River Boards (Draft Orders)

Oral Answers to Questions — Agriculture – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 3rd November 1949.

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Photo of Mr Robin Turton Mr Robin Turton , Thirsk and Malton 12:00 am, 3rd November 1949

asked the Minister of Agriculture whether he will extend by one month the period in which drainage authorities may send observations upon the constitution of river boards proposed by him under the River Boards Act, 1948.

Mr. T. Williams:

The Minister of Health and I are anxious to set up a number of river boards that will take over functions from existing authorities on 1st April next. This can only be done if we deposit Draft Orders establishing these boards before the middle of November. In these cases, we do not feel able to extend the period of one month in which we asked for replies to our letter of 30th September, because of the consequent delay in setting up the boards. But we are ready to agree to a longer period in other cases.

Photo of Mr Robin Turton Mr Robin Turton , Thirsk and Malton

Does the Minister appreciate the difficulty in which this places the area of the River Ouse in Yorkshire, which has 60 different drainage authorities within the area, since it is impossible to obtain a considered opinion from those 60 authorities in the time stated?

Mr. Williams:

Yes, but I can assure the hon. Member that we have worked within very narrow limits and have done our best to help the various drainage boards.

Photo of Sir Henry Legge-Bourke Sir Henry Legge-Bourke , Isle of Ely

Will the Minister bear in mind that if these river boards are to function satisfactorily it is most important that the maximum amount of agreement beforehand should be achieved, and would he be prepared to consider, in certain cases, a delay in the setting up of the board, even of six months or a year?

Mr. Williams:

I have said something like that, although we do not want to delay as much as six to 12 months.