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

Annex 2



  Many changes to AtoN involve prior external consultation. Other than minor adjustments to buoy positions as a result of a survey or known shoaling and changes to characteristics for technological or operational reasons, prior consultation with a wide spectrum of marine users is undertaken to ensure that the GLAs provide an effective service to meet the changing requirements of the mariner. Consultation may involve such bodies as the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions (Maritime Coastguard Agency), the Ministry of Defence, the UK Hydrographic Office, shipowners, Competent Harbour Authorities and other ports, yachting and fishing interests and occasionally, overseas Lighthouse Authorities. The various forms taken by this consultation process are discussed below.

Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions (DETR)

  The DETR, as managers of the General Lighthouse Fund, must sanction any capital or maintenance expenditure arising from alterations to AtoN. As part of this process the DETR consult with a body known as the Lights Advisory Committee (LAC) which currently consists of representatives of the Chamber of Shipping, the Major Ports Group and fishing interests. The DETR and the LAC meet with each GLA annually at a series of "Bilateral Meetings". These meetings consider annual running costs and capital expenditure budgets; if there is a new requirement for additional expenditure arising from alterations to AtoN during the year, sanction to the expenditure is sought separately together with a Memorandum to the LAC setting out the proposals which is sent to the DETR to facilitate LAC consultation.

IMO-UK Safety of Navigation Committee (UK SON)

  The Maritime Coastguard Agency also chair UK SON on which Trinity House and the other GLAs are represented, and where appropriate communicate the views of UKSON to meetings of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO).

Joint User Consultative Group (JUCG)

  At the invitation of the Secretary of State for Transport a JUCG was formed in 1988 under the chairmanship of Trinity House and comprising representatives of the three GLAs, DETR, the Irish Department of the Marine, Chamber of Shipping, the Major Ports Group, Royal Institute of Navigation, Nautical Institute, MOD-including the Hydrographer of the Navy, RNLI, Royal Yachting Association (RYA), National Federation of Charter Skippers and the Scottish Fishermen's Association and the National Federation of Fishermens' Organisation. The Group's terms of reference are as follows:

    —  to provide a user forum for the discussion of major policy matters of mutual concern in the field of AtoN;

    —  to enable the GLAs to formulate policy consistent with users' requirements and resources available; and to advise the Secretary of State of the user view.

  The JUCG objectives are:

    —  to agree in principle the GLAs criteria for providing systems of AtoN;

    —  to identify requirements for systems of AtoN and to relate these perceived needs to the existing systems provided by the GLAs (such as lights and racons) and to other potential new navigation systems;

    —  to discuss the technical merits of various systems of AtoN with a view to formulating policy consistent with the user requirements and the resources available;

    —  to enable the GLAs to advise the Secretary of State accordingly through the appropriate Government Departments.

GLA Regional User Committees

  With the increasing proportional use made of traditional AtoN by small craft users and mindful that they were not represented elsewhere, regional user committees have been established comprising representatives of all classes of users in the respective jurisdictions of the GLAs, who make known their opinions and requirements on matters relating to AtoN and the improvement of safety at sea.

Inter-GLA Consultation on Navigational Requirements

  In order to avoid any possible confusion as to the AtoN provided by the GLAs in their respective adjacent areas of jurisdiction, an agreement was drawn up in 1980 whereby each authority agreed to consult before establishing new AtoN or changing the characteristics of AtoN within their respective contiguous zones. The Agreement applies to all major AtoN and radio AtoN. The GLAs have a Joint Navigational Requirements Policy which, among other matters, lays down the criteria for reviews of AtoN and user consultation. The first joint-GLA review of AtoN was conducted in 1997-98 resulting in the publication of a user consultation document.

Foreign Lighthouse Authorities

  Similarly, it is customary for Trinity House and Foreign Lighthouse Authorities to consult in the event that it is proposed to carry out alterations to AtoN in areas adjacent to each others' respective limits of jurisdiction, particularly in cases involving alterations to Traffic Separation Schemes such as the Dover Strait which must ultimately be considered by IMO.

Port and Harbour Authorities

  Individual ports and harbours are consulted whenever the GLAs propose to effect a major alteration to their AtoN in the approaches to the limits of jurisdiction of a port or harbour. The relevant authority is then able to seek the views of all users of the port including shipping companies, fishermen, yachtsmen and pilots, as appropriate, on any proposals for changes and submits the views of the port users to the GLAs for a final decision. Where no recognised authority exists, direct consultation may take place with local interested parties such as yachtsmen and fishermen.

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