The 1891 Act

Subsidence resulting from brine pumping was a significant problem in the latter part of the 19th Century in Mid-Cheshire. In 1871 the Northwich Salt Chamber of Commerce requested that the Board of Trade investigate the problem and a report in issued 1873 clearly attributed responsibility to the brine pumpers. In 1891 the “Brine Pumping (Compensation for Subsidence) Act” was passed by Parliament which provided for the setting up of compensation boards, collection of an annual levy of 3d per 1000 gallons of brine pumped within their district and assessment of claims for damage. Other powers included the giving of advice on precautions to be incorporated in the construction of new buildings. The 1891 Act specifically excluded any bodies or companies that profited directly or indirectly from the salt trade to claim compensation. In the event only one compensation board was set up, for the Northwich district.