Common position on Inland Waterways agreed 

RYA and other representative organisations have agreed a joint position statement outlining their aspirations for the future promotion of Inland Waterways...

The RYA and eight other Inland Waterways representative organisations, including the Inland Waterways Association and British Marine Federation, have identified common ground and agreed on a joint position statement outlining their aspirations for the future promotion of Great Britain’s Inland Waterways.  

The statement reads as follows:  

The Representative Organisations named below wish to promote the inland waterways of Great Britain by:-

  • Encouraging a modern, integrated and sustainable approach to the use of inland waterways.
  • Protecting, conserving and improving inland waterways as a vital part of our national heritage.
  • Maximising the opportunities that inland waterways offer for leisure, recreation, business enterprise and freight transport.
  • Securing sustainable funding arrangements.  

In order to achieve these objectives, we believe that:-  

1.There should be a comprehensive overhaul of inland waterways legislation, to facilitate effective management of the existing inland waterways network.  

 2. Navigation authorities should identify new ways of working and new opportunities to sustain the waterways in order to safeguard the environmental, social and economic value of the waterways for the future.  

3. The importance of maintaining the inland waterways network for leisure and recreation, tourism, sport for all, public health, business enterprise and freight transportation should be recognised throughout central Government and devolved administrations.  

4. Inland waterways should actively be promoted to a wider public by the provision of increased opportunities for leisure and recreation, including waterborne activities and non-boating activities such as walking and cycling.  

5. The Government should clarify its expectations of navigation authorities in respect of their many environmental obligations, specifying priorities and timetables, identifying additional costs and how these should be funded.  

6. The Government, navigation authorities and other public agencies should make funds available for the restoration of existing derelict, abandoned and unusable waterways where there is a strong business case establishing social, economic or environmental benefits, and the construction where necessary of new waterways, in order to provide public benefits through opportunities for greater public and commercial access and use.  

7. In partnership with IWAC and AINA, the Government should use the current review of its June 2000 publication “Waterways for Tomorrow” to produce a policy statement for the sustainable maintenance and development of the inland waterways that contains clear Key Performance Indicators, timescales for delivery and an appropriate funding strategy.    

Association of Waterways Cruising Clubs; British Canoe Union; British Marine Federation;   DBA The Barge Associaiton; Inalnd Waterways Association; National Association of Boat Owners; Royal Yachting Association; Save Our Waterways; Scottish Inland Waterways Association.

This statement has been submitted to officials at the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs who are in the process of reviewing the Government’s policy in this area.  

In addition, Charlotte Atkins, Labour MP for Staffordshire Moorlands, has lodged an Early Day Motion in the House of Commons in support of the joint position statement.  

The Early Day Motion 1795 states:  

“That this House congratulates the nine waterway organisations including the Inland Waterways Association, Royal Yachting Association and British Marine Federation that have joined together to promote inland waterways; notes that they recognise the importance waterways have for leisure, recreation, business and freight; further notes their call for a comprehensive overhaul of waterways legislation, for recognition across Government departments of inland waterways' importance, for the restoration of derelict waterways and for the construction of new waterways where there is a social, environmental or business case; and believes that the current review of Waterways for Tomorrow should identify clear key performance indicators and timescales for delivery and an appropriate funding strategy”.  

To review to the Early Day Motion and see which MPs have signed up for it visit

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Article Published: July 08, 2009 9:47


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