IWA Welcomes Progress on the Management of the Environment Agency Navigations

IWA Press Release

Issue Date: 01 March 2011

IWA Welcomes Progress on the Management of the Environment Agency Navigations

The Inland Waterways Association (IWA) welcomes the Government statement made on 28 February that its vision for a ‘National Trust’ for the waterways should include both the British Waterways’ and the Environment Agency (EA) navigations.

Clive Henderson, IWA national chairman, said:

‘I am in no doubt that the right way forward for Britain’s navigable inland waterways is for them to be managed by a third sector body and I welcome the Government’s announcement that the charitable body they intend to establish to manage British Waterways’ navigations should also manage the Agency’s navigations.

It is a little disappointing that the Environment Agency navigations will not be included in the charity from the outset. We have said all along that we saw considerable advantage in that approach. But we must move on and help to make this work.’

He went on to say:

‘Now that the Government has decided to proceed in a phased manner, with the British Waterways navigations vesting in the charity by 1 April 2012 and the EA navigations transferring during 2015/16, subject to review of the charity’s performance in 2014, it is vitally important that the preparation begins now. There must be ongoing co-ordination between the Government, EA, British Waterways and the new charity thereafter to keep momentum going on this initiative to ensure a smooth seamless handover of the EA waterways with the necessary funding in place. Richard Benyon has said that he is convinced that the vision of the new charitable body including the British Waterways’ and EA navigations is compelling and that the Government is absolutely committed to delivering its vision. With a process of proper preparation and implementation planning in place, the 2014 review and the next Spending Review should be no more than confirmation that delivery of that vision is on track.

He concluded by commenting:

‘I must however continue to register some concern about the Government funding of the charity. It looks like a very fragile funding package but it will be for the prospective transitional trustees to take a view on a funding package which they will regard as sustainable.’

ENDS

For more information please contact Jo Gilbertson or David Padfield on 01494 783453

Jo.Gilbertson@waterways.org.uk
David.Padfield@waterways.org.uk

Notes For Editors

IWA

The Inland Waterways Association is a registered charity, founded in 1946, which advocates the conservation, use, maintenance, restoration and development of the inland waterways for public benefit.

IWA works closely with navigation authorities, national and local authorities, voluntary, private and public sector organisations. We campaign and lobby for support and encourage public participation in the inland waterways. IWA also manages the Chelmer & Blackwater Navigation for the public benefit, through its subsidiary Essex Waterways, having stepped in to prevent its closure in 2005.

IWA actively supports waterway restoration, and through its waterways restoration volunteering organisation, Waterway Recovery Group, organises and subsidises over 20 week-long waterway restoration working holidays for volunteers of all ages throughout the UK each year, as well as conducting multiple work parties around the country on most weekends. This particularly enables young people to participate in the preservation and restoration of our heritage, and in doing so learn construction and heritage skills.

More than 500 miles of canals and navigable rivers have been re-opened to public use since the Association was founded in 1946. The Association is working to restore a further 500 miles of derelict inland waterways.

IWA is organised into 35 local branches covering geographical areas of the country, through which volunteers coordinate activities as diverse as policing planning applications through the waterway corridor, organising festivals and events to raise public awareness, providing engineering expertise, raising money for restoration schemes, and providing education on the value and benefits of their local waterways.

There is much more information at www.waterways.org.uk

"IWA welcomes Environment Agency navigations for the new charity"