Lymington Harbour is a Trust Port constituted by Act of Parliament in 1951(as amended) and is designated and recognised by the Department for Transport. As such, it is an independent statutory body, run by an independent board for the benefit of stakeholders. Lymington Harbour Commission (LHC) is committed to operating within government guidelines set by the Department of Transport and published in Modernising Trust Ports (Second Edition 2009).
The LHC Board consists of nine independent non-executive Commissioners and the Harbour Master/Chief Executive. The Commissioners are appointed on merit on an open recruitment basis to provide the Commission with the professional skills and experience to determine the policy and business decisions of the organisation. The Commissioners are appointed for a term of three years and can usually serve a maximum of two terms. A maximum of two additional Commissioners can be co-opted at any one time for specific purposes and serve for a period of 12 months.
Each Commissioner appointment is made after a competitive selection process based on the agreed skills and experience post description. The selection panel of four comprises the Chairman of LHC, a further Commissioner; the Chairman of the Harbour Advisory Group and an independent member. The Commissioners’ positions are voluntary and they have agreed not to receive remuneration.
LHC’s primary statutory duties are as follows:
• Maintain an ‘Open Port Policy’ for freedom of navigation and public use.
• To levy and collects harbour dues.
• Regulate and enforce the safety of navigation within the port in accordance with the Port Marine Safety Code and ensure that the statutory and legal framework underpinning this duty is regularly revised and maintained.
• To conserve the harbour so that it is fit for use as a port. This duty includes the maintenance of navigation channels through surveying, dredging, marking the channel with navigational aids and ensuring the harbour remains sheltered through the construction of breakwaters.
• To ensure that the harbour maintains integrated and robust safety management and oil spill response plans and capabilities.
• To work in partnership with the other relevant authorities to manage the National and European Marine Conservation Sites.
Harbour business is conducted in the interests of the whole community of stakeholders openly, accountably, and with commercial prudence. The Department of Transport requires LHC to operate as a commercial business within the terms of its statutory powers, seeking to generate a surplus to be ploughed back into the harbour. Under its enabling legislation, LHC can only generate the level of surplus that it needs to pay for ongoing operations, capital projects, and to provide sufficient reserves for planned future expenditure and to maintain a prudent level of ‘contingency’.
The Lymington Harbour Commission Board meets generally six times a year. The press are invited to attend and report on the public session of the meeting. The Commissioners publish the minutes of the public session of each meeting. In addition, Commissioners are committed to seeking guidance by an Advisory Group that has been appointed by the Commissioners to represent the beneficiaries and stakeholders of Lymington Harbour. In particular, the Advisory Group is consulted on all matters substantially affecting the management, maintenance, improvement, conservation, protection, or regulation of Lymington Harbour and its navigation.