Constitution of the Board
1. The Board is a body corporate with a common seal and with power to sue and be sued and to purchase and dispose of lands and other property. There are 15 members, 6 elected by the City Council from among its members, 6 elected by Havant Borough Council from among its members, 2 elected by the Advisory Committee and 1 elected by the Hampshire County Council.
Originally, the Board comprised 12 members – 6 from each of the local authorities – but a statutory harbour revision order in 1985 made provision for 2 additional members to be elected by the Advisory Committee from among its members. The members hold office for three years and apart from any occasional vacancies due to resignation etc are elected at the Annual Council Meetings of the constituent authorities every third year. The constitution provides that the Chairman and Vice-Chairman are not to be chosen from members representing the same constituent Council. Questions coming before the Board are decided by a majority of the votes cast and the Chairman does not have a second or casting vote. Moreover, if three or more members from either Portsmouth or Havant vote against a proposition, the decision is not binding but has to be adjourned for further consideration at a subsequent meeting and if the Board cannot then reach a binding decision, the question may be referred for determination by the two Councils. The Act requires the Board to appoint a Clerk and a Treasurer and gives the board power to appoint such other officers as they think fit.
2. An important feature of the constitution is the requirement for an Advisory Committee. This comprises the following representatives:-
Portsmouth & Langstone Sailing Association – 4 representatives
Royal Yachting Association – 1 representative
Natural England – 1 representative
Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust Limited – 1 representative
Langstone & District Wildfowlers and Conservation Association – 1 representative
Portsmouth & District Natural History Society – 1 representative
Southern Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority – 1 representative
Langstone Harbour Fishermen’s Association – 1 representative
Royal Society for the Protection of Birds – 1 representative
Environment Agency – 1 representative
Any additional body or bodies, not exceeding five in number, which may be nominated by the Board with the agreement of the Advisory Committee. For each such additional body – 1 representative.
The Board have a duty to consult the Advisory Committee on all matters substantially affecting the preservation, regulation, management and improvement of the harbour. The Board must also consider any matters referred to them on these topics by the Advisory Committee, and must pay the Advisory Committee’s reasonable secretarial expenses.
Powers of the Board
3. (i) The Board has power to provide moorings, buoys and other apparatus and facilities for vessels and houseboats, both on land owned or leased by the Board and on other land with the consent of the owner. There is power to levy reasonable charges for vessels and houseboats using moorings and other apparatus. Before the Board was established, the harbour was within the Dockyard Port of Portsmouth and the Queen’s Harbour Master controlled the moorings. As explained in paragraph 1 this is not now the case and the Queen’s Harbour Master has no authority within the harbour.
(ii) The Board has powers relating to wrecks, derived from the Merchant Shipping Act 1984. The Board may prosecute people who remove moorings or buoys, etc., or moor vessels except at a mooring or buoy that has been provided or licensed by the Board
(iii) The Board has power to make byelaws regulating moorings, and for the prevention of nuisance and for securing good conduct in the harbour. Byelaws have been made and these deal with a variety of matters including speed limits, obstruction of navigation, disposal or rubbish, disorderly conduct, water skiing, bait digging and many other matters. A new byelaw came into force in 1991 controlling and partially prohibiting the use of jet skis. The byelaws were completely revised in 1994.
(iv) The Board is the Competent Harbour Authority for Langstone Harbour, pursuant to the Pilotage Act 1987. Financial Provisions of the Act
4. There are various financial provisions that are beyond the scope of this description. The Board has the power to precept the two constituent Councils annually to meet the shortfall of income over expenditure. There has been no precept made since 2014. The constituent Councils also have power to lend the Board money.
5. There is a power to produce handbooks and other advertisements in relation to the tides, mooring charges and other services and facilities provided by the board. The Board publishes a Facilities & Local Services Guide annually. Additionally, there are periodic publications promoting safety and environmental awareness