Select Committee on Environment, Transport and Regional Affairs Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence

Supplementary memorandum by the Chamber of Shipping (P 23A)


  In the Chamber's written evidence to the House of Commons Transport Sub-Committee, it was noted that the current Light Dues arrangements in the UK disadvantage UK ports. This note sets out briefly a factual description of the funding arrangements for the General Lighthouse Authorities (GLAs).

  Members are referred to the last published accounts of the General Lighthouse Fund (GLF), covering the year ended 31 March 1999 (House of Commons Paper 851 of 1999-2000).

  The three General Lighthouse Authorities are financed entirely from the GLF. The Secretary of State effectively acts as the Trustee of the GLF, in the interests of its beneficiaries, principally the shipping companies who make the payments and the GLA's present and former staff, whose pensions are paid out of the Fund. The GLF is administered by the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions, but it is not public money. There are no Treasury payments whatsoever into the Fund. Indeed, certain administrative expenses of the Secretary of State are reimbursed from the Fund.

  To summarise the GLF income for 1998-99 was derived from:

£ million
UK Light Dues
Irish Light Dues
Irish Government Contribution
MoD payment towards Decca Navigator*
Rentals and sundry receipts
Profit on sale of fixed assets
Income from investments
Profit on sale of investments
Interest receivable
Total income

  *The Decca Navigator service ending in March 2000 and no payments relating to its use are now made by MoD.

  The costs of the three GLAs in 1998-99 were:

    Trinity House—£27,968 mn

    Northern Lighthouse Board—£16,496 mn

    Commissioners of Irish Lights (CIL)**—£13,015 mn

  ** It is generally accepted that 70 per cent of CIL's expenditure relates to the provision of aids to navigation in the Republic of Ireland.

  Light Dues are payable by shipping using UK and Irish ports. In the UK the tarrif and regulations, subject to a minor amendment in 1998, are set out in the Merchant Shipping (Light Dues) Regulations 1997 (SI 562/1997). The vase majority comes from commercial shipping, with small amounts from the fishing industry and certain smaller vessels. All vessels below 20 net tons are exempt as well as tugs and fishing vessels below 10 metres in length. Almost all leisure craft are below 20 net tons.

7 March 2001

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