IWA Press Release

Issue Date: 31 March 2010

The Inland Waterways Association (IWA) welcomes Defra’s long awaited consultation document – A New Era for the Waterways –  on how it proposes to transform British Waterways into a third sector body.

Clive Henderson, IWA national chairman, said:

‘I am in no doubt that the right way forward for Britain’s navigable inland waterways is for them to be managed by a third sector body and I am pleased that the detailed proposals on how government intends to change British Waterways into a new civil society body are now available.

We will take our time to consider the detail of how this transformation is to be achieved with great care and will aim to share our preliminary thoughts as quickly as possible. We have said all along that the funding package needs to be viable, the governance needs to be right, and that the new body should also inherit the Environment Agency navigations. So we are especially pleased that the Government has now signalled that it shares our views. I specifically welcome the commitment in principle to inclusion of the Environment Agency navigations in 2015; the stated aim that this move to civil society must create a sustainable model for the future of the inland waterways; and the emphasis on governance arrangements that involve local stakeholders in decision making for their waterways’.

Finally, he said:

‘It is now a matter of considering how these aims can best be translated into a successful civil society body which can flourish in the future. key aspects of the consultation that we will be looking at are how:

•    the indicative funding stacks up in delivering a sustainable charity.

•    the governance proposals can best achieve community enagagement consistent with localism and so that local ‘ownership’ of waterways can lead to tangible benefits for the waterways.

•    the Government is planning to ensure that the Environment Agency navigations can transfer smoothly in 2015/16.’  

We will also want to explore in further detail how the status of the commercial, cruising and remainder waterways will be dealt with to meet the charitable purposes of the body in a manner that sustains and enhances existing usage’.



Notes For Editors


The Inland Waterways Association is a registered charity, founded in 1946, which advocates the conservation, use, maintenance, restoration and development of the inland waterways for public benefit.

IWA works closely with navigation authorities, national and local authorities, voluntary, private and public sector organisations. We campaign and lobby for support and encourage public participation in the inland waterways. IWA also manages the Chelmer & Blackwater Navigation for the public benefit, through its subsidiary Essex Waterways, having stepped in to prevent its closure in 2005.

IWA actively supports waterway restoration, and through its waterways restoration volunteering organisation, Waterway Recovery Group, organises and subsidises over 20, week-long waterway restoration working holidays for volunteers of all ages throughout the UK each year, as well as conducting multiple work parties around the country on most weekends. This particularly enables young people to participate in the preservation and restoration of our heritage, and in doing so learn construction and heritage skills.

More than 500 miles of canals and navigable rivers have been re-opened to public use since the Association was founded in 1946. The Association is working to restore a further 500 miles of derelict inland waterways.

IWA is organised into 35 local branches covering geographical areas of the country, through which volunteers coordinate activities as diverse as policing planning applications through the waterway corridor, organising festivals and events to raise public awareness, providing engineering expertise, raising money for restoration schemes, and providing education on the value and benefits of their local waterways.

Find out more about IWA   www.waterways.org.uk