Department for Transport to examine whether fees imposed by Bembridge Harbour Improvements Company have been excessively high

Bembridge mooring holders could be in line for a substantial refund after a public enquiry is held in January to determine whether harbour dues charged by Bembridge Harbour Improvements Company (BHIC) for the past four years have been excessively high.

Harbour dues of £100 per boat were imposed on moorings in the Isle of Wight harbour from 2006, but they excluded boats on BHIC moorings and pontoon berths whose charges, said the company, already included the dues.

Bembridge Harbour Users Group (BHUG) launched an appeal under Section 31 of the 1964 Harbours Act against the level of the dues, and submitted further appeals covering each subsequent year.

The public enquiry will be the first into harbour dues to be held by the Department for Transport (DfT) and is expected to last up to two weeks.

Berthing contracts over the last four years have included harbour dues so, if the DfT rules in favour of the Bembridge Harbour Users Group, BHIC could be landed with a substantial bill.