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14° Juli, 1927.] Mr. WILLIAM JAMES EAMES BINNIE.
759. Are you taking the first four miles? I am not taking four miles.
From Sutton Gault to Earith is about three miles.
760. He says four miles; but that would be substantially accurate?—Well, he is wrong, because here is the longtudinal section taken along the top of the bank.
761. The figure I gave you is substantially accurate for the purpose?—No, indeed it is not. This is a longitudinal section taken by Captain Batt at my request only a short time ago.
762. Mr. Robins says it is the statutory provision. I have been trying to point out that instead of 4 feet 6 inches it is 6 feet and over in places.
763. Mr. Robins says if your argument is right it suits him better. Surely this is right. If you put up that fixture, the discharge must be limited to the length of the weir. The water comes up and in order to get over the top it gets higher and higher and the ambit of discharge is proportionately less?-The discharge will be proportionate to the length of the weir. Is that what your question means?
764. Yes? Yes, the discharge is proportionate to the length.
765. That makes a great difference to your ideas and your calculations?-What does? Because the discharge is proportionate to the length of the weir?
766. No, because before the weir was put up and the discharge limited in that way, we had the area of the cradge bank?---The cradge bank is not a smoothtopped weir; it is a thing with grass and all sorts of things growing at the top. It has mounds up and down if you walk along it. You do not get the same sort of discharge over the cradge bank as over a masonry weir.
767. The rate of discharge over your fixed weir will be very much less than at the moment, and that will defeat the whole of your object?-I entirely dis
768. The third point is the Welmore Lake Sluice. I hope you see by now quite clearly what we fear. We fear
first of all that you are going to silt up the Hundred Foot River for which we have to pay; secondly we fear that by taking away the Seven Holes Sluice and putting in a fixed weir you are going to dam the water up against us there. The third disaster that we anticipate is the Welmore Lake Sluice. In the Welmore
Lake Sluice at the moment we have an automatic discharge, have we not?-What do you mean by an automatic discharge? 769. Doors that open automatically? -You mean tidal doors.
770. I mean what I said—automatic discharges? I may say that the sluice at the present moment is in such a decayed condition that it is letting the water run up underneath the sill.
771. That is due to the consistent neglect of the Fenmen because they have not done the work they were bound to do. What do you say to that?-What is the question?
772. You are going to take away an automatic door, are you not?-No, there would be no necessity to take automatic doors. We are going to put in sluices to control the discharge.
773. The fact that those doors are automatic was a great protection to us, was it not?-There is no reason, if you are afraid of it, why you should not get the same protection again.
774. Very well, perhaps that objection will go. If piece by piece we can get what we want we shall be glad. May I take it that you are prepared as far as your opinion goes to alter the scheme by giving us the same automatic protection?-Tidal doors could be added on the outside of the sluices, but the sluices would have to be controlled.
775. That is a very different matter. Let me make this plain to you. the moment as far as Welmore Lake sluice is concerned we are not in the hands of anybody. Nobody can control those doors which I have described as automatic?--Yes.
776. In your proposal you are going to put the control of the discharge in the hands of a Board. They can open or close them whenever they like?-Yes.
777. Have you appreciated that it is humanly certain that the Board will be controlled by the Fenmen?—Yes.
778. Do you really think that it is a good scheme, if you are viewing the rights of both parties, for which we have to pay, first of all to neglect the Hundred Foot River, and secondly to take away our Seven Holes Sluice?-You are making an assumption. Nobody said the Hundred Foot River is going to be neglected.
779. I will put it this way. Assuming I satisfy the Committee by my evidence -? That it is going to be neglected in the future?
14° Julii, 1927.] Mr. WILLIAM JAMES EAMES BINNIE.
780. Yes. How are you going to put that in evidence?
781. Mr. Raikes puts it to me that you have only allowed £1,000 for the maintenance of the Hundred Foot Riveronly £1,000 for everything?-In the Report, do you mean?
782. Yes. You do not get very far with £1,000, do you, when you are doing river work?-No.
783. If I can satisfy the Committee that under this scheme the Hundred Foot River is to be neglected, would you agree with me that that would be sufficient justification for throwing out the whole of this scheme?—No.
784. Would you still support the scheme?---The Hundred Foot River will not be neglected.
785. Assuming that I can satisfy the Committee that the provision made is not sufficient to maintain the Hundred Foot River and put it in repair, do you agree with me the scheme will be abandoned?-What scheme?
scheme of works?-What effect would that have between Denver Sluice downwards?
787. If you have to alter the scheme of works between Denver Sluice and Earith you would have to make some very substantial alterations in the Bill?-Supposing the Hundred Foot River did fall out of use in the future, the water instead of going down that channel would flow over the top of that cradge bank on to the Washlands.
788. I just want a very clear answer to a very clear question. Are you prepared to recommend as far as you can that proper allowance ought to be made in this Bill for the maintenance of the Hundred Foot River?.
