Pennine Waterways News

Monday, 21 June 2010

New Minister hedges on BW changes

The newly-appointed government minister with responsibility for the waterways is Richard Benyon MP.

His message to the waterway community upon appointment gives a rather mixed message. He said that the new Government would continue to look at the possibility of creating a "third sector" model for British Waterways, as this may fit neatly with the so-called "big society" philosophy.

However, he warned that nothing could be decided before the outcome of the Government's spending revue, as the Government's main objective was to reduce the deficit.

He gave the same reason for his decision not to proceed with a new Government waterways strategy. (Can he be referring to Defra's "Waterways for Everyone" strategy? What are the implications if this is abandoned?)

Mr Benyon also suggested that any "third-sector" waterway body could include the Environment Agency's navigations (such as the Thames, the Nene and the Broads). This suggestion has been welcomed by the IWA, which has campaigned for a nation waterway "conservancy" but is likely to be opposed by many boaters based on EA waters.

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