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.