Under the Merchant Shipping Act 1995, the costs of the three General Lighthouse Authorities in the British Isles are met by light dues levied on ships using ports in British Isles.
I am pleased to announce that light dues rates and the tonnage threshold will remain the same for 2007-08. It is a tribute to the continuing efficiency gains of the GLA that rates have not increased in 14 years.
Last year light dues were cut by 4p per ton, representing a 10 per cent. reduction. I welcomed the industry’s assurance at that time that they accepted rates could rise in the future should the general lighthouse fund not be able to meet the cost of essential major capital projects.
It is a significant achievement that two major projects are well under-way—the redevelopment of the Commissioners of Irish Lights depot at Dun Laoghaire and the brand new GLA ships that will come into service later this year. These ongoing improvements will continue to ensure that the GLA provide the best possible service to merchant ships in UK and Irish coastal waters.