Select Committee on Transport, Local Government and the Regions Memoranda

Memorandum by The Association of Inland Navigation Authorities (PPG 15)


  1.  The Association of Inland Navigation Authorities (AINA) was created in 1996, with strong encouragement from Government, to represent the inland navigation authorities of the United Kingdom. The broad purpose of AINA is to facilitate the management, maintenance and development of the inland waterways for navigation as an economic, environmental, recreational and social resource. Between them, AINA members own, operate and manage some 5,000 km of waterway; representing almost a complete UK coverage.

  2.  In its short existence, AINA has established a high degree of credibility by providing, for the first time ever, a single voice on waterway management issues. This credibility has been underlined by the endorsement given to the Association by Government in its policy paper, Waterways for Tomorrow.

  3.  In June 2001 AINA provided a written response to the consultation on the revision of PPG17. The essence of the Association's response was that the draft contained insufficient recognition of the real and potential contribution of water space to sport and recreation.

  4.  AINA is pleased to offer this memorandum within the context of the Sub-Committee's request.

The contribution of the revised PPG to strategic planning for sport, open space and recreation

  5.  The guidance does not offer the planning and development framework necessary for the sporting or recreational use of inland waterways, or indeed, lakes, reservoirs or other enclosed areas of water space. Aside from isolated references to water the guidance does not recognise adequately that inland waterways, and natural water spaces generally, are a considerable and very important component of both rural and urban open space.

  6.  AINA is concerned by the limited expression of opportunities in the draft guidance for sport and recreation provided by water. The guidance should give reference to, and take account of, the full range of formal and informal sport and recreational activities that inland waterways and other water bodies can accommodate.

  7.  The guidance is not sufficiently joined up with Government policy with regard to inland waterways. The Government policy document, Waterways for Tomorrow gets only a cursory mention and the cross-referencing between the draft guidance and the policy document is ambiguous.

The contribution of the PPG to the provision of high quality new open space and sports opportunities

  8.  Again, for the guidance to be most effective, proper reference to existing and potential water-space activities is essential. Notwithstanding this, there is also a need for the guidance to consider carefully the issue of access to open space for sport and recreation. For example, in the case of inland waterways, access for recreation is a very important contributor to the local economy.

  9.  Similarly, the guidance should acknowledge the vital need to protect and develop the infrastructure which sustains open spaces as recreational assets. In the case of inland waterways for example, without marinas, boatyards, moorings, slipways etc there is no access or facilities for those wishing to use the water space. It is imperative that Local Planning Authorities recognise the need for waterway infrastructure to maintain and encourage the enjoyment of water space.

The extent to which the revised PPG is successful in addressing the newly included subject of open space and reconciling it with sport and recreation

  10.  Without significantly greater recognition given to water, AINA believes that the draft guidance will achieve only limited success in reconciling open space with sport and recreation. For a bigger impact and considerably more positive results for the living environment and urban and rural regeneration, the definition of "open space" must be addressed such that it includes proper reference to water.

The extent to which the revised PPG's treatment of open space will contribute to the urban renaissance, the protection and improvement of open space and improved living environments

  11.  It is widely appreciated that a run down environment not only adversely affects people's quality of life but also diminishes the prospect of inward investment. AINA believes that the argument that environmental quality, economic advancement and social well being are linked is a very strong one.

  12.  The planning guidance should recognise that inland waterways can provide the focus for imaginative new development proposals, and a stimulus to turn otherwise uneconomic sites into viable propositions, assisting both urban and rural regeneration. Inland waterways enhance the quality of people's lives through their amenity value, aesthetic nature and as open spaces for relaxation. In this context, AINA believes that the Sub-Committee, in its Inquiry, should cross-reference to the Inquiry into the Potential of Inland Waterways, conducted by the Environment, Transport and Regional Affairs Committee, published in March 2001.

September 2001

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