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.