Memorandum by Inland Waterways Amenity
Advisory Council (IWAAC) (PPG 20)
The draft PPG17 does not offer the planning
and development framework for the recreational use of inland waterways
promised in the Government's June 2000 report Waterways for
Tomorrow and requires revision to help waterways to develop
their full recreational potential.
IWAAC's remit and membership
1. The Council welcomes this opportunity
to submit evidence to the Sub-Committee.
2. IWAAC is the statutory body (set up under
the Transport Act 1968) to advise British Waterways (BW) and the
Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
(and in Scotland the Scottish Executive) on matters affecting
the use of the Board's 3,200 km of waterways for amenity and recreation.
Council Members are appointed by the Secretary of State for their
individual experience and expertise rather than as representatives
of particular bodies or interests. BW is responsible for funding
the Council's work from its annual grant in aid.
3. In recent years the Council's scope has
been widened by Ministerial request to include issues affecting
non-BW waterways. The Council's work is now focused on the development
of strategic policy for the waterways, with emphasis on leisure
and tourism, widening the customer base, heritage and environment,
and the waterways in their wider context.
4. IWAAC has good working relationships
with the Environment Agency as a navigation authority and as guardian
of the water environment (with a national duty to promote waterway
recreation and access). The Council also advises the Association
of Inland Navigation Authorities (AINA), the umbrella body for
waterway authorities, set up with the support of the Government.
5. Recreation, leisure and tourism are now
the prime activities across the whole of the historic inland waterway
system. It has, of course, other important functionsas
a heritage and environmental resource, as (in some parts) a freight
and water supply system, as a focus for rural and urban regeneration
and as a component of land drainagebut for at least the
last 30 years its primary function has been as a recreation resource.
6. As such it offers a range of recreational
opportunitieswater-based and land-basedincluding
recreation boat cruising (personal boats, hire boats and hotel
boats), angling, cycling, canoeing, walking the towpath, and visiting
the wildlife and built heritage features of individual waterways,
which are accessible to, and are used and enjoyed by, millions.
7. Because they impact on such a wide range
of policy areas, the Council has argued for the production by
Government of a separate PPG for waterways. The Government produced
in June 2000 its comprehensive report Waterways for Tomorrow
which, inter alia, responded to earlier reports and recommendations
made by the Council. The case for a separate PPG was not accepted
but the Government did set out the coverage of waterways in extant
PPGs and undertook to ensure that the role of inland waterways
was promoted and enhanced as individual PPGs are revised and updated.
8. Against this background, the Council
was disappointed with the PPG 17 consultation document published
earlier this year. In its response to Government, the Council
the failure even to mention the word
"water" in the opening chapter let alone the facilities
and opportunities for recreation on canals, navigable rivers and
lakes and the areas adjoining them. Also, waterspace whether navigable
or not, is very valuable open space, especially in urban areas
and must be protected and enhanced in its own right.
the limited references in the document
to water-related recreation in general, and the even sparser references
to waterway-related recreation in particular. Only on page 25
is there a cursory reference to Waterways for Tomorrow. The
formal and informal recreation role of waterways should be clearly
recognised as an important contribution to good quality of life
for both locals and tourists as well as their contribution to
national policy objectives of social inclusion, sustainability,
biodiversity, rural diversification and urban regeneration. Where
the latter are concerned, visits are significant and often undervalued
contributors to the local economy.
the lack of reference in Chapter
2 on the Planning Framework to the need to ensure that adequate
land and water resources are allocated in plans at both
the regional and local level;
the failure to mention in Annex 1
Useful Publications any document specifically concerned
with water-based recreation, not even Waterways for Tomorrow;
the failure to mention in Annex 2
Useful Addresses, British Waterways who manage one of the
country's largest and most important water recreation resources,
any organisation specifically concerned with angling, only one
boating organisation (the Royal Yachting Association), and any
national activity such as bird watching or rambling.
9. The Council concluded that the PPG17
consultation document failed to give the appropriate level of
planning guidance on inland waterways which was promised by Government
in Waterways for Tomorrow.
10. There was no recognition of the need
for Local Planning Authorities to maintain and encourage the enjoyment
of waterspace or to protect and develop the infrastructure which
sustains waterways as recreational assets. Without marinas, boat
yards, moorings, shipways, there is no access or facilities for
those wishing to use our inland waterways.
11. The Council seeks a revision of the
draft PPG 17 which will give due weight, in planning terms, to
the existence of the inland waterways as a recreational resource,
to the opportunities they offer for greater recreational use and
to their potential to contribute to a wide range of national policies.