IWA Welcomes Government's Announcement On Mutualisation of British Waterways

Issue date: 26 March 2010

The Inland Waterways Association ( IWA ) welcomed Government’s announcement in its Budget statement  today, 24 March 2010; that it will progress proposals to allow British Waterways to be mutualised, possibly as a charitable trust, responsible for managing waterways assets on a long lease with the non-operational property endowment held in a 'charity locked' arrangement.

IWA understands that much further work will be needed to identify the exact form of mutual and the detail of its governance and relationship with Government. IWA also welcomes the Government's intention to safeguard British Waterways’ assets by ensuring that any proposal will:

  • Ensure robust governance arrangements and purpose so waterways assets and the public benefits they bring are protected now and in the future;

  • Develop a governance structure that allows all users, local communities and other stakeholders to hold the new body to account; and

  • Put the waterways on a long-term sustainable footing while reducing the ongoing cost to the taxpayer.

Speaking on behalf of IWA, Clive Henderson, national chairman said:

‘We are pleased with today’s announcement as we have supported this initiative from the start.  We are also pleased to see Government’s intentions to ensure that the public interest is safeguarded, as this has also been one of our overriding concerns in the development of the proposals put forward by BW.’

He continued;

‘IWA looks forward to participating in the promised full consultation, and will be actively  seeking to ensure that this opportunity is built upon for the benefit of all waterways users, by exploring the opportunities that a larger Inland Waterways Conservancy might present. With over 5,000km of navigable waterways in the ownership or control of over 30 navigation authorities, the two largest are the government funded and controlled agencies, British Waterways and the Environment Agency. Our vision is to encourage the formation of a larger, rationalised organisation, incorporating both British Waterways and Environment Agency managed waterways, that will also allow for the opportunity for other non-publicly funded navigations to join at some time in the future.’

Download a copy of IWA’s Inland Waterway Conservancy proposals