Next weekend will see boats gather up and down the country in protest against recent DEFRA cuts

The protest against DEFRA’s recent cutbacks in funding to the country’s two major waterways authorities will take to the water next weekend.

Across the country, the Inland Waterways Association (IWA) is planning “spectacular blockades” made up of boaters, anglers, cyclists, canoeists, rowers, horse riders, runners, walkers, environmentalists and local community representatives.

This, the IWA hopes, will “demonstrate the universal strength of feeling against this threat to the maintenance and future of our waterway network”.

For a detailed rundown of just why DEFRA is scaling back budgets, see December’s MBM.

Well-known waterways lover David Suchet will be attending a demonstration at Kingston-on-Thames on Saturday.

There will even be an international flavour to proceedings, with the Australian Canal Society planning a protest beside Sydney Harbour.

“Well-maintained and accessible waterways have improved the lives of millions of local people who live close by them or who use them for leisure,” a campaign spokesman said. “DEFRA’s incompetence should not be allowed to threaten this.”

For details of the protest event taking place closest to you, go here.