Saving our waterways?

Wast Hill Tunnel, Worcester & Birmingham Canal

Wast Hill Tunnel, Worcester & Birmingham Canal

The Government has issued a reply to a petition which gained over 22,00 signatures…..

“We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to protect our canals by not selling off property owned by British waterways.”

This is the response:-

On 14 October 2010 the Government announced that British Waterways would be abolished as a public corporation and that we would create a new charity, similar to a national trust for the waterways.  Details of the public consultation on the proposed model, including scope and governance, will be announced within the coming few weeks.  The new waterways charity is expected to be set up in 2012, subject to Parliamentary consent and time.

A civil society model for British Waterways reflects the Government’s commitment to Big Society, as well as its confidence in British Waterways to work with others to build a sustainable future for the waterways under a charitable model.  A charitable company will give users and communities more responsibility for governance of the waterways.  It also has the potential to enable the new body to access new income streams and greater public support at a time when there is considerable pressure on other sources of income.  Charitable status would also facilitate a step change in volunteering, enhanced local partnership working and a range of cost efficiencies.

The Government will give the new charity the best start it can afford, with the transfer of the property portfolio and a long term contract.  As a first step, the Government has provided a new long term commitment to a grant allocation at the 2014/15 level (£39m) to 2022/23 inclusive (covering the next two Spending Review periods) that will enable the development of a funding plan which gives confidence to the incoming Trustees of the new charity.  The amount and length of the contract will be subject to negotiation with the Trustees, who will be appointed this April.

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