Public Consultation into the Future of Inland Waterways

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/

2 comments to Public Consultation into the Future of Inland Waterways

  • I am amazed that the consultation document fails to mention the many people who depend upon the waterways as a home, whether in marinas or as 'continuous cruisers'. BW are well aware of the fact and presumably advised DEFRA in constructing the consultation – they certainly have a lot to say about the new body. We need serious safeguards on the civil liberties and human rights of live-aboard boat-dwellers particularly in view of BW's attempt to gain powers of subordinate legislation. Personally I think there is a case for potential (and illegal) contraction of human rights here.

    • Will Chapman

      I’m inclined to agree with you. But there is a simple solution, everyone has the right to respond to the consultation in anyway that they want. For example, there are no conditions that say your response should be confined to the 29 published questions. Personally, I found that there were several questions that gave me an opportunity to raise my particular ‘special agenda’. If anyone feels that none the 29 questions give this opportunity, then simply add the point that you want to make. I have been present at a number of meetings with DEFRA where they have emphasised that they genuinely want all interested parties to make clear their points of view.

      Note, by the way that if one doesn’t fancy going through the full document, the is a shorter, quick questionnaire. Also, there is no obligation to complete all the questions in the full version.

      Go for it!

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