Role and Responsibilities

AONB | Statutory Harbour Authority | CHaPRoN | Members | Funding

Chichester Harbour is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and is managed by Chichester Harbour Conservancy. We are the only Statutory Harbour Authority with responsibility for managing an AONB.

The Conservancy is bound by the duties and powers set out in the Chichester Harbour Conservancy Act 1971, to conserve, maintain and improve the harbour, for nature, natural beauty and leisure and recreation both on the water and the land.

How we do this is set out in our five year Management Plan.

Chichester Harbour Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty

The Conservancy 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.

Learn more about Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty

Statutory Harbour Authority

As the Statutory Harbour Autority the Conservancy is bound by a range of harbour and shipping legislation which is detailed in our Marine Safety Management System and Safety Plan. The Conservancy adheres to the Port Marine Safety Code, a nationally agreed set of standards for ports and harbours.

Chichester Harbour Marine Safety Management System and Safety Plan

Chichester Harbour Protection and Recovery of Nature (CHaPRoN)

Chichester Harbour Conservancy is the lead partner in Chichester Harbour Protection and Recovery of Nature (CHaPRoN), a long-term partnership initiative to help respond to the increasing pressures on Chichester Harbour. CHaPRoN’s key objective is to protect, enhance and drive recovery of the natural environment within Chichester Harbour and help create a landscape more resilient to climate change.

Visit the dedicated CHaPRoN website

CHaPRoN Logo

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.


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.