Tuesday, May 28, 2024
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Fund Britain’s Waterways takes message to Westminster

The call to safeguard Britain’s inland waterways has been taken to the Palace of Westminster.

A 20-strong flotilla delivered the message to Government calling for funding to protect the future of the country’s inland waterways.

The flotilla included a mix of commercial freight vessels, sea kayaks and 17 privately owned narrowboats, some of which had travelled more than 350 miles battling severe weather and failing canal infrastructure.

The flotilla was a culmination of Fund Britain’s Waterways’ May Bank Holiday Weekend of Action, with events being held across the country to highlight the impact of insufficient funding on rivers and canals.

“It has been fantastic to have boats travel from across the country to gather outside the Palace of Westminster,” said Les Etheridge, Fund Britain’s Waterways chair.

“Supporting inland waterways is vital in continuing to enable people of all ages and backgrounds to enjoy and connect with their local stretch of water.

“Britain’s inland waterways play an integral role in millions of people’s leisure and well-being.

Mel Hide, RYA director of external affairs

“Our waterways are a bustling network that links communities, provides employment and leisure opportunities, which are underpinned by the network’s unique heritage. They also play a valuable role in water and flood risk management and provide a haven for wildlife.”

Fund Britain’s Waterways is a coalition of organisations representing hundreds of thousands of users and supporters of inland waterways campaigning to safeguard the future of Britain’s 5,000-mile network of canals and rivers.

The campaign calls for recognition of the importance of Britain’s inland waterways for their environmental, leisure, heritage, and commercial freight value.

Mel Hide, RYA director of external affairs, explained: “Britain’s inland waterways play an integral role in millions of people’s leisure and well-being. Without support and funding this national asset will undoubtedly fall into decline.

“The campaign cruise at Westminster highlights the community spirit and passion waterways inspire in people of all ages and raises awareness of why safeguarding our blue spaces for future generations to enjoy is vital.”

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