Canal and River Trust gets Parliamentary Go Ahead

Issue date: 4th July 2012

Canal and River Trust gets Parliamentary Go Ahead

Canal & River Trust (www.canalrivertrust.org.uk) and Scottish Canals (www.scottishcanals.co.uk) formally took over the work of British Waterways on Monday 2nd July.

The Transfer of British Waterways to Canal & River Trust was debated in committee in both the House of Lords and the House of Commons on the 25th and 26th June respectively and given the go ahead by both houses.

The Second Delegated Legislation Committee (Lords) and the First Delegated Legislation Committee (Commons) both considered the draft British Waterways Board (Transfer of Functions) Order 2012 and the draft Inland Waterways Advisory Council (Abolition) Order 2012.

IWA had undertaken to make detailed briefings to key members of both committees and had written openly supporting the move to all of the Commons Committee, as well a providing a detailed briefing to Sir Tony Baldry, MP for Banbury, who is the current co-chair of the All Party Parliamentary Waterways Group and who spoke at length in favour of the transfer during the Commons Committee debate.

One of the key concerns of members of both houses during the debates was the briefing against the formation of CRT by the National Association of Bargee Travellers who were concerned that the formation would allow Canal & River Trust to undertake forced removals of improperly moored boats used as residential accommodation. It was made clear by the Minister that this was not the case, and that improperly moored boats were subject to the rules and the 14-day rule would be applied, but that county court judgements would be obtained, as before, for any boat used as a residence.

As IWA members will know, The Inland Waterways Association, as the largest national charity for the waterways, was formed over 65 years ago to save the inland waterways from extinction. IWA believes in an independent charity as the way forward for the management of the waterways and has promulgated this idea for over 60 years, our co-founder Robert Aickman then called it a Conservancy. IWA therefore fully supports the formation of CRT as a further step in the safeguarding of a national asset and believes that the trust should be further enhanced and invigorated by the incorporation of Environment Agency navigations and culture.

Canal & River Trust has been described as the most exciting project in the public or voluntary sectors. It is certainly the most important development for the waterways of this country in over a generation.

There is to be a formal launch of the new Trust on 12th July.