Issue date: 23rd December 2011
The Canal & River Trust Transition Trustees have published a fresh update on progress with the Trust.
IWA is pleased to see that the Canal & River Trust negotiations with Defra are taking longer than originally programmed. The government offer of £39m per annum without indexation was never enough, as evidenced by the answers to Parliamentary Questions tabled by MPs who are waterways supporters. IWA has briefed MPs extensively on liabilities to transfer to the Canal & River Trust, including those related to British Waterways pensions, the cost of bridge repair and maintenance, and dredging requirements.
The Waterways Minister, Richard Benyon MP, has offered to return to the All Party Parliamentary Waterways Group in the New Year to provide an update on government funding after the negotiations have concluded. It will be interesting to see what the Transition Trustees have come to regard as acceptable.
The suggestion that there is now pressure on an April 2012 launch date is no great surprise. IWA always thought this was optimistic, and said so publicly. The Transfer Order is to be subject to a scrutiny process called the Enhanced Affirmative Procedure. The parliamentary interest in the Canal & River Trust, stimulated by IWA and others, means that there will almost certainly be a debate on the issues.
Read the full update on the Waterscape website