Chairman.] Can we get this clear? As I understand the witness, he said that these estimates are not for maintenance; it is only a capital charge. There is a great difference between that and maintenance of the river. And also he says that the Hundred Foot River, except for the one point at the lower end, does not require any capital expenditure to any extent. That is, as I understand, the evidence. You are asking now a question on maintenance.
Mr. Van Den Berg. Yes. What I hope to satisfy you upon, both by evidence and if necessary by argument, is this. It is essential, first of all, from an engineering standpoint to preserve the Vermuyden scheme, which was that you should have short circuit by
means of the Hundred Foot River between Earith and Denver. I hope to show by evidence that the river has been consistently neglected, and, in the words of Mr. Preston, who conducted a most elaborate inquiry in 1918, it is essential, if you are going to use the resources of the Hundred Foot River as an artery, to spend a great deal of money upon it at this moment, and keep on spending money on it in the way of maintenance.
Chairman.] I understand you to be at issue with the witness on that as a matter of fact.
Mr. Van Den Berg.
789. You have heard what I said in answer to the noble Lord, Mr. Binnie. Am I not correct in saying that you do not intend, as part of the works you intend to erect and the money you propose to spend, to do anything to the Hundred Foot River at all except to the extent of two mounds?Except the lower two mounds.
790. There is one other matter I want
to put to you. The Committee have been told time and again in the opening that if they rejected this Bill something would have to be substituted for it because the danger was very great. That was said, was it not, upon information given by you? The Report says it. Do you agree with that part of the Report ?-Certainly. signed it.
791. Do you suggest to the Committee that there is any imminent danger at this moment that ought reasonably to be apprehended in the near future?—I doa very serious danger.
792. Do you suggest that the danger is so great that it is imperative in the next few months to force the Bill through, good or bad? The sooner work can be undertaken in that district the better.
793. That is another matter. I suppose everybody agrees that the sooner the river is improved the better, but you are not suggesting there is any danger in a delay for a year or two years?I should say any delay would be of the greatest importance. It is advisable to get through legislation at the earliest possible moment.
794. Speaking broadly, but you would not suggest that you know of any single fact which constitutes delay really dangerous at this moment?-I think the
14° Julii, 1927.]
Mr. WILLIAM JAMES EAMES BINNIE.
796. Can you point to any place where there is a dangerous inundation at this moment ?-Yes.
797. Where?-The whole of the Middle Level have hardly any space available for getting rid of their flood water.
798. Can you tell me of any case where you really apprehend the bursting of a bank or some great flood?-I have already answered that in the case of the Middle Level they are, I think, in a very dangerous condition at the present moment. They gave us all that evidence when we sat as a Commission.
799. Do you know that a very large sum of money has been spent upon maintaining this river and protecting it within the last two or three years?— Yes. There has been dredging done. think most of it has been in the South Level behind Denver Sluice.
800. Just to see how much you do know about that part of the matter-how much do you think has been spent in the last two or three years?—I cannot answer that.
801. Would you say £1,000 or £10,000, or more?-Captain Roseveare, who is following me as a witness, will be able to answer that.
802. According to my information, about £200,000 has been spent within the last few years in strengthening the banks? On the tidal portion of the
Ouse? It would surprise me enormously to hear that.
803. I did not say on the tidal portion. I mean the South Level? I do not know what they have spent. I know they have spent a considerable amount. That does not affect the problem as placed before us, which is the tidal portion of the river.
804. The river is in a better state today, is it not, than ever before within living memory?-Good heavens, it is terrible. I put something in to show the difference between 1916 and 1927.
Chairman.] Do you mean the tidal
Mr. Van Den Berg.
805. No, I was not referring to the tidal portion of the river at all?-The South Level I should say was in a very much better condition than it had been for a very long time. I should agree with that.
806. Let me see how far you would go. Supposing the Committee came to the opinion that this was not a scheme which justified an expenditure of so large a sum of money as you propose, do you suggest the danger at the moment is so great that it is better to take a bad scheme than nothing? I am to make the hypothesis that it is a bad scheme?
807. Yes?--Then I would sooner take a bad scheme than nothing.
808. You think the danger is so great at the moment?-Yes.
(The witness is directed to withdraw.) The Counsel and parties are directed to withdraw.
Ordered: That the Committee be adjourned to to-morrow, Eleven o'clock.
THE MARQUESS OF BATH, K.G., C.B., IN THE CHAIR.
The Counsel and Parties are ordered to be called in.
Mr. WILLIAM JAMES EAMES BINNIE is again called in and cross-examined
809. Mr. Binnie, you referred yester-
810. That is a diagram of the Hundred Foot River ?—Yes.
811. I call for the production of that Report? Yes. The Ministry have it.
812. No doubt the Ministry have it. ལ་ There is no hurry about it for the
moment, but I call for the production
813. If you will add that to it I shall be much obliged. I do not want you to trouble about it at the moment if I can have that material with Mr. Rennie's Report ?-I have not Mr. Rennie's Report. I have only the levels which were put on from Mr. Rennie's drawing on that. I have not the original Report.
