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The future of canal management and charities - Kennet and Avon Canal bias

The Kennet and Avon at Caen HillThe Canal network in this country - or most of it - came into Government ownership several generations ago. In those days, the canals were used for the carriage of goods, but were something of a failling industry; whilst a necessary part of the nation's infrastructure, they were a financial burden to their owners - mostly the railway companies - who were themselves in quite deep water after the ravages of the second world war. So government ownership was probably the correct, logical, best thing for them.

Today, many canals carry more boats in a weekend that they did in a whole year when they were nationalised. But that traffic's not the heavy goods traffic of 60 years ago - it's the leisure and tourist traffic that brings people to the countryside. Is it correct and logical for the canals still to be in the ownership of the government, and run by a quango / controlled body, in the form of the British Waterways Board? This is a question that has exercised the current government, and they have decided to place the waterway network and its operation into the volunray sector. There is currently a consultation exercise going on - closing date 30th June 2011 - papers at http://www.defra.gov.uk/consult/2011/03/30/waterways-1103/. The consultation summary states:

"This consultation seeks views on how, in future, the inland waterways in England & Wales that are currently managed on behalf of the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, will be run. It sets out the rationale for moving these waterways out of the public sector and into a new civil society organisation, and the principles which will guide the Government in deciding on the way forward.

The creation of a New Waterways Charity (NWC) will give waterways users, and their local communities, a greater involvement in how the waterways are managed. The proposal will also help the waterways to be more financially sustainable, as the new charity will have access to new sources of commercial and private income, and fundraising, including legacies and donations. It will create the opportunity to grow a strong base of volunteers who can help maintain a range of waterways assets, through their knowledge, expertise, passion and commitment.

Now - I've been an ordinary member of the Inland WaterWays Association and the Kennet and Avon Canal Trust for many years - they're both charities themselves, and both have done impressive work. Without the IWA, waterway holidays would probably never have come about and we would cetrainly not have the rich network that still exists and is heavily used. And without the K&A Trust, the canal that passes near Melksham on its way from Bristol to London via Bath and Reading would have seen its last boat in 1950. But organisations such as these - and there are many more around the country - are placed in something of a dilemma. If the Waterways operation becomes a charity, it will cause confusion as to which charity does what, and their newsletters already speak of them finding competition for funding from sources which previously weren't tapped by the Waterways Boad, but could be tapped by a new charity set up by the government.

What should organisations like the K&A Trust do? Should they roll themselves into the new charity? Should they carry on as they are? Should they restrict themselves in future to the things that the new charity clearly won't do, such as running trip boats, and leave things like helping with restoration and maintainaince and improving signage and footpaths to the new goverment-endorsed charity? They would like your views if you're a member - see http://www.katrust.co.uk/index.html with a link to the survey [here] ... and there are meetings on 12th, 16th and 17th to explain and discuss the options too if you would like to learn more.

(written 2011-05-08)

