The Future of the Inland Waterways

Posted by Graham on Saturday, November 28, 2009 Under: Canals

Did you know that over half the population of this country lives within 5 miles of an inland waterway?

 You may also know about the media speculation that the Government intends to include the British Waterways’ property portfolio as a component of the £16bn asset sale.

 The Government has made no announcements and is steadfastly refusing to be drawn on the subject.

 However, we have good reason to believe that Government is seriously considering taking British Waterways’ assets and selling them in a Treasury ‘fire sale’ to raise cash - a decision will be taken in the next few days.

 Selling off its assets would mean that BW would be £85 million short of the £120 million it needs to run the canals and waterways of this country.

 That will mean inevitable decay and disrepair and will undoubtedly lead to closure as the organisation contracts to preserve a core network- this impact may include the locks and tow path on a canal or river near to you.



Caen Hill , Kennet and Avon Canal -Today                     Caen Hill , Kennet and Avon Canal - Previously



Dereliction like this was commonplace on our waterways just a generation ago

 In fact – this waterway was only fully restored a few years ago

 Please don’t let this kind of dereliction happen again - This is what will happen if we do nothing!

  IWA have been using this period of silence from Government as a window of opportunity to lobby Ministers.  We have orchestrated a political lobby in both the Commons and latterly the Lords to pressurise Government, and have briefed radio and national TV, using an array of reasons to support the argument that a sale would be in no-one’s interest.

We stand the best chance of preventing this sale if the Government can be persuaded not to do so, during this period of Ministerial silence. Whilst no announcements have been made, it is easier for Government to back away as it involves no public reversal of policy.

 However, an e-petition has appeared on the 10 Downing Street website;


IWA supports the statements in the petition. The worst outcome now that this is in the public domain, would be if this petition receives scant support. That might give Ministers the impression that there are few waterways supporters who care very much about the issue. On the other hand, if it is well supported, the Government, this close to an election, is very sensitive to actions it might take which may lose votes, and would probably take notice.


I am therefore urging you to sign up to this petition, and ask that you encourage everyone that you know, to also sign up. 


  Waterways are for all


The waterways are a national treasure. A thriving 4000 mile linear national park; a nature reserve accessible to all - an amenity that is part of the local scenery, and which can be walked and cycled along for leisure by millions – it belongs to everyone - we need all of the UK to know about this and to respond on line.


The future of the waterways could depend on your actions today – Please sign the petition and pass this message on.


Thank you



Jo Gilbertson
Camapigns and Communications Manager

The Inland Waterways Association
Non-profit Distributing Company Limited by Guarantee No 612245
Registered Charity No 212342

Registered Office: Island House Moor Road CHESHAM HP5 1WA
Tel: 01494 783 453 Ext 611
sustainable thinking...please don't print this e-mail unless you really need to

In : Canals 

Tags: "inland waterways" gobvernment "british waterways" canal petition 

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