a very unusual kind kept in order to gratify the whim of the proprietor who might be interested in that kind of animal.
As the Bill stands, in that unlikely and extreme event it would be possible to provide a cattle-grid to deal with that kind of animal—I hesitate to give an example, 1459 but they may be kangaroos or zebras, or anything else. But, if the definition limits animals to certain specific types of animals, the authority could not deal with any unusual sorts they wanted to deal with in some locality.
§ 6.45 p.m.
§ Mr. Hay
I think I speak for bon. Members on all sides of the Committee when I say I find the explanation of the Solicitor-General rather fanciful and fantastic. Apart from deer, which I agree, are omitted, the definition is comprehensive and includes practically every sort of animal which it is possible to imagine would be hindered in passage by a cattle-grid. The purpose is to provide cattle-grids, not zebra grids, or elephant grids, or anything of that kind. Dogs are domestic animals, but they are of very great use in the countryside——
§ The Solicitor-General
The hon. Member says that the definition is extensive. I quite agree, but it is not as extensive as the Bill as it stands, because the Bill is now all comprehensive.
§ Mr. Hay
That adds point to the remarks I was making. I suggest that the Amendment deals with almost every kind of animal one is likely to find in the countryside and I cannot see why the right hon. and learned Gentleman should deny that. It makes the position exactly clear and I urge the right hon. and learned Gentleman to accept the Amendment.
§ Mr. Renton
I find myself in disagreement with my hon. Friend the Member for Henley (Mr. Hay). In the first place I disagree that the Amendment is comprehensive of all types of domestic animals which one might usually find on farms and on the countryside. It does not include "mare" and, as hon. Members know, "horse" is the male of the species. Also, if we mention "mule," we should also mention the converse, and I am not sure what the converse is.
§ Mr. Renton
If we mention dog I am not sure that we ought not to mention hound, because some people would greatly object to hounds being referred to as dogs. I am sure that in law the right hon. and learned Gentleman is right 1460 when he says it is better to leave the word "animal," because, if we use other words, they will be words of limitation, which might be dangerous. I must disagree with him, however, if he was making a point of law, when he said that if people have in their parks or grounds peculiar kinds of animals, presumably wild animals, that there will be cattle-grids specially designed for them. He must know that a person who keeps a wild animal does so at his peril, and is not likely to be so unwise as to try to keep it in and away from his neighbours by a kind of fancy cattle-grid.
§ Mr. Baldwin
I think there is some confusion in this matter. We are not proposing the Amendment for the purpose of using the grid as a stoppage for animals, but so that the description of the animals should be quite clear. By Clause 2 (4) the authority have the right to remove a by-pass. We want it quite clear why they should have the right to remove a by-pass where the following words apply:Where, as respects a by-pass provided for use in connection with a cattle-grid which has not been removed, being a by-pass required to be provided only for driven, led or ridden animals or any description of such animals.We do not want the by-passes done away with and we are not trying to stop lions in a park, but we want the by-pass to remain so that animals can go over a grid. We are not talking about confining animals to a park with a grid, but we are talking about a case in which an authority can decide whether a by-pass need be removed, or not, although the grid may be left. If we do away with the by-pass and leave the grid we shall be stopping the passage of certain animals and it should be clearly defined what "removed" really means. I think the Amendment is comprehensive. If it is desired to insert another description, well and good, but we are looking at it from a different point of view.
§ Amendment negatived.
§ Viscount Hinchingbrooke
I beg to move, in page 9, line 39, to leave out from "means," to the end of line 41, and to insert:such part of a highway as is metalled or which has otherwise been laid out for the passage of wheeled vehicles.The object of this Amendment is to provide a new definition of the word 1461 "road" in place of the one which the Amendment seeks to delete. This matter is a little complicated. At the present moment a road is defined as including the grass verges on each side of it. That is clearly the case because the definition of "road" contained in the Bill refers to a:way along which there exists a public right of passage with vehicles, …We all know that the grass verges of roads constitute a right of way and that many people use them as such. Therefore, "road" has the wider definition of being what is between the two hedges, including the verges on each side as well as the carriageway or metalled strip. If that is the definition it seems to me to make nonsense of the proviso to Clause 1 (3), which we were discussing earlier, by which the appropriate authority is empowered to take over:common or waste land not forming part of the road, …because if it does not form part of the road according to the definition I have given it must be land which is over the hedge.
