Select Committee on Environment, Transport and Regional Affairs Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence

Memorandum by the Inland Waterways Association (P 26)


  The Inland Waterways Association (IWA) is a registered charity, founded 1946 and campaigns for the conservation, use, maintenance, restoration and development of the inland waterways. It has about 17,000 members whose interests include boating, towpath walking, industrial archaeology, nature conservation and many other activities associated with canals and navigable rivers. The Inland Waterways Association is also concerned to promote the use of inland waterways for their original purpose, the carriage of freight. This response is submitted on behalf of the Association's Council and committee members and concentrates on issues that were specified in the inquiry notice dated 14 December 2000.

  All ports, not just the major ports are vital to the UK economy. Those ports located on inland waterways have an important role to play.

  Whilst competition between ports is inevitable and should be encouraged, better co-operation especially between ports situated on the same waterway, or estuary leading to the waterway, could have increased benefits for the environment. The maximum inland penetration of cargoes should be encouraged. Working together such ports can be invaluable to the Government's Integrated Transport Strategy.

  The safety of operations and the training of employees within all areas of a port is a most important aspect of safety. The industry should co-operate fully so as to provide first class training at the most economical costs.

  The rail and waterway system transport links to ports should be maintained and their use encouraged. Consideration should be given to expansion of such links where possible and no existing rail or waterway links should be eroded.

  The involvement of the Regional Development Agencies in planning guidance should be to encourage the use of waterways and to protect cargo-handling wharves together with potential sites for modal interchange of cargo.

  The historic heritage should be preserved wherever possible and uses found for the most important buildings or structures within a port, unless that area is of strategic importance to the future operation of the port.

  Recreation, whether sport or informal, should be allowed in such areas as it can be accommodated without hindrance to the port operation. Where appropriate, the passage of pleasure craft should be catered for within the ports operation policy.

  The extension of Freight Facility Grants to Ports must be carefully drafted and administered in order that coastal ports do not take cargoes which could otherwise travel further inland by waterway. Otherwise this could increase the lorry miles in that locality.

  The classification of Trans European Network ports that are situated upon a waterway with an inland classification should give that waterway Trans European Network status as well.

  The Inland Waterways Association welcomes the Government's announcement that it well set up an inland waterways freight study group and will be pleased to support and assist this study group to the best of its ability, through the Association's Inland Shipping Group.

  A copy of the Association's "UK Freight Waterways—A Blueprint for the Future", published in 1996, is attached for the committee's reference.

Neil Edwards

Executive Director

January 2001

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