All Party Group Discusses Waterway Issues21 March 2018
Transfer of the EA navigations, future waterway funding and residential moorings were among the topics discussed at a meeting of the All Party Parliamentary Group for the Waterways, held at Westminster on Tuesday 13th March.
John Grogan MP, Chair of the All Party Group, opened the meeting and welcomed the first speaker, Richard Parry, Chief Executive of Canal & River Trust, who gave an overview of the Trust since it was created in 2012.
The Minister with responsibility for the waterways, Dr Thérèse Coffey MP, had been due to speak at the meeting but was unfortunately called away on urgent parliamentary business at very short notice. In her place Rebecca Pow MP, Parliamentary Private Secretary, addressed the meeting and took away a number of questions for the Minister.
On the subject of the transfer of the Environment Agency’s navigations to Canal & River Trust, the meeting heard again the message given by Lord Gardiner on behalf of DEFRA in the House of Lords debate on the future of the UK’s inland waterways a few days earlier, that “the Minister has instructed officials in DEFRA and the Environment Agency to work with the Trust on a revised proposal which fully accounts for which assets could be transferred.”
Other subjects discussed included future funding of both CRT and EA navigations, volunteering, residential boating and navigation authority alignment of licensing and enforcement. Attending the meeting were representatives of a number of navigation authority and waterway organisations, with this being the first APPGW meeting for a number of years that waterway stakeholders had been invited to.
Ivor Caplan, National Chairman of The Inland Waterways Association which funds the Secretariat for the APPGW, said “It was very clear from the meeting that representatives from user groups, navigation authorities and the commercial sector support IWA’s view that adequate sustained funding is essential to secure future investment and growth in the inland waterways”.