French minister proposes closing 27 waterways

A leaked report suggests de-classifying up to 27 French rivers and canals to save money

Up to 27 French canals and rivers should be closed to save money, according to the findings of a leaked report into the future of French waterways.


The findings of the report were initially published by Fluvial, a French magazine, on its website on 12 October.


In the report by the Ministère des Finances, Noël de Saint Pulgent, inspecteur général des finances, looked into the future of the Voies Navigables de France (VNF) – France’s answer to British Waterways – and at potential ways of costcutting.

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In the report Pulgent calls for the effective closure of up to 27 French waterways, which are considered to have low traffic levels. In the Fluvial article he is quoted as saying, “The de-classification for navigation would cover around 1350km (27 waterways), approximately 19% of the network currently managed by VNF, and result in the reduction of around 454 full-time employees.”


MBM has seen the report and among the waterways earmarked for de-classification are the River Loire, the Dordogne, the Canal Saint-Martin and the Canal Marne.


However, insiders say there’s no need to fret yet – despite a July date the report is yet to be published and similar money-saving ideas have been floated before but were quickly aborted following public outrage.


Full list of French canals and waterways earmarked for closure.





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