Memorandum by the Trent Boating Association
THE POTENTIAL OF INLAND WATERWAYS
The Trent Boating Association ("TBA")
represents more than 2,500 private pleasure boat owners based
on and around the River Trent and its associated canals and waterways.
Each year many of our members extend their boating to the estuaries
and beyond. It isn't unusual for them to take their boats to the
Fens, to the Thames (EA waters), to the Norfolk Broads and beyond.
In the waterways debate the TBA's expertise and interests turn
policies and mechanisms to ensure
adequate funding for the stabilisation and development of the
inland waterways; and
the structure of ownership of waterways,
roles of responsibilities of the various agencies, etc.
In past years the TBA has held the policy of
recommending that all providers, but in particular British Waterways
("BW") and Environment Agency ("EA"), keep
within their existing bounds. This was based o the TBA's belief
that the resultant competition would be good for the boater. In
short we feared the consequences of a monopoly.
However, the performance, as navigation authorities;
between BW and EA on their respective navigations in recent years
has become so markedly different that the TBA wishes to recommend
that BW be permitted/encouraged to assume responsibility for the
whole of the UK's inland waterways navigations.
Our reasons for this recommendation are based
on our detailed knowledge of the performances in this particular
field by the two authorities. There will always be differences
between BW and the TBA; matters on which we feel BW "could
do better". However, BW's core business is the maintenance
and supervision of their waterwaysand this shows. The standard
of maintenance and of facilities provided by BW on their waterways
is so very much ahead of EA's attempts.
On matters of flood defence and environmental
matters the position is less clear. EA appear to have the lead
here in "hands on" experience but this makes their continual
failuresthe spring floods on the Fens in early 2000 for
examplemore difficult to understand. In the matter of flood
defences etc the TBA would prefer simply to give evidence and
to let others make the recommendations.
The TBA trusts that you will allow this late
and necessarily hurried submission to be put before the inquiry.
7 October 2000