Waterways debated in Parliament05 June 2020
Waterways were given a good airing in the House of Commons when Craig Williams, the MP for Montgomeryshire, secured an adjournment debate on the subject of waterway restoration which took place on Thursday 4th June.
Opening remarks from Craig Williams focussed on the Montgomery Canal and the progress of its restoration. He went on to talk about the wider success and benefits of waterway regeneration across the country, stating “there are restoration projects in constituencies across the UK, and if we look at the gross value added effect of restoring canals, we see that there is a huge positive return to the Exchequer and the public purse”. His comments reinforce our long held campaigning message, about which we have lobbied all MPs since the most recent general election.
The importance of tourism to the waterways was also raised, with many businesses and charities currently struggling as a result of restrictions imposed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Craig Williams supported the many letters that have been sent to Government as part of our campaign to secure a package of support for navigation authorities and waterway businesses.
Craig Williams concluded his speech by suggesting that Government investment in the restoration of waterways would be excellent value for money. Furthermore an injection of support could help with the recovery of the UK economy by driving domestic tourism, supporting communities and providing health and environmental benefits.
Rebecca Pow, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, responded by acknowledging the health and wellbeing benefits of being near the water and the important contribution that waterways make to local economies.
The debate also allowed the Minister to respond on current issues around funding for waterway businesses and the opening up of canals including the easing of restrictions imposed as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. The Minister reported that Government is working on guidance to enable more of the waterways sector to open in coming weeks as well as the welcome news that they are working up a potential tourism offer for waterway businesses.
Watch the adjournment debate now on the Parliamentary TV channel
Find out more about our campaign calling for more support for waterway businesses suffering as a result of Covid-19 closures.
Photo: Craig Williams MP (right) with IWA Volunteer Michael Haig (left) in January 2020