Issue date: 29 June 2010
IWA held its first reception for MPs elected to the new Parliament on Tuesday 15 June. It was hosted by the Rt Hon Alun Michael MP. The purpose was for IWA to give new MPs a briefing on the importance of the inland waterways to Britain and the problems which must be overcome if they are to continue to flourish.
Alun Michael, one of three former waterways Ministers present, gave a brief introduction, explaining how his time as waterways Minister had ingrained in him just how valuable the inland waterways are to the nation. Clive Henderson, IWA Chairman, then gave a brief presentation to set the scene for the reception. The key issues that he raised were:
· The benefits that the waterways can convey – regeneration; a focus for social cohesion and integration; a facility for community health and recreation.
· The continued use of suitable waterways for freight movements.
· The need for infrastructure funding.
· How in times of great strain for the public finances, there is no better time for the Government to seriously consider the formation of an Inland Waterways Conservancy, initially comprising the British Waterways and Environment Agency navigations, gaining the cost efficiencies that would be realised by this merger.
The reception was well attended - 24 MPs representing all the major political parties, with many others unable to attend asking for a briefing when possible, confirming that the inland waterways remain apolitical for MPs. IWA had representatives on hand from around the country to engage with MPs about what benefits specific waterways can provide for their individual constituencies.
The event was also attended by senior representatives from British Waterways, the Environment Agency and Defra (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs).
Photo shows IWA chairman Clive Henderson with the Rt Hon Alun Michael and
Huw Irranca -Davies