Application of Ports Good Governance Guidance
Lymington Harbour is a Trust Port constituted by Act of Parliament in 1951 (as amended) by subsequent legislation.
It is an independent statutory body, run by a Board of Commissioners for the benefit of stakeholders. Lymington Harbour Commission (LHC) is committed to operating in accordance with government guidelines set by the Department for Environment, Transport and the Regions and published in Ports Good Governance Guidance (March 2018).
LHC is the Statutory Harbour Authority for Lymington Harbour. It also provides a number of commercial services such as moorings.
A summary of the activities LHC performs in our role as a Statutory Harbour Authority is given below:
- To levy and collect harbour dues.
- To maintain an ‘open port’ policy to all users including the provision of public landings.
- The safe management of harbour activities through the implementation of a safety management system in compliance with the ‘Port Marine Safety Code’.
- Conservancy works (to ensure the harbour remains fit for purpose) including harbour protection, dredging works, maintaining aids to navigation, undertaking and publishing hydrographic surveys.
- Exercising navigational control, enforcement.Incident reporting and investigation.
- Notices to Mariners.
- Conducting activities and operations in an environmentally sustainable and responsible way.
- Pollution control and waste management.
- Reviewing and updating harbour legislation.
A summary of the commercial services LHC provides is given below:
- Provision of pontoon, pile, and swinging mooring facilities for local residents and visitors.
- Provision of supporting supporting shore side facilities (showers/washrooms/waste disposal).
- Provision of slipway for launching and recovery of small vessels.
- Provision of scrubbing grids for hull maintenance.
Harbour business is conducted in the interests of its stakeholders in an open and accountable manner, and with commercial prudence. The Department of Environment, Transport and the Regions 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 normally meets 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 two months in arrears after they are approved at the subsequent meeting.
The Commissioners are committed to consulting local stakeholders including through the Harbour Advisory Group that has been appointed by the Commissioners to represent stakeholders interests. The Harbour Advisory Group is consulted on all matters substantially affecting the management, improvement, navigation, maintenance, protection, conservation, or regulation of Lymington Harbour.
The Department for Transport actively monitors compliance with Ports Good Governance Guidance but interested parties should play their part in bringing to the Department's attention any examples of unaccountable behaviour. Section 3.46 of Ports Good Governance Guidance sets out how stakeholders can complain about governance issues or other matters arising from a ports activities.
If you have a complaint, in the first instance, please write to the LHC Chief Executive or the LHC Chairman. We will endeavour to provide a written response within four weeks setting out whether we consider the complaint justified and details of any remedial action we intend to take. Where the complainant does not believe the response is reasonable in addressing the grounds of his or her concern, the matter should be reported to the Department for Transport.
However, please note that the Department for Transport has no role in reviewing the commercial decisions or activities of a trust port or in intervening in essentially localised disputes. Its interest is in ensuring that a trust board is governed well and does not take decisions in an arbitrary or unaccountable manner.