§ Mr. David Nicholson
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what discussions he has had about the compatibility of maintenance of shipping light dues levied on merchant ships with the United Kingdom's obligations under the treaty of Rome, articles 75(a) and 95; what conclusions he has reached; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. McLoughlin
As a service charge light dues do not conflict with the treaty of Rome. My right hon. Friend has had no discussions on paragraph 1(a) of article 75 or on article 95 in relation to light dues, but the attention of the Transport Council and the Commission has been drawn to inconsistency in the application of the "user pays" principle within the Community. This principle is recognised and accepted in relation to civil aviation navigation systems, but is not yet generally applied to marine navigation systems.