814. You have merely the drawing from
815. On that, Mr. Binnie, I am afraid
816. You put forward a drawing which is your own No. 4?—Yes.
the the condition of the Eau Hundred Foot River after Brink Cut had been made? No, I do not think so. I forget whether that was after the Eau Brink Cut was made; was it? I forget the date.
819. I want to take it very shortly. According to the records the Eau Brink Cut was opened in 1821?-Yes; this would be before that date.
820. This Report was in 1809?-Yes, before that date.
821. Now I do not know whether you realise what the Eau Brink Cut is, my Lord. Will someone show the Eau Brink Cut. That was again a short circuit of the river which had a great bend, and that Eau Brink Cut resulted in lowering the low water level I may mention very considerably. The point I am on is that the Eau Brink Cut was opened in 1821. Mr. Rennie's Report as to the condition of the Hundred Foot was in 1809. Are you familiar with the Eau Brink Act of 1795? I have read it once, I am not familiar with it. I read it at the time the Commission was sitting.
822. Do you know that that provides that the Hundred Foot River shall be kept in conformity with the Eau Brink Cut. Do you know that?-In conformity with it. I should not know what that meant.
823. I dare say not, but the effect of the Act-I have not it at the moment; I have been trying to get it, and I have got it, but it is not here.
Mr. Macmillan.] Which Act is that?
15° Julii, 1927.] Mr. WILLIAM JAMES EAMES BINNIE.
Mr. St. John Raikes.
824. The Eau Brink Act, 1795, section 31, I think. I am only putting it broadly to you in layman's terms, so far as I can, that it is laid down by the Act that when the Eau Brink Cut has been made the Hundred Foot shall be kept in the same condition in effect, that is, in the same cleared out condition, as the Eau Brink Cut. It does not really very much matter. That is what I am putting to you. If you do not know, you do not know, but what does arise from that is that the diagram which you produced of the condition of the Hundred Foot River in 1809 shows its condition not after the Eau Brink Cut had been made but before? Yes.
825. And that the object of Mr. Rennie in producing that diagram was to show what was necessary then to be done in the Hundred Foot River?—Yes.
826. That makes that diagram entirely useless, does it not, for the deduction that you drew from it yesterday, that the Hundred Foot River had since that time scoured itself out, because that showed its condition before it was done out in conformity with the Act?-I do not know what "in conformity with the Act" meant, and we have had no information as to what the levels were immediately after the time of the Eau Brink Cut, but I do know that the river is deepening its bed.
827. You do?-I was only saying that the river was not silting up. I could give full particulars of the exact amount of lowering from time to time. It was all in my proof, but Counsel did not want to put it all before the Committee.
828. I am much obliged, but are you in a position to say that between the date of that Report, 1809, and the present time the Hundred Foot River has never been done out and maintained as it was bound to be under the Act. You are not in a position to say?—I do not know what the meaning of the Act would be. I am not in a position to say what was actually done after the Eau Brink Cut was made. I have never heard that anything was done, as a matter of fact, and the wording of the Act would not convey much to my mind as to directions as to what was to be done.
829. But the deduction you have drawn, and that you ask this Committee to draw, is that the Hundred Foot River has scoured itself out and will continue to scour itself out?-Yes.
830. If you please?-That is what it is doing, as I could show by intermediate levels at intermediate dates.
831. That is what it is doing. Now we come to 1917. You have had access to Mr. Grantham's Report of 1917 ?—Yes. 832. Because that is quoted in part in the Appendix to the Report?-Yes.
833. I should like if the Ministry would be good enough to have production of that Report. Was that Report of 1917 by the late Mr. Grantham accompanied by a diagram of the Hundred Foot River? -I believe it was, speaking from memory.
834. It was. Does that diagram show the original dimensions of the Hundred Foot River and the degree of silting up of that river in 1917?-Well, what I had sent to me was the cross sections which were taken by Mr. Grantham at that time, but unfortunately those cross sections turned out to be wrong.
836. You think they were unreliable. I have asked for their production. Can we have them?-I think I have those cross sections in my office.
837. Would you produce those at a later stage?—Yes, I think I can do that.
838. As regards the Report which 1 have not got-only extracts-does Mr. Grantham say that nothing has been done to the Hundred Foot River since the year 1878? Do you remember that? -Well, I cannot carry it in my mind, but I will take it from you; I have no doubt it is so.
839. But you will let me have the Report? Yes, I wil let you have the Report.
840. I will not trouble you over that if you cannot remember?-No.
841. But perhaps you may remember that he did further say that it was in an extremely bad condition and required immediate attention?-Yes.
842. He did?-I think so, as far as my recollection serves.
843. I think the reason probably that you say that his sections were wrong is that his sections show that the part between Welmore Lake Sluice and Denver was in the best condition of any part of the Hundred Foot, while yours show it is in the worst condition of any part of the Hundred Foot?—No, those sections were entirely unreliable.