Defra has announced that it will not transfer Environmental Agency (EA) Navigations to the Canal & River Trust at this time

Environment Minister Richard Benyon, MP said that the transfer of EA navigations will be postponed until Defra’s finances improve and there is a realistic prospect of the transfer being affordable and that it can take on terms which would enable CRT’s Trustees to manage the additional liabilities involved.   Gus Lewis, Head of Legal and Government Affairs responded:

“The RYA has expressed the view from the outset that it is critical to the success of the Canal & River Trust (CRT) that it has sufficient financial resources to enable it to discharge its responsibilities.  

“If the current fiscal situation is such that Defra is unlikely to be in a position to provide sufficient financial support to the CRT to enable it to take on the EA’s navigations in 2015/2016 then we agree that the decision whether to transfer those navigations to the CRT should be postponed until such time as the necessary financial support is available.  

“The RYA is encouraged by the Minister’s recognition of the importance of keeping the Environment Agency’s navigations on a sound financial footing and we look forward to continuing our work with the Agency to maintain and enhance the Agency’s navigations for the benefit of recreational boaters.”      

The Government’s vision laid out in 2011 is to develop a ‘national trust’ for the waterways that would ultimately include both the British Waterways – which moved to CRT in 2012 – and EA navigations.