THE possibility of a “sharp" rise in Sandbanks Ferry tolls is “concerning”, say BCP Council.

The local authority added it has not given support for aligning tolls to inflation, and it “refutes any suggestion” it has.

Last week, Sandbanks Ferry operators announced plans to increase the ferry fares, with the support of the Department for Transport.

The company said it was under “heavy financial strain” due to rising costs in running the chain ferry coupled with "the pressure of increased corporation tax and lower than projected income".

The proposal was discussed by councillors, and received ‘unilateral support’, according to the ferry operators.

However, both BCP Council and Dorset Council have since said they do not support aligning tolls to inflation.

A spokesperson for BCP Council, said: “While it was noted that such a system may have benefits for some, no agreement or recent conversations have taken place with key stakeholders, portfolio holders or our leader, Cllr Slade, to date.

“It’s disappointing to see the ferry company is applying to the Department for Transport to further increase fares just three years into the current 12-year ferry fare plan, which already includes annual price rises for motorised vehicles, and was agreed by the Secretary of State in 2021 after being thoroughly tested through a public inquiry.

“It is also concerning to see a sharp rise in fares for vehicles and even higher charges for pedestrians and cyclists, which penalises forms of travel that can help to relieve congestion and that goes against our sustainable travel policy with no reasonable alternatives.

“We refute any suggestion we are currently supportive of these proposals.”

Sandbanks Ferry, which connects Sandbanks and Studland, has been running for more than 100 years.