Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Waterways 2

Following on from my earlier article, the governments` precise intentions towards British waterways remain unclear.

At a time of economic uncertainty this may seem rather a parochial little dispute, but it`s worth considering the benefits canal regeneration can bring to an area. The recently formed Cromford Canal Partnership, an alliance between local authorities, canal users and others similar in form to the Chesterfield Canal Trust, has high hopes of revitalising the surrounding area with the work it envisages  including making the entire 17 mile-long canal from the Great Northern Basin at Langley Mill through Cromford to Pinxton navigable by boat, which would include  re-opening the Butterley Tunnel.

In response to the current uncertainties,  the Save Our Waterways group has become a membership organisation with intelligently thought out proposals and clear campaigning objectives. They envisage building alliances of local people, canal users, environmentalists, historians and other interested parties in seeking a secure future for Britain`s canal network. A key aim they have is that British Waterways should not be separated from its` property assets and they feel the government is avoiding this issue, perhaps intentionally. As they point out, if Britain`s waterways go into decline there will be a clear detriment to tourism, education, local communities, employment and even a knock-on effect on the Treasury`s revenue.

Those of us that can remember the state of Britain`s canals during the `70s and `80s, edged on either side as they often were by derelict warehouses and other signs of urban decay  will certainly see some merit to their proposals. I`ll be adding links to this blog for those who want to see how they fare.

As mentioned before, there are also relevant links at

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