 
Associated topics are indexed as below, or enter http://melksh.am/nnnn for individual articles
Z301 - Current Affairs
  [4691] Real life PHP application using our course training MVC example - (2016-06-05)
  [4637] People matter - but there is a tradeoff between different people in there - (2016-02-01)
  [4599] Happy Christmas - and a Christmas thought - (2015-12-24)
  [4429] Wind Turbines - beauty or menace? - (2015-02-17)
  [3720] Melksham ATC - freedom of the town - (2012-05-05)
  [3646] Exploring Melksham with a film maker - (2012-03-09)
  [3467] Charities v Charitable. The cost of collecting your donation. - (2011-10-06)
  [3385] Do university courses teach the right things for life at work later on? - (2011-08-10)
  [3357] Business, priorities, and volunteering - (2011-07-14)
  [3347] The Anthony trial - Orange County, Florida. Thoughts on conclusion - (2011-07-06)
  [3265] Alternative Vote (AV) - cutting the crap - (2011-04-25)
  [3231] Footpath, Bridleway, Byway, Road used as Public Path - (2011-04-04)
  [3228] What can you take on a public footpath? Pram? Wheelbarrow? Dog? Shopping Trolley? Horse? Cycle? - (2011-04-03)
  [3183] Redevelopment on the banks of the Avon in Melksham - (2011-02-25)
  [3126] Car Parking in Melksham - thoughts on the proposed scheme, and wider thoughts too - (2011-01-09)
  [3030] Liquorice allsorts and Dolly Mixtures - (2010-11-05)
  [3028] VAT rise in January - it is really up 14% not just 2.5% - (2010-11-03)
  [2995] A river in Melksham is not just for boaters. - (2010-10-11)
  [2982] Travel, Transport and Tourism - A vision for Melksham, 2026 - (2010-10-03)
  [2904] Melksham Area Board meeting of last week - (2010-08-04)
  [2852] Atworth Village Fete - on the Melksham Community Area Partnership stand - (2010-07-04)
  [2776] Regional Spatial Strategy and the next 20 years - Whence Wiltshire under the new government? - (2010-05-22)
  [2666] Random thoughts on Melksham Town Planning and development - (2010-03-08)
  [2602] East of Melksham - Building Work Starts - (2010-01-28)
  [2574] Summary of Wiltshire Core Strategy responses - (2010-01-13)
  [2514] The road show has been - where now? - (2009-11-27)
  [2508] Community Area Partnership - inaugural AGM - (2009-11-20)
  [2289] pre-Inaugural briefing - Melksham Community Area Partnership - (2009-07-15)
  [2128] Wiltshire - where everybody matters - (2009-04-13)
  [2112] Whatever next ... the joys of being an employer - (2009-04-01)
  [1987] One Cheer for Local Democracy - Asda in Melksham - (2009-01-11)
  [1960] Christmas Survivors - (2008-12-25)
  [1275] Incident in Melksham - (2007-07-24)
  [1214] New Serieses for the summer on TV - (2007-06-02)
  [614] News in Ireland - (2006-02-20)
  [377] A Strengthened City - (2005-07-14)
  [33] 10 Years of experience - (2004-08-30)

Z521 - Navigable waterways - Canals, Rivers and Sea
  [4577] An update - Melksham Link Canal and river - (2015-11-14)
  [4472] Rosslare to Fishguard - foot passenger on the ferry - (2015-04-24)
  [3998] Travelogue - from the Netherlands to London via Hook and Harwich - (2013-02-07)
  [3815] The Melksham News - July 2012 - Part 2, TransWilts Rail, Wilts and Berks Canal - (2012-07-23)
  [3483] Canals, watererways in the Melksham area - (2011-10-16)
  [3482] Taking a boat down Caen Hill Locks - (2011-10-15)
  [3345] Cruising - (2011-07-04)
  [3266] Easter on the Canal - near Melksham, Wiltshire - (2011-04-26)
  [3157] A new monopoly on the ferry to Northern Ireland - (2011-02-04)
  [3023] Autumn walk from Bowerhill - (2010-10-31)
  [2950] Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, turns first sod in Melksham Link Canal - (2010-09-09)
  [2807] Canal through Melksham - the options and issues - (2010-06-13)
  [2796] Sunday - waiting for the ferry. - (2010-06-06)
  [2730] Bird Watching on the Melksham Avon - (2010-04-18)
  [2588] Freddies Wood and the K and A Canal - (2010-01-17)
  [1986] Walk to Bowerhill - (2009-01-10)
  [1657] Farewell, Newcastle to Stavanger, Haugsund and Bergen - (2008-05-29)
  [820] Robert and William Whitworth - (2006-08-01)
  [793] The Wilts and Berks Canal - (2006-07-05)
  [776] Naming Rooms - (2006-06-24)
  [708] Linescapes of Mull - (2006-05-03)
  [598] Should we cruise around the world? - (2006-02-09)


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