HC Deb 26 March 1956 vol 550 c165W
Mr. Russell

asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation if he will give some details of the activities of the Central Rhine Commission, and of the benefits this country receives by contributing towards its expenses.

Mr. Watkinson

The Central Rhine Commission is responsible for the maintenance of freedom of navigation on the Rhine. Its activities include the supervision of the engineering works, dredging, buoying and the marking of channels. It also deals with police regulations for the control of river traffic; customs and passport regulations; manning of vessels and conditions of work and social services for boatmen and their families; the issue of navigation certificates to masters of vessels. In addition the Commission is the final court of appeal for navigation cases (accidents, collisions, etc.) which are first tried in the navigation courts of the countries bordering the Rhine.

The United Kingdom Government firmly support the principle of freedom of navigation of international rivers so that vessels of all flags may trade freely on them. To help to maintain this freedom, membership of river Commissions is not confined to states bordering the rivers. Some British coasters still trade on the lower Rhine, but our major interest in the work of the Commission is to help to maintain the full freedom of navigation in this greatest of European traffic arteries.

As a leading Power in Europe and one with less direct interest than many of the

Pre-1919 Codes 1919 Code 1945 Code 1950 Code 1956 Code
Under 60 years of age 1,190 14,330* 6,840 370
60 years of age and over 50 7,860 10,450* 410 10
* Including 1919 Code pensions reassessed for war service.