River wish-list

Canal Boat - - Letters - JOHN FITZGER­ALD, via email

I READ THE ar­ti­cle about whether the Canal & River Trust should take over river re­spon­si­bil­ity from the En­vi­ron­ment Agency ( CB, Feb).

How­ever, the re­cent flood­ing events ought to fo­cus minds as never be­fore. For­get the ide­o­log­i­cal and in­tel­lec­tual ar­gu­ments – amount of money re­quired to put the flood de­fences across the coun­try right could run into the bil­lions.

To sug­gest a char­ity like CRT is bet­ter placed to deal with the river de­fence prob­lems at a time like this is pure fan­tasy. The prob­lem of flood­ing on EA rivers is long-stand­ing, get­ting worse and is a govern­ment one.

Just imag­ine what would hap­pen if CRT did take over re­spon­si­bil­ity to­mor­row, what­ever the deal or fund­ing ar­range­ments, it would have to be to­tally fo­cused on sort­ing out the EA river mess, and what would hap­pen to our canals and ex­ist­ing CRT rivers? They would be ne­glected, that’s what. I have two New Year wishes: 1. That CRT backs away from tak­ing on such re­spon­si­bil­ity un­til such time as the Govern­ment has sorted out the EA wa­ter­way de­fences. 2. That or­gan­i­sa­tions such as the In­land Wa­ter­ways As­so­ci­a­tion, which has done ster­ling work in the past in pres­suris­ing pub­lic bod­ies to meet their wa­ter­ways re­spon­si­bil­ity, in­stead of pres­suris­ing CRT to take over the EA rivers, it con­cen­trates in­stead on us­ing its con­sid­er­able lob­by­ing ex­per­tise to per­suade the Govern­ment to face up to its re­spon­si­bil­ity to deal with the flood de­fence prob­lems we are ex­pe­ri­enc­ing in the UK which are caus­ing such dread­ful dis­tress and mis­ery.

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