BMF urges caution over new British Waterways model

The British Marine Federation (BMF) has welcomed the Government's announcement that British Waterways (BW) will be dismantled to make way for a new waterways charity, but says a considered approach is the way forward

As expected, one of the biggest announcements to come out of yesterday’s highly anticipated Spending Review was that British Waterways is to be disbanded to make way for a new waterways charity.

The announcement came after months of speculation about the future of the ailing navigation authority and it takes BW one step closer to achieving its goal of gaining third-sector status, which had been approved by the previous government.

The abolishment of BW will also help the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) meet its massive spending cuts of 29% in resource spending and 34% in capital spending.

However, as very little is known about how this new waterways charity will work, the BMF is urging caution.

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Rob Stevens, chief executive of the BMF, said,”The BMF supports DEFRA’s decision to turn BW into a new waterways charity in England and Wales, but this must take into account the needs of all who use waterways across the UK, in particular those companies who are wholly dependent on the navigation bodies to maintain the required environment in which their businesses operate.

“We will continue to work together [with BW] to ensure that the prime objective of this new waterways management organisation is to maintain the existing network of canals and rivers in a navigable condition.”

Stevens went on to suggest that funding for this new organisation should be the responsibility of all stakeholders that benefit from the waterways and not just rely on the licence fees of boaters and anglers.

For the full story on the abolition of BW, see the December issue of Motor Boats Monthly, in the shops 18 November.


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