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Thursday 17 December

Today's news from the web

  • Chesterfield towpath to be improved waterscape.com

    The project, which will commence in March, will see 2.2km of towpath resurfaced between Shireoaks Station and The Lock Keeper pub on Sandy Lane, Worksop. The resurfacing works will make the towpath more accessible to people of all ages and abilities and the project could potentially reduce the number of car journeys in the area. ...

  • Daventry people support plans for new canal daventrytoday.co.uk

    A MAJORITY of people say they generally support Daventry District Council's (DDC) proposals for a canal and marina to be built in the town. This week the council released the results of the public consultation it ran looking at its WaterSpace proposals. ...

  • Fire boat moving from Marlow to Beaconsfield bucksfreepress.co.uk

    Fire bosses have been questioned for moving a rescue boat from Marlow - to the altogether more landlocked station at Beaconsfield. ...

  • Volunteers in L&L clean up liverpoolecho.co.uk

    A HULA Hoop and a bus stop sign were among items pulled from a Merseyside canal during a cleanup. Volunteers from the Litherland and Ford Area Committee and tenants of Riverside Housing joined British Waterways. ...

  • Chain gangs to restore the Montgomery Canal countytimes.co.uk

    Convicted criminals will soon be used to reconnect the Montgomeryshire Canal. ...

Tuesday 15 December

Today's news from the web

  • BW to hold workshops for volunteer groups waterscape.com

    Volunteers play an essential part in contributing towards keeping the UK’s canals and rivers shipshape and in January, British Waterways will be running a series of workshops for the volunteer groups it works with. ...

  • Piece of Brentford's waterways history under threat hounslowchronicle.co.uk

    The Inland Waterways Association (IWA) are desperately trying to hold off developers by coming up with a viable use for the unique warehouse which extends over Grand Union Canal in Commerce Road. ...

  • Caldon Canal: full reopening by Easter? boatingbusiness.com

    Bw anticipates the repair will cost between £250,000 and £500,000 and they advise: ‘Exact timescales for the repair will not be known until surveys have been completed, but it’s hoped the canal can be fully reopened in time for the main boating season which starts at Easter.’ ...

  • New bridge for Northampton northamptonchron.co.uk

    Plans to build a 282ft footbridge across both the River Nene and the Grand Union Canal in Northampton look likely to go ahead, despite police concerns. Developers hope to build a metal bridge stretching from Banbury Lane in West Hunsbury to the Upton Country Park. ...

  • Woman and baby rescued from River Thames yourlocalguardian.co.uk

    A woman and her six-month-old baby have been rescued from a stranded boat. A 30ft wooden cruiser boat lost power while travelling down the River Thames and became stuck in Teddington Weir, in the early hours of Monday morning. ...

Monday 14 December

Today's news from the web

  • Future of Purton Hulks debated in Westminster waterscape.com

    The Friends of Purton were celebrating on Wednesday (9 December) following a recently televised adjournment debate between Stroud MP David Drew and the Culture Secretary Margaret Hodge, in order to secure a real future for Gloucestershire's Purton Hulks. ...

  • Possible tours of collapsed canal news.bbc.co.uk

    Tours of a breach in a Staffordshire canal could soon start. ...

Friday 11 December

Today's news from the web

Thursday 10 December

Today's news from the web

  • Walkers in Devizes get a link to locks gazetteandherald.co.uk

    Walkers can now travel in and out of Rowde safely thanks to a new footpath. The 800-metre path links Marsh Lane to the Caen Hill flight of locks at the Kennet and Avon Canal and to the busy A361 dual carriageway. ...

  • Warning over canal towpath robbery gang islingtongazette.co.uk

    A GANG of knife-wielding teenagers is lying in wait on the Regent's Canal towpath to rob unsuspecting passers-by. ...

  • New Long Horse Bridge as anglers told to sell land thisisderbyshire.co.uk

    A BRIDGE demolished six years ago will be replaced after a planning inspector ruled that the land needed for the development could be bought by the council. ...

Wednesday 9 December

Today's news from the web

  • Crime-busting project on the River Thames visitthames.co.uk

    Surrey Police have officially launched ‘Project Kraken’, a national initiative designed to raise awareness among river communities about the threat of terrorism and other criminal activity on rivers in the county. ...

Monday 7 December

British Waterways property - not quite a decision

News from the Government has been trickling out all morning, and finally, we have a decision on British Waterways - well, almost.

"The Government recognises that there may be benefits in considering alternative structures for BW’s business as a whole, including its property portfolio. We will therefore consider alternative models for the business as a whole, such as mutual or third sector structures. As part of any such future structure for BW, therefore, there may be opportunities for the private sector to invest in the portfolio."

So: no property sell-off yet - but the prospect of a partial one in the future, or more emphasis on "joint ventures", perhaps. "Opportunities for the private sector to invest" is awfully vague, but sounds very much like the sort of thing BW has been doing for several years with ventures such as Isis, H2O Urban, and so on.

The statement goes on to say:

"Under any scenario, ensuring the continued maintenance and protection of the waterways will continue to be an important objective for the Government."

...which is a bit 'motherhood and apple pie', but is at least a promise that can be held up in the future.

Equally interesting is that this is the first official endorsement of BW's '2020' strategy, which envisages becoing a trust or other 'third sector' organisation. More details are expected in a forthcoming Government paper called Waterways for Everyone.

You can read the Government document here. The BW bit starts on page 5.

Separately, Gordon Brown criticised public sector bodies who pay their staff more than £200,000 - which, of course, famously includes British Waterways, whose accounts show chief executive Robin Evans receiving significantly more. "It cannot be right," he said, and promised new curbs. (Original speech here - it's about three-quarters of the way down.)

Update: British Waterways itself is saying the Government 'decision' backs its approach. "The new approach... confirms and builds on the conclusions of a previous Treasury report in April 2009 which concluded there was no financial or economic case to sell off the property assets and a sale of the property endowment would not achieve best public value." Tony Hales, BW's chairman, says: "We are pleased that the Government wishes to explore with us the benefits of a third sector approach to the waterways." (BW press release.)

Richard Fairhurst  | 11.01am | add a comment

Friday 4 December

British Waterways decision - first details?

The Guardian is reporting that the Government's grand sell-off, expected on Monday, will declare that British Waterways will become "a mutual".

At first glance this appears to be early approval for a scheme such as BW's '2020 Vision', which would see greater involvement of supporters and volunteers in the running of BW.

But there is no word as yet as to whether BW's investment property will be retained, or whether this is to be sold in advance. Around £16bn of Government assets are to be sold. The petition against the rumoured sell-off has now exceeded 17,000 signatures and is expected to become the 10th most popular petition on the Downing Street site imminently.

An interesting parallel is provided by the Ordnance Survey - another public service company which, like BW, has long been criticised by its customers for its aggressive commercial behaviour. The Government announced last month that medium-scale OS map data (of the sort you see on a paper map) would become free of copyright, which users have long been requesting. But the lucrative part, the detailed survey data used by utility companies and planning departments, remains commercial - and will form part of the privatisation announced on Monday. Which way will BW fall?

(Link to the Guardian report.)

Richard Fairhurst  | 8.38pm | add a comment

Thursday 3 December

Today's news from the web

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