What is the Conservancy?

The Conservancy was established by the Chichester Harbour Conservancy Act 1971. Its duty is the conservancy, maintenance and improvement of the Harbour and the Amenity Area for recreation and leisure, nature conservation and natural beauty. It is the statutory Harbour Authority and is responsible for the safety of navigation, the regulation of moorings, works and dredging, enforcement of harbour byelaws and the collection of dues and charges.

The Conservancy also acts as the Joint Advisory Committee for the Chichester Harbour Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) that was designated in 1964.  We manage the AONB on behalf of the four constituent local authorities, West Sussex County Council, Hampshire County Council, Chichester District Council and Havant Borough Council.  As the Joint Advisory Committee, the Conservancy is consulted on planning policies and planning applications affecting the area.

The Conservancy works with landowners and other stakeholders in matters such as nature conservation, biodiversity, public access and landscape improvements. It undertakes projects to conserve and enhance the area's natural beauty while helping visitors to learn about and value this special place.

The members of the Conservancy

The Conservancy consists of 15 members appointed by West Sussex and Hampshire County Councils, Chichester District and Havant Borough Councils and the Conservancy's Advisory Committee. The Advisory Committee includes representatives of Harbour and AONB users, such as sailing, fishing, nature conservation, residents, farmers and commercial interests. The Conservancy must consult the Advisory Committee on the management of the Harbour and the AONB.

Click here for a list of current members.


The Conservancy's income is from four main sources:

  • Harbour Dues - which are paid by all craft using the Harbour.
  • Mooring Charges - which are paid by those who hire Conservancy moorings or mooring sites.
  • A precept on the two County Councils.
  • Gifts and Grants - bodies such the Friends of Chichester Harbour give grants for specific projects.  Defra currently funds the core AONB staff and some associated projects.

How funds are spent

Harbour Dues paid by yachtsmen meet the cost of running the harbour, maintaining the navigation marks, controlling works and dredging and enforcing the byelaws.  Mooring charges meet the cost of maintaining and administering Conservancy moorings and mooring sites and contribute to the cost of running the Harbour.  Other income pays for environmental work such as tree planting, recording and surveying wildlife, footpath maintenance, providing information about the area and running the Education Centre.