Memorandum by The Inland Waterways Association
THE GOVERNMENT'S WHITE PAPER ON THE FUTURE
The Inland Waterways Association welcomes the
opportunity to make a response to the proposals contained in the
White Paper. The Association is a registered charity, founded
in 1946 and campaigns for the conservation, use, maintenance,
restoration and development of the inland waterways. It has over
18,000 members whose interests include boating, towpath walking,
industrial archaeology, nature conservation and many other activities
associated with the inland waterways.
IWA has made comments to the Government in respect
of water based transport and its role in an integrated transport
network in our response of 13 November 1997 to Claire Spink regarding
the DETR's "Developing an integrated transport policy"
(copy attached). These comments are still pertinent, however those
set out below refer specifically to the White Paper.
After many years of the "predict and provide"
approach to transport provision, the White Paper provides a welcome
acceptance of the need for change. The White Paper in itself heralds
a whole new change of climate and while such change can be expected
to take place only slowly, it is hoped that it will be a permanent
While there may be problems of finding parliamentary
time for possible legislative change it is vital to set in motion
the policies embodied in the White Paper itself. There is a considerable
time lag between the inception and commissioning of any substantial
waterway project so that lack of parliamentary time is of less
immediate significance than maintaining the momentum in the policies
proposed. Much initially is concerned with changing attitudes
rather than laws.
The White Paper appears to be dominated by strategies
to deal with passenger transport and it is imperative that the
transfer of freight from road to other modes is given equal status.
While LGVs may be only a small proportion of road vehicles the
Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution provided ample evidence
that they cause a disproportionate share of environmental damage.
For the Government to give priority to the movement of people
would be to negate the very concept of an integrated policy which
in essence is concerned with harmonisation of all types of transport.
The section of the White Paper dealing specifically
with inland waterways transport is 3.183 to 3.188 and we are in
general agreement with the proposals. However, there are other
sections of the White Paper which have a possible bearing on waterways
and where we feel that the role of inland shipping could be made
more explicit and for which some elaboration is desirable.
1.7 Cost of congestionfreight transport
by water can help to reduce road congestion and can be
a reliable component in just-in-time delivery.
1.10 Lorry traffic forecastsfreight transferred
to rail or water would reduce the rate of road transport growth.
1.20 The challenge of sustainable transportwater
transport is demonstrably the most effective mode in terms of
its use of finite resources, and the least damaging in environmental
1.22 Quality of lifewater transport is
the only mode which can be developed to actually enhance the environment.
Properly planned it can be associated with recreation and amenity
development, waterside parks and habitats, improved drainage,
flood control, water transfer and supplyand is unique among
mode in being able to do this. In association with proper land-use
planning directives to prevent excessive road transport use in
sensitive areas, water transport development can be an element
in environmental improvement. Safeguarding of wharves must be
an integral part of such planning.
1.26 Local transport plans invariably give priority
to the movement of people and must place greater emphasis on strategies
to deal with freight movement.
1.42, 2.15, 2.20 Covered under the other headings.
2.35 Could, and should, be applied to freight.
2.69 The environmentally friendly character
of water transport needs highlighting.
3.41 We wait until this point in the White Paper
to get our first specific mention of water transport and then
without elaboration on its possible role in integrated freight
3.170-3.177 Quality partnershipsthis
appears to be almost entirely concerned with the road haulage
industry. Quality partnerships should be considered for all modes
and there is certainly scope for this in the development of the
waterways. The only positive aspect is the proposed national lorry
networka suggestion made by the ISG in its response to
the Green Paper.
3.179-3.182 (and 3.209) Deals with the shipping
industry but fails to mention the onward movement from ports by
modes other than road. Even in the following paragraph on inland
waterways there is no mention of their possible role in thissurprisingly
at a time when barge-carrier systems have been given a new lease
of life (Immingham-Goole). Could it be that the lack of mention
of this form of integrated onward movement from ports reflects
the lack of integration within the DETR of the international,
coastal and inland components of shipping? Is 3.209, bullet point
two, as far as they go can go in this respect?
3.213 For a White Paper on integrated
transport not to include the waterways link which exists with
Europe (by river-sea ships and barge-carrying vessels) is a serious
omission. The Government should be pressing the EU for a revision
of regulations to allow for the inclusion of UK waterways in TENs
and thereby making available EU financial assistance for waterways
4.3 The Inland Shipping Group (ISG) sees advantages
in the Integrated DETR and hopes that this will result in more
effective land-use planning at all levels. However, this still
does not address the problem of divided responsibility in relation
to water transport as a whole, hence ISG's suggestion that there
should be a unit within the DETR able to coordinate policy with
respect to waterways within the broader framework of shipping.
4.156-4.157 The Group has always maintained
that a coherent land-use planning policy in relation to transport
is an essential prerequisite to ensure transfer of freight from
roads to other modes.
4.165 We welcome this.
4.169 A welcome policy but it is necessary to
ensure that when local planning authorities are producing strategic
plans they give the fullest consideration to each component, not
allowing any single area (e.g., housing) to dominate their thinking.
4.170 Welcome stepagrees with our response
to Green Paper but may need to be backed by direction and regulation.
4.171-4.175 While better guidelines and an improved
spirit of co-operation between the development industry, local
authorities and planning bodies would be welcome we feel that
these policies may become diluted and integration made more difficult
by the newly evolving structure of regional government.
No mention of the Royal Commission on Environmental
Pollution recommended targets for water freightthese should
be accepted and worked towards.
With regard to the specific recommendations
for water transport contained in the White Paper we doubt that
an effective machinery is yet in place to ensure that they are
anything but fine words.
In putting forward our seven broad proposals
(see Panel 1, below) for moving on from the White Paper we hope
that the ISG could be more fully involved in the policy making
processour inclusion in the Shipping Working Group would,
we feel, have provided a valuable way of ensuring that inland
shipping is fully integrated into coastal and international shipping
as a part of a wider integrated transport policy.
PANEL 1: SEVEN
In order for the new "Commission
for Integrated Transport" to have a balanced view there must
be a section within the DETR that co-ordinates policies for the
development of traffic on inland and coastal waterways and short
Track Access Grants, now for railways
only, must be extended to inland waterways.
There needs to be a national register
of waterside sites, which have existing or potential use for handling
freight or for the location of waterway using industries, similar
to the 1996 scheme for safeguarding of 30+ wharves on the River
A programme must be prepared for
the improvement of selected existing waterways, and for examining
the potential for new developments which maximise modal integration.
Linked by River-Sea shipping with
mainland waterways, selected UK waterways must be included as
a part of the Trans-European Network Programme.
When promoting the transfer of freight
from roads, the water transport option must always be made explicit.
For the White Paper to have any
reasonable impact, the Government must implement at least the
targets for waterborne freight set by the Royal Commission on
Environmental Pollution (1994)from 25 per cent to 30 per
cent of tonnes/kms movedby the year 2010.
23 September 1998