30 March 2011
British Waterways today (30 March 2011) welcomes the start of a three-month government consultation into the future of inland waterways in England and Wales. The consultation sets out the proposals for a new charitable trust to take over the management of the waterways, including how the organisation will be governed and how it will give communities a greater role in looking after their local canals, rivers, reservoirs and docks.
British Waterways’ chairman, Tony Hales, comments: “The consultation is an important step forward in achieving a long held vision among waterway supporters. Having set out our proposals in 2009 for a ‘national trust’ for the waterways, the Minister is now embarking upon the biggest shake-up of the waterway governance since nationalisation in 1948. I believe the proposals will build upon the recent waterway renaissance to ensure they never again revert to the dereliction and decline that saw part of the network abandoned and filled in during the 20th century.
“Caring for a 200-year old network requires intense management and significant funding. The consultation is an important part of establishing the best framework for the long term security for our canals and rivers, which harnesses community enthusiasm to deliver local priorities. I would encourage all those who have an interest in the nation’s magnificent former industrial waterway network to take part.”
The consultation document is published at www.defra.gov.uk/consult/waterways-1103/