Anglian Waterways Under Threat of Closure26 January 2017
IWA has issued a strong warning that potential long-term closures of Environment Agency waterways in East Anglia will be resisted by waterway users. IWA has seen documents that reveal EA is prepared to make long-term closures of navigation assets. EA admits that this is the inevitable consequence of its underfunding problems, which IWA has been campaigning about for many years.
In the minutes of a meeting between EA and CRT about the proposed transfer of EA waterways, brought to our attention by a concerned waterway user following a Freedom of Information request, EA stated that some navigations in their Anglian Region (which includes the Great Ouse and River Nene) may have to be closed to navigation on health and safety grounds.
Three locks in the region are already closed with EA admitting that it is unable to reopen them due to current funding restraints. It is only a matter of time before further navigation assets are closed, potentially on waterways that are well used and provide links or through routes to other waterways, a situation that IWA regards as unacceptable. The Anglian Water Act 1977 provides a Right of Navigation on most of these waterways and IWA considers that EA cannot not simply ignore its legal duties.
Les Etheridge, IWA national chairman, said “Whether or not EA’s waterways are transferred to CRT, these navigations need to receive increased funding from Government in order to halt the progressive deterioration that is currently taking place. IWA’s wish to see the EA navigations transferred to CRT has always been conditional upon sufficient funding being provided and threats of closure to currently navigable waterways are simply unacceptable. Waterways provide far too much to the nation in terms of health benefits, recreation and regeneration for this to be a sensible option and we must not allow it to happen. Now is the time for boaters to make their voice heard and we need your help. If you live near, or boat on, any of the EA Anglian waterways, please write to your local MP and the relevant local authority in order to make them aware of your concerns.
Download letter templates:
Letter to MPs
Your support will be vital as politicians need to understand that waterway supporters are not prepared to just sit there whilst waterways close around them”.
Suggestions of who to write to can be obtained by emailing Alison Smedley, Campaigns Officer Please copy any letters to Alison so that IWA is aware of the level of support for the campaign.
Find about more about the threat of closure to Anglian waterways.