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Navigation: Republic of Ireland

Volume 489: debated on Friday 20 March 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what progress he has made on implementation of his commitment to require the Republic of Ireland to meet the full costs of providing aids to navigation on their coast; and how much, and what percentage, of the estimated shortfall in 2009-10 in income from light dues is attributable to activities related to the cost of providing aids to navigation for the Irish Republic. (264935)

Her Majesty's Government have been reviewing the current funding arrangements for the Commissioners of Irish Lights with the Government of the Republic of Ireland. Negotiations are in progress and have resulted in agreement over the apportionment of costs between Northern Ireland and the Republic in accordance with the Evidence Review undertaken last year. Maintaining an integrated aids to navigation service around the whole of our coasts benefits both our countries. The two governments are reviewing the benefits enjoyed by each country from this integrated approach, which will inform our continuing work to ensure that a more sustainable funding solution for Irish Lights is put in place.

There is no shortfall in light dues income in 2009-10 that can be directly attributed to activities related to the cost of providing aids to navigation for the Irish Republic. However if we take no action to increase light dues, we expect a shortfall of income against expenditure for the General Lighthouse Fund of some £21 million in 2009-10. We estimate that at current exchange rates the net cost to the fund of providing aids to navigation in the Republic of Ireland for the year will be up to £13 million.