Chichester Harbour Conservancy wishes to clear up a misconception of the statement by the Don’t Cut Us Out campaign group that West Sussex County Council gives a grant to the Chichester Harbour Conservancy.
The conservancy was set up 40 years ago by an Act of Parliament and its special duty is the protection, maintenance and improvement of the harbour and its amenity area for recreation and leisure, nature conservation and the natural beauty.
It does not receive an annual grant from the county council but is what is known as a precepting authority on both the county councils responsible for the whole harbour area – West Sussex and Hampshire.
A precepting authority has the power to instruct another local authority to collect an amount from council tax on its behalf.
Other examples of precepting authorities include the police and parish and town councils.
In setting the precept, the Conservancy is mindful of the impact on the public purse and does everything within its power to keep costs to a minimum.
We are indebted to our force of volunteers and to the Friends of Chichester Harbour who provide enormous support and without whom, the costs to maintain the environment of the harbour would be far greater.
Other sources of income include harbour dues.
These are paid by all craft using the harbour – mooring charges are paid by visitors, and the conservancy makes best use of gifts and grants for specific projects.
The precept is used exclusively for funding environmental and AONB responsibilities.
Chichester Harbour is there for all to enjoy.
Over 10,000 craft use the harbour and there are some 5,500 moorings and 14 sailing clubs with over 11,000 members.
Other popular activities include angling, birdwatching, walking, painting and photography.
The landscape of Chichester Harbour was formally recognised as being of national importance in 1964 when it was designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).
The harbour is of national and international importance for nature conservation.
It is a Site of Special Scientific Interest, a wetland of international importance, and a Special Protection Area for wild birds.
It is of particular significance for wintering wildfowl and waders of which six species reach numbers which are internationally important.
The harbour area is also vital to the local economy with prime farmland, a fishing industry, boatyards and tourism.
We hope this gives readers a flavour of the value for money we achieve from the precepts that we levy on our two county councils.
Chichester Harbour Conservancy