Consultation: moving inland waterways into a new charity in England and Wales

Have your say!  Defra launched a consultation yesterday seeking views on how, in future, the inland waterways in England & Wales could be run.  They are currently managed on behalf of the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.  The consultation sets out the rationale for moving these waterways out of the public sector and into a new civil society organisation, and the principles which will guide the Government in deciding on the way forward.

The creation of a New Waterways Charity (NWC) is intended to give waterways users, and their local communities, a greater involvement in how the waterways are managed.  The proposal aims to help the waterways to be more financially sustainable, as the new charity will have access to new sources of commercial and private income, and fundraising, including legacies and donations.  It will create the opportunity to grow a strong base of volunteers who can help maintain a range of waterways assets, through their knowledge, expertise, passion and commitment.

The consultation is aimed at:

  • people who use the waterways as part of their daily lives or have an interest in them;
  • people who do not use the waterways but want to or who could potentially benefit from them;
  • people actively involved in the waterways;
  • minority groups with an interest in the waterways;
  • business users of the waterways, including hireboat and commercial operators, boat builders;
  • waterside businesses and businesses with an indirect stake;
  • national and local government and key national and local stakeholders;
  • national and local interest groups;
  • national interest groups such as environmental and recreational non-governmental organisations and industry federations;
  • statutory advisers to Government.

To download the consultation document and find out how to respond, please see this page on the Defra website.  The closing date for responses is 30 June, 2011.

Further information can also be found on this British Waterways press release.

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