HC Deb 08 December 1986 vol 107 cc41-2W
Sir David Price

asked the Secretary of State for Transport what proportion of the light dues paid by merchant shipping using United Kingdom ports is devoted to the provision of lights and other aids to the navigation of ships in the Irish Republic; and what information he has as to whether similar subsidy arrangements for navigational aids exist with or between any other member countries of the European Community.

Mr. Michael Spicer

[pursuant to the reply, 1 December 1986]: Navigational aids to shipping around the coasts of the Republic of Ireland are provided by local lighthouse authorities, for example, harbour boards, within their areas of responsibility; by the Commissioners of Irish Lights, outside those areas; and by the Irish Fisheries Board, in respect of the Hibernian chain of the Racal-Decca Navigator system. The finances of the local lighthouse authorities and the Irish Fisheries Board are not matters for my right hon. Friend. The Commissioners' expenditure, however is subject to my right hon. Friend's aproval, since it is met from the general lighthouse fund, which is derived chiefly from light dues paid by shipping in the United Kingdom. But the costs incurred by the Commissioners in the Republic are not identified in the fund's accounts; moreover, light dues levied in the Republic are also paid into the fund, and the Irish Government have undertaken to make a supplementary payment to it.

I am not aware of similar arrangements between other members of the European Community, nor is there any such arrangement between the United Kingdom and a member.

I will write to my hon. Friend to say why it is not possible to say what proportion of the light dues collected in the United Kingdom ports is used in this way.