Canal Boat - - News - NICK WALL Edi­tor

Some peo­ple have been known to ask ‘does the IWA have a point?’. Well, here’s a sim­ple an­swer – yes, it does. And this par­tic­u­lar point is all about hold­ing the En­vi­ron­ment Agency to ac­count.

We are, of course, talk­ing about the IWA’s claim that the EA is ‘rewrit­ing his­tory’ in re­gard to the long-run­ning clo­sure of Welches Dam Lock (cer­tainly looks as if it is). You can read the full story on page 12.

The thing is, the EA could and should be do­ing bet­ter re­gard­ing our rivers gen­er­ally – much, much bet­ter. The Agency might well cry ‘lack of money’, an easy claim to make and, to be fair, partly true. But... if our rivers, par­tic­u­larly those a lit­tle off the beaten track, are al­lowed to re­turn to na­ture it will cost a whole lot more money to bring them back to a stan­dard that per­mits proper nav­i­ga­tion.

Just about ev­ery­one wants the EA rivers to fall un­der the Canal & River Trust’s wing, but if the EA fails to main­tain them to the stan­dard one would ex­pect (I’ll set­tle for close to the stan­dard...) CRT will rightly ask for a king’s ran­som to take them on. So if the new govern­ment wants shot of the rivers (yes) it might want to think about mak­ing them more at­trac­tive – and nav­i­ga­ble – first.

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