It is clear from what has been said this afternoon both by my hon. Friends in supporting Amendments and the Minister in replying that no one has had any such idea in their mind. Therefore, according to those who drafted the proviso to Clause 1 (3) "road" means the metalled strip and that the grass verge on each side is in the nature of common or waste land between the hedges which might be taken over. So we are thrown back upon the definition which I want to put into the Bill, which supports the view held by many people that a highway is the metalled strip plus the verges on each side up to the hedges, and that a road is none other than the actual carriageway or appropriate piece of land. I should like the Minister to accept our Amendment which so defines "road" in the knowledge that in so doing he is putting some sense into the proviso in Clause 1 (3).
§ The Solicitor-General
Let me take the first point on which I part company with the noble Lord. When referring to a road we should on the definition which he is proposing to put in the Bill have to go on extending it sideways until we somewhere found a hedge. A road as described in the definition which the Bill now contains is simply the carriageway, 1462 the verge, and that part of the adjoining area which one can reasonably say comes within the boundary of the roadway itself. The noble Lord referred to the proviso to Clause 1 (3). Suppose there is a road with a carriageway and a verge, and then at the edge of the verge waste land begins. If he is correct the road is the carriageway and the verge commences where the waste land begins. The definition in the Bill fits in exactly with the proviso to Clause 1 (3).
If we re-defined "road" in the sense in which the noble Lord proposes we should have to do a great deal of redrafting of other parts of the Bill, in particular in connection with the proviso to Clause 1 (3), and we should have to deal with the position which would arise when we speak of building a gate outside the roadway. As the definition stands at present it is perfectly intelligible. Everyone knows what they mean by the boundaries of a road, they can always tell where they are when they see them. There is no reason to extend them sideways in the way suggsted in the Amendment.
I would ask the Committee to say that the definition in the Bill is perfectly intelligible, that there is no reason to alter it, and by so doing have to make the many consequential Amendments which would be required. Apart from that, the proposed definition, in referring only to:such part of a highway as is metalled …is too limited in scope. I hope that the Committee will agree that the Amendment does not improve the Bill, would require changes to be made in the Bill and would itself introduce uncertainty.
§ Mr. Renton
I was a little surprised that the Solicitor-General did not point out some precedent for this definition of a road because there have been roads in this country ever since this House has been passing laws. A great number of definitions—I am afraid different ones— of roads and highways have occurred throughout our legislation. We do not wish to add to the list of definitions but if there is a useful precedent it would be helpful to include it in this Bill. If this definition follows a precedent my hon. Friends might think differently about the matter. If it is some new departure can we be told that also? Let us try to make this important Bill dovetail with highway legislation that has gone before.
§ Sir A. Hudson
I was about to ask much the same question, namely, from whence comes this definition which is in the Bill? The definition says that "road" meansany way along which there exists a public right of passage with vehicles, whether exerciseable over the whole or a part only of the width of the way;".If one begins driving a vehicle over the grass verge one very soon finds that it is strongly objected to by the local authority or the highway authority. I am not asserting that the definition is a wrong one but it would be useful if we could find some definition of highway in the old Road Acts which would meet the case. The definition at present in the Bill does not seem to do so. It does not seem to me that one has a right to drive one's vehicle along the grass verge. I wonder if the Solicitor-General can tell us from whence came the definition?
I would support what has just been said by my hon. Friend. I note that the definition of "road" in the Road Traffic Act, 1930, is quite different from that contained in the Bill. It says:'Road' means any highway and any other road to which the public has access, and includes bridges over which a road passes.So in this Bill we are making a completely new definition.
§ The Solicitor-General
The difficulty about trying to define a road, or highway, or a way is that there is no uniform definition upon which one can fix. If there was a universal definition in the many Acts of Parliament which deal with roads and highways it would be a good idea to reproduce it in this Bill. But there are a whole variety of definitions of all kinds. Therefore, when drafting a new Measure there is no reason for using any particular definition which does not easily fit in with the context of the Bill. The definition which is contained in the Bill does, and I hope that the Committee will agree that there is no reason for changing it, and by so doing have to make radical changes in the Bill which would be necessary in consequence of that change.
§ Amendment negatived.
§ Clause ordered to stand part of the Bill.