CEO of British Waterways writes to the Guardian

* From The Guardian, Saturday 16 October 2010

Robin Evans, CEO  of British Waterways writes:

I find myself in the unusual position of being the head of a public body that has welcomed – and indeed called for – its own abolition (Quango review sees five major bodies becoming charities, 14 October). Before anyone rushes for the lifeboats, I should say that no one is suggesting that the Kennet & Avon canal, the river Trent or any of the other waterways we care for be abandoned. Indeed, they require intense management and more investment than we can afford.

History has shown that, when communities get involved, waterways come alive, as anyone who has seen their transformation over recent decades can see. That is why we are so pleased that the coalition government, like the Labour government before it, has backed our proposals to move us out of the public sector and into a new charity, as a “national trust” for the waterways of England and Wales.

Louise Ellman is absolutely right to say that the important thing is that the waterways are managed properly. As a 250-year-old national treasure, they also have to be managed for the long term, with a guaranteed contract from the government and the ability to attract new sources of funding and support. We passionately believe this is the best option for the waterways, creating new opportunities, securing jobs and investment and giving people a real say in how their local canal or river is cared for.

Robin Evans

Chief executive, British Waterways

via Letters: Opportunities in wake of quango cull | Politics | The Guardian.

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