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

Supplementary memorandum by The Corporation Of Trinity House (P 39B)

  This Memorandum is submitted on behalf of Trinity House. It is supplementary to the Memorandum submitted prior to the giving of oral evidence (Captain Glass and Mr Clark). It is made in response to the Committee's request for Trinity House's view on the European Commission's proposed directive on Port Services (COM (2001) 35 final).

  1.  Trinity House's view on the Commission's proposal is given in the context that:

    (i)  The proposed directive relates exclusively to the provision of services within port limits. This is generally outside the operational jurisdiction of Trinity House which has responsibility for the provision of Aids to Navigation outside those limits, although Trinity House does have an inspection role in respect of the aids to navigation provided by the ports to ensure international standards of reliability and availability are maintained.

    (ii)  The port services which the proposals seek to liberalise do not fall within the remit of Trinity House. Whilst "technical nautical services" include pilotage (see Annex to the proposed directive), as a result of the Pilotage Act 1987 in the UK responsibility for pilotage within the port's jurisdiction (or within their pilotage area) falls to the competent harbour authority, usually the harbour authority itself.

    (iii)  The directive is not concerned with Trinity House's main function of provision of Aids to Navigation; its focus is upon the freedom to provide services to enhance competition within the ports sector against a background of transport regulation and limited constraints which are proportionate to their objectives (ie maritime safety).

  2.  Subject to the above Trinity House is sympathetic to the main principals of the directive:

    —  That there should be freedom of access for providers of port services.

    —  That limitation of the numbers of providers of port services should be justified upon grounds of space or capacity or, in the case of technical nautical services (including pilotage), for safety reasons.

    —  Liberalisation of the provision of port services should not jeopardise safety in ports or compromise environmental protection.

  3.  It is Trinity House's view in relation to the safety aspects mentioned above that the proposals should recognise the paramount importance of clear areas of responsibility for the provision of technical nautical services and that the pressure of competition should not override the basic requirements to provide a safe port environment. The proposed directive is in Trinity House's view vague in identifying the degree of importance which is to be attached to safety in relation to the competing pressures for free and open competition. Trinity House believes that ports must also provide suitable infrastructure and have capacity for the volume and type of traffic navigating within their limits of jurisdiction which must form part of any overall safety risk analysis.

  4.  Trinity House welcomes the prospect of the inclusion of ports in the Trans-European Network (Ten) outline maps as larger schemes—particularly those relating to port safety and VTS—may qualify for assistance.

  5.  Trinity House believes that the proposals accordingly require further detailed discussion and scrutiny at member state level to ensure the directive, when it is finally agreed, is able to allow member states to reflect in their domestic legislation their own national requirements and those of operators on a community level.

P B Rowe

Deputy Master

30 March 2001

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