§ 2.48 p.m.
§ Order of the Day for the Second Reading read.
§ LORD CHAMPION
My Lords, I beg to move that this Bill be now read a second time. This Bill is to confirm a Provisional Order which has been made by my right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Wales under Section 303 of the Public Health Act 1875 and Section 317 of the Public Health Act 1936. Section 303 of the Act of 1875, as extended by Section 317 of the Public Health Act 1936, and as applied to the Western Valleys (Monmouthshire) Sewerage Board, enables my right honourable friend, on the application of the Board, wholly or partially to repeal, alter or amend, with certain exceptions, by means of a Provisional Order any local Act which relates to the same subject matter as the Acts of 1875 and 1936.
The Board have made an application to my right honourable friend to amend the local Acts under which the Board has been constituted. The Board was originally constituted under a local Act of 1903, and many of the general statutory provisions which were made applicable to the Board have now become obsolete in that they have been repealed and replaced by modern enactments. The main purpose of the Board's application was to bring their local Acts up to date by making applicable to the Board the 9 modern provisions which are now applicable to local authorities generally, and to enable them to establish a reserve fund. My right honourable friend has approved this application and has made the Order; hence this Bill. I hope that the House will give a Second Reading to this Bill. I beg to move.
§ Moved, That the Bill be now read 2a.—(Lord Champion.)
§ LORD ABERDARE
My Lords, I am very grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Champion, for explaining this very simple Bill. Indeed, the Title is almost longer than the Bill itself. However, the Schedule is very complicated. The only point to which I would draw your Lordships' attention is that, as I understand it, it includes a power of compulsory purchase. I know that many of your Lordships are very chary when it comes to granting such a power, and I would ask the noble Lord whether he would care to comment on this and to assure us that this is a normal power for such a sewerage board and one which will be used only subject to the normal safeguards.
§ LORD CHAMPION
My Lords, I am grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Aberdare, for having raised this point and, what is more, for having given me advance notice that he proposed to raise it. The explanation, I fear, has to be rather lengthy. Under Section 306 of the Public Health Act, 1936 local authorities can be authorised by the appropriate Minister to purchase land compulsorily for the purpose of enabling them to carry out their statutory duties relating to the sewerage of their districts in cases where the necessary land cannot be acquired by agreement. The Western Valleys (Monmouthshire) Sewerage Board is a union of local authorities who have combined for the purpose of carrying out certain of their statutory duties relating to the disposal of sewage of the various constituent authorities. Although each constituent authority has the power of compulsory purchase for sewerage purposes under Section 306 of the 1936 Act, the Board does not have this power. My right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Wales considers it desirable that the Board should have this power to enable it to carry out its statutory duties satisfactorily. There are some six joint sewerage boards in Wales; four of 10 these already have such compulsory powers as are contained in the Schedule. My Lords, this Order is well precedented in this regard. I hope that the noble Lord will accept my explanation and that the House will now be prepared to give the Bill a Second Reading.
§ On Question, Bill read 2a, and committed to the Committee on Unopposed Bills.