Rivers trans­fer – the time­line

Canal Boat - - News -

THE OF­TEN-DIS­CUSSED idea of merg­ing the En­vi­ron­ment Agency’s river nav­i­ga­tions into the Canal & River Trust net­work is on the cards again – with a joint work­ing group es­tab­lished, and a rough timetable set for the way ahead.

The trans­fer of the 620 miles of wa­ter­ways in­clud­ing the Thames, Med­way, Great Ouse and Nene was orig­i­nally pro­posed as part of the 2012 trans­for­ma­tion of the former na­tion­alised Bri­tish Wa­ter­ways into the char­i­ta­ble CRT. But the plan was re­peat­edly shelved ow­ing to dif­fi­cul­ties of di­vid­ing re­spon­si­bil­ity for nav­i­ga­tion and other func­tions (such as flood con­trol) and the lack of any kind of prop­erty ‘dowry’ to sup­port it – see our news fea­ture in CanalBoat, March, for the full story.

Now, how­ever, not only has the Wa­ter­ways Min­is­ter Rory Ste­wart ex­pressed his keen­ness for the idea, but depart­ment De­fra has got to­gether with the two nav­i­ga­tion au­thor­i­ties to plan the way for­ward.

2015: De­fra, CRT and EA agreed to work to­gether to­wards a trans­fer. Start of 2016: Work­ing group set up. First half of 2016: ‘Phase 1’ – gath­er­ing in­for­ma­tion, site vis­its, ‘get­ting a feel for the costs’, con­sul­ta­tion with user groups, re­port­ing on the op­tions.

Sec­ond half of 2016: ‘Phase 2’ – de­tailed as­sess­ment of the op­tions. 2018-19: tar­get for trans­fer of wa­ter­ways. The work is still at an early stage, but the trans­fer is clearly back on the agenda, within the life­time of the cur­rent par­lia­ment.

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