§ [The Question was as follows:
§ To ask Her Majesty's Government what action it is proposed to take in regard to abandoned canals, owing to the difficulty of ascertaining the ownership and responsibility for preventing flooding of adjacent areas, to the detriment of agricultural drainage schemes authorised and financed by the land drainage authority.]
THE EARL OF GOSFORD
My Lords, the old problem of abandoned canals whose owners have long since disappeared was examined by the Bowes Committee of Inquiry into Inland Waterways. The Committee recommended that canals inadequately covered under past measures should in suitable cases be dealt with under the re-development procedure proposed by them. It is open to a local authority or a drainage authority (including a river board) in appropriate cases to seek control of such a canal by acquisition or private legislation.
The Government hope that it will be found possible to re-develop or eliminate some of these canals under the arrangements set out in the "Government proposals following the Report of the Committee of Inquiry into Inland Waterways". In any event the problem to which my noble friend has drawn attention will certainly be examined when general legislation flowing from the Bowes Committee Report is considered.