The first three of eight schemes for Britain's waterways are to be unveiled by actor David Suchet at the London Boat Show.

More pump-out stations, moorings and refuse services are just three of the improvements the Environmental Agency plans to make to the Thames.

The scheme, to be launched with two others for the Medway and Great Ouse by actor and boat enthusiast Davis Suchet at the London Boat Show, will kick off a busy year for the EA.

The Agency’s head of Recreation and Navigation Julia Simpson said: “2006 is the year we launch all eight of our waterway plans which provide blueprints for the future of our rivers.

“Thanks to extra government funding over the next three years we are investing more money in our rivers than ever before – work is already underway to modernise our waterways by improving the maintenance of our river infrastructure and providing better facilities.”

The River Thames Waterway Plan was two years in the making, and involved over 100 organisations along the 127km-long river.

The EA claims the plan is a breakthrough in river management, in that it incorporates the views and priorities of all those who work along the river, from local authorities and river businesses to resident groups and public sector bodies.

Thames Waterway manager Eileen McKeever said: “Up until now we have tended to operate in isolation of each other. But now, for example, we can jointly guide development towards getting the right facilities on the river in the places they are needed the most.”

The Great Ouse Waterway Plan will open up 240kms of waterways in what is the most ambitious waterway project seen in the UK for two centuries, while the 31km Medway can look forward to more temporary moorings and automated lock gates at Allington.

Next in the pipeline are plans for the rivers Wye, Nene, Ancholme, Glen/Welland and Stour.

For a full rundown of the plans visit www.environment-agency.gov.uk/waterwayplan (live from 6 January).