NEW ticket prices for the Sandbanks Ferry have now been approved following a public inquiry held earlier this year.

This means from May 17 the cost of travelling on the chain ferry will rise from £4.50 to £4.75 for cars; from £9 to £9.50 for vehicles with more than 16 people; from £4.50 to £4-75 for goods vehicles less than 3,500 kilograms; and from £9 to £9.50 for goods vehicles weighing more than 3,500 kilograms.

The £1 toll for pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists will remain the same.

Jason du Toit, general manager of the Sandbanks Ferry Company, said: "We are pleased that after much consultation and a public inquiry, our application has been approved.

"These small incremental increases will allow us to continue to maintain our current vessel, the Bramble Bush Bay, to a high standard whilst allowing the company to set funds aside in the ferry replacement reserve for a new craft in 2032.”

Towards the end of 2020, the ferry company announced a new commitment to reduce its carbon emissions.

At that time it said that in light of the government's target to get greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050, it would carry out 'robust investigations into emerging environmentally-friendly alternatives to diesel propulsion' for the replacement of the Bramble Bush Bay chain ferry.

Prior to this latest ticket increase, Sandbanks Ferry Company had not increased tolls for any class of vehicle for more than five years.

Speaking at the inquiry into the, then proposed, ticket price increase earlier this year, Sandbanks Ferry Company director Mike Keen said: "We are attempting to put the company in a fair financial position so it can pay its daily running costs, provide for capital replacement items and pay a reasonable return on the investment in the undertaking.

"At the moment it is unable to do the latter item at all, and struggling to do the second item.”