HC Deb 20 May 1867 vol 187 cc774-5

said, he wished to ask the Vice President of the Board of Trade, If he has read the Excerpt of the Minutes of a General Meeting of the Nith Navigation Commissioners held at Dumfries on the 11th of May, 1867, when it was resolved on and after the 1st day of July next to extinguish the Light at Southerness Lighthouse; also, the Notice of said Resolution to Shippers and others; and, if he is prepared to accept the responsibility which will attach to the Board of Trade on the extinction of this Light?


, in reply, said, he had read the resolution and notice which the hon. Member had been good enough to send him. It did not appear from those documents that the consent of the Northern Lights Commissioners to the removal of the light had been obtained. By the 394th section of the Merchant Shipping Act of 1854 it was enacted that— No local authority shall remove or discontinue any Lighthouse without the sanction of the General Lighthouse authority within whose jurisdiction the same is situate. Therefore it was hardly reasonable to ask the Board of Trade to accept the responsibility of an illegal act of the Nith Navigation Commissioners. Lights were of two kinds—general and local. General lights were maintained by dues levied on ships which might benefit in passing them. Tables of every possible voyage were kept at the Custom House, and before a vessel got her clearance dues, were levied according to the voyage she was making. For instance, every ship passing down Channel would pay dues in respect of the Eddy-stone. Local lights were those useful to ships entering certain ports or estuaries. They might be maintained by dues on ships entering such ports or estuaries. The lights in the Solway Firth, both on the English and Scottish side, had always been maintained as local lights, and it would cause great and just complaint if the burden were transferred to the general shipping interest, because falling off in trade or other circumstances made their maintenance inconvenient to the locality which established them.