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

Examination of Witnesses (Questions 320 - 322)



  320. Thank you very much. Your Ladyship, finally, how do you see the future of your organisation?
  (Viscountess Knollys) I hope that it will grow and have a wider remit. It is, I think, extremely important that there is some advisory body which is not a part of any of the organisations, and it can talk to Government, because a lot of public money is vested in waterways, and I think we are lucky enough to have some very, very expert members who give of their time, and I think that it is important there is a voice which does not have somebody breathing down its neck.

  321. So you are going to have a strategic role, when you say a wider role?
  (Viscountess Knollys) I was meaning that not perhaps just looking at British Waterways, because the Minister has kindly invited us to look at issues which are not funded or relevant totally to British Waterways already. And personally I find it rather difficult, in that the budget which comes from British Waterways, a hard-pressed budget, that money is then spent on things which are not strictly, for instance, the restoration of schemes which are nothing to do with British Waterways, we have a very large working group looking into that and producing a document; we have help from the Heritage Lottery with that publication.

  322. You are really saying that your role is slightly ambivalent at the moment, because your money comes from one source, you are looking at a wider role and you might need responsibilities way beyond what you do at the moment; in order to do that, you are going to need a different kind of funding?
  (Viscountess Knollys) Yes, which would mean, if it is not a change in the legislation, some recognition of it from the point of view of British Waterways. It is difficult, I think. I just feel that they have a very hard-pressed budget, and—

  Chairman: You are being very tactful, but I think we have got the message. Thank you very much indeed. And I hope that you are going home a more rapid way, Professor Mercer.

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