Britain phases approach for new waterways charity

Canals and rivers currently managed by British Waterways (BW) will be transferred to a new third sector charitable organisation
Following the British Government’s decision in October 2010 that the canals and rivers currently managed by British Waterways (BW) will be transferred to a new third sector charitable organisation, the Government announced on Monday (28 February) that it has decided the Environment Agency’s navigable waterways should also transfer to the new charity.

The Government has confirmed that its proposal is to transfer the Environment Agency’s navigations to the new charity in 2015/16, subject to the agreement of the new charity’s Trustees and provided that it is affordable to do so. In 2014, the performance of the new charity will be reviewed and options considered for the transfer of the navigations.

Gus Lewis, Head of Government Affairs, was briefed on the Government’s proposals at a meeting with Richard Benyon MP, Minister for Inland Waterways, on Monday morning. On hearing the proposals, Gus commented: 'We welcome the Minister’s statement that the inclusion of EA navigations will be deferred until 2015 as it will enable Government and stakeholders to focus on ensuring that the new charity, to which the BW undertakings will be transferred, is given the best prospects for a long term sustainable future.'

'The RYA is in principle broadly supportive of the Government’s proposal to transfer BW’s undertakings to a new charity, although there are a number of practical issues that will need to be resolved before management of BW’s waterways is transferred to the new charity', concluded Gus.

A consultation on the proposal to establish a ‘national trust’ for British Waterways’ canals and rivers in England and Wales is expected to be launched later this month.

RYA website