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

Memorandum by the British Section of the International Navigation Association (PIANC) (IW 45)


  The British Section of the International Navigation Association (PIANC) welcomes the Government initiative in examining the potential for development of our inland waterways.

  PIANC is a non-political, non-aligned organisation which draws upon the very extensive experience of its members in the economics of development, maintenance and operation of waterways and ports and in the effects of the implementation of policies of different national governments and regulatory authorities. It is the only such organisation that embraces both inland and maritime navigation and so is in a unique position to consider conditions in the less well-defined but nevertheless significant waterways between. The Maritime Board of the Institution of Civil Engineers looks to PIANC for the formulation of advice on waterborne transport issues.

  We note that the inquiry is directed towards the potential for inland waterways. While most of the canal network has no direct connection with the coast, some of our most commercially active canals depend on coastal trade. Future development here is thus intimately connected with coastal and short-sea shipping, requiring the formulation of waterway policies based on consideration of the whole network for waterborne transport, linking canals, non-tidal rivers, tidal rivers, estuaries, coastal and deep-sea zones. This is an area of growth in Europe and is currently making a useful contribution to the development of integrated transport there. In the United Kingdom there is also considerable scope for the enlightened development of existing waterborne transport utilising inland penetration afforded by our well-indented coastline.

  PIANC Working Groups have gathered data and information about the best international working practices in many of the areas of interest discussed in Waterways for Tomorrow and in the Integrated Transport White Paper. One way in which the British Section can help the Inquiry is by keeping its members informed about it—as, indeed, has been done already—and by providing experts who can address any topics covered. Another is by participating in the inland waterways freight studies group which, we are glad to note (6.68 in Waterways for Tomorrow), is to be formed. We do need a forum where all freight carriers can present their experience and requirements.

  Finally, the British Section of PIANC proposes to facilitate discussion by convening a meeting in the spring of 2001, by which time the DETR daughter document on small ports will have been produced. This meeting is being planned jointly with the Maritime Board of the Institution of Civil Engineers.

D M McDowell, Chairman

September 2000

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