Quango cull kills off British Waterways

British Waterways (BW) is to be replaced with a new charitable body – building on recommendations made by BW themselves.

The waterways minister, Richard Benyon MP, explained that the move will ‘give users of the waterways a greater say in their future management and help to ensure they remain part of our natural and cultural heritage, of value to society and the economy.’

Gus Lewis, of the RYA, said that they were ‘broadly supportive of the move, provided that the governance structure of the new organisation is robust and that there is comprehensive stakeholder engagement.’

In the 50 years since BW was established, the waterways – some of which are 250 years old – have evolved into a thriving environmental and leisure resource.

The 2,200-mile network of canals, rivers and docks is visited by 13 million people a year and is worth £½ billion a year to the nation. The waterways provide amenity, flood relief, neighbourhood renewal and wildlife corridors.

Future funding should come from a combination of a guaranteed, long-term Government contract, commercial income and growing charitable receipts from donations and legacies.

The Government intends to have the new body up and running by April 2012. Additionally, Defra (the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs) is to hold talks with the Scottish Government about the potential for incorporating their waterways in the new charity.

Full article: www.rya.org.uk