Photo: River Great Ouse, Bedford by Catherine Buck
(20 miles, line of intended new waterway in various ownerships)
This proposed new twenty-mile broad waterway is planned to connect the Great Ouse at Bedford to the Grand Union Canal at Milton Keynes. The canal is being promoted as the core of a linear water park for all users by a partnership led by Bedford & Milton Keynes Waterway Trust and including all the local councils, IWA, Canal & River Trust, Great Ouse Boating Association and EA. Studies have shown that the new waterway could provide great social, economic and environmental benefits across the region, attracting up to 750,000 visitors, creating up to 900 permanent jobs, 2900 person-years of temporary, construction jobs and bringing in an extra £26 million into the local economy each year. The line of the canal has been safeguarded and is included in all regional and national plans, and the first funded structure - an underpass under the new duelled A421 near Stewartby - was completed in autumn 2009. The project has been led by a consortium of local councils and other agencies since 2010.