EA wa­ter­ways ‘could trans­fer by 2019’

Canal Boat - - News -

WE ARE LIKELY to know by the end of this year whether the Govern­ment will sup­port pro­pos­als to trans­fer the En­vi­ron­ment Agency’s river nav­i­ga­tions

(in­clud­ing the Thames, Nene, Great Ouse and Med­way) into the Canal & River Trust. And if it does, the change could hap­pen over the fol­low­ing two years.

Stick­ing points in past ne­go­ti­a­tions have concerned the need for a ‘dowry’ be­fore CRT will take on new li­a­bil­i­ties (un­like CRT, the EA has no com­mer­cial prop­erty port­fo­lio to bring in ex­tra in­come); and di­vid­ing re­spon­si­bil­ity for the EA’s struc­tures (such as locks, weirs and sluices) be­tween nav­i­ga­tion func­tions (which would trans­fer to CRT) and flood con­trol (which would stay with the EA).

Al­though changes in govern­ment fol­low­ing the Brexit vote (which in­clude a new Wa­ter­ways Min­is­ter Thérèse Cof­fey) have de­layed progress, CRT Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Richard Parry told CB it was still very much a “work in progress”. Once de­tails have been worked out, and it is known how much money the Govern­ment is pre­pared to put in both up­front and as on­go­ing fund­ing, a joint propo­si­tion can be put for­ward (with a tar­get of ‘by Christ­mas’) for a min­is­te­rial ‘yes’ or ‘no’.

If the an­swer is ‘yes’, CRT could take charge over “a cou­ple of years”, with com­ple­tion by 2019.

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