IWA Issues Initial Response to Defra's Consultation on British Waterways’ Transfer to Charitable Status

IWA Press Release

Issue Date: 6 May 2011

The Inland Waterways Association (IWA) has issued its initial response to Defra’s consultation document – A New Era for the Waterways – on the Government’s proposals to transform British Waterways into a charity.

Clive Henderson, IWA national chairman, said:

“IWA sees clear advantages for Britain’s navigable inland waterways being managed by a third sector body, however, our first reactions to the consultation proposals are that:

•    The primacy of navigation on the inland waterways, as a defining influence on how the charity is operated, is too weak thoughout the expressed aims for the organisation and its structure. 
•    The indicative funding currently does not appear to stack up in delivering a sustainable charity. We appear to be some £15- £45 million p.a. short of what is required. Which incidentally, by way of comparison is between around 180- 550 metres worth of the Government's High Speed rail project.

•    The governance proposals need to be fully consistent with localism so that local ‘ownership’ of waterways can lead to tangible benefits for the waterways, which includes stakeholders being able to say how money can be spent on local priorities.

•    The Government must ensure processes are in place to ensure that the Environment Agency navigations can transfer smoothly in 2015/16.  

•    The classification of the commercial, cruising and remainder waterways must be addressed by Government to meet the charitable purposes of the body in a manner that sustains and enhances existing usage.

We hope our preliminary analysis document will aid others in their efforts to respond properly to the consultation. Our detailed response to the full 29 questions put in the consultation will follow shortly.” 

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Notes For Editors