The Environment Agency plans to sell over 300 metres of river frontage in Ely.
IWA considers that the land shouldn’t be sold off for two reasons.
Whether the Environment Agency continues to be the navigation authority or whether these waterways are transferred to Canal & River Trust, IWA considers that ongoing income is essential in preventing further asset deterioration and waterway closures, and in optimising the leisure, tourism, health, well-being and economic benefits of these waterways.
Les Etheridge has written to Sir James Bevan asking him to arrange for the sale to be withdrawn, but with the closing date for sealed bids for the private auction rapidly approaching on 8th September, we would like to ask you to help by writing to your MPs, particularly if you live in a constituency which includes the River Great Ouse or any of its tributaries.
An example letter is copied below, but you may prefer to write in your own words. If anyone would like any more detailed background to the issue, or would like advice about which MP to write to, please contact Alison Smedley by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
(if writing to Lucy Frazer, MP for South East Cambridgeshire, delete the bit in italics)
Dear (name) MP
Environment Agency land for sale at Ely, Cambridgeshire
I am writing to raise my concern about plans by the Environment Agency to sell three plots of riverside land in Ely.
As well as the loss of income that these moorings bring to EA as the navigation authority, I am most concerned about the impact the sale would have on the three waterway-related businesses based on the site. Bridge Boatyard has been operating for over 40 years and is now the only holiday boat hire company on the River Great Ouse, and there is also hotel barge Water Nimf and The Boat Yard boat restoration business based on the site. All three may be forced out of business as a result of this sale.
We wish to bring this to your attention as, although it is not in your constituency, the tourism and economy of the towns and villages along the River Great Ouse and all its tributaries are at risk as a result of the proposed sale. Bridge Boatyard have between 2000 and 2500 people hiring their boats each year, bringing them on to the river and travelling from Ely as far afield as Bedford and Cambridge, visiting many of the towns and villages in between.
This issue is urgent as the land is being offered for sale by private treaty with bids to be submitted by 8th September.
I would ask you to write to the Waterway Minister, Dr Thérèse Coffey, to ask her to arrange for the sale of land to be withdrawn.