Calls for Mayor Boris Johnson to take over London’s canal network

19 November, 2010

PETER GRUNER of the Islington Tribune reports:

A LEADING Islington waterways campaigner has called on London Mayor Boris Johnson to take over the running of the capital’s network of canals in order to secure their future.

Del Brenner, chairman of the Regent’s Canal Network and a member of the Mayor’s Thames and Waterways Steering Group, put a question to Mr Johnson at a meeting of the London Assembly last week.

Mr Brenner called for British Waterways (BW) to relinquish control of London’s canals and for positive action by the Mayor to bring them “back to life.”

He added: “Above all we need openness and accountability in the management of our canals – which is not one of BW’s strong points.

“Would the mayor con­sider giving our canal network a reliable and active long-term future by taking them over from BW, and devolving the management of our canals to the Greater London Authority group? We need someone we can trust”.

Mr Johnson replied: “I’m keen on that. I like that idea”.

A fuller response was made by Assembly Member and former deputy mayor Jenny Jones, who said it was “an absolutely brilliant idea.” Ms Jones added: “If we can have a budget as well as the waterways that would be fantastic, and I would put myself forward to chair that”.

BW argue that they have run Britain’s canals for almost 50 years and have invested millions as well as opening up neglected towpaths and waterways. But Mr Brenner added: “There were enormous improvements in the early days but now BW is trying too hard to be a business organisation rather than a waterway restoration and navigation authority.”

A spokeswoman for BW said the idea was first suggested under the previous Mayor Ken Livingstone, though there wasn’t the appetite to take on the funding responsibility.

“However, the idea of creating a stronger role for Londoners in the running of the capital’s canals, rivers and docks is something that is close to British Waterways’ hearts – and, indeed, plans.”

via Calls for Mayor Boris Johnson to take over London’s canal network | Islington Tribune.

1 comment to Calls for Mayor Boris Johnson to take over London’s canal network

  • The proposed structure of the New Waterways Charity that Government is proposing for British Waterways envisages so-called Local Boards where local authorities and others with waterways interests would work with the NWC Region to create strategy and monitor their section of the waterway. The Chair of each Local Board will sit on the national NWC Council.

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