Following speculation that the government is about to announce the sale of BW's property portfolio, the IWA has launched a campaign to lobby MPs against the move

The Inland Waterways Association (IWA) is urging boaters to join its campaign to lobby MPs against selling off British Waterways’ (BW) property portfolio.

There is growing speculation that the government will announce the sale of BW’s 1400 canalside properties in the Pre-Budget report, due on 9 December.

The government refuses to be drawn on the subject and BW has denied all knowledge, with its chairman, Tony Hales, speaking out about how integral the revenue generated from its property portfolio is to maintaining and improving BW’s network of waterways.

Tony Hales, said, “We generate almost half of our annual maintenance budget through property-related activities – without it the public cost of caring for the waterways would increase significantly. With the reduction in grant funding in recent years the income we have generated from property and other sources has been crucial to the funding and revival of the 2200-mile network.”

The IWA says now is the best chance boaters have of convincing the government that selling off BW’s assets is in nobody’s interest and it has even set up a petition against selling off BW’s properties.

Jo Gilbertson of the IWA said, “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 people that care about the issue. On the other hand, if it is well supported the government – which is sensitive to actions that could lose it votes this close to an election – would probably take notice.”
 
Caption: The newly restored Stourport Canal Basin is home to one building that could be under threat.