Saturday, April 21, 2007

Save Our Waterways

The fight goes on, the debate in parliament goes on too! An Adjournment Debate is imminent on The Funding of British Waterways - next wednesday 24th April.

Michael Fabricant MP for Lichfield secured the debate.

© Michael Fabricant

Our current MP in Cornwall, Matthew Taylor has been active in supporting the inland waterways lobby. BJ has written to him a few times on the subject of the cuts and the "SNAMU" at DEFRA. (I have cleaned the acronym up for those of you know it or who can work it out!)

Please do write to you MP or use the web

Here is the content of BJ's email if you would like to use it as an example.

"As I am sure you know there is another Adjournment Debate on the Inland Waterways.

Michael Fabricant MP, (Member of Parliament for Lichfield]) has secured a Westminster Hall adjournment debate, due to take place from 9.30 am to 11.00 am on Wednesday 25th April on "Funding of British Waterways"

I am very grateful to you and the party for your support of the waterways campaign. Can I encourage you and your fellow MPs to attend and take part. The numbers attending the previous debates secured by Sir Peter Soulsby MP and Charlotte Atkins MP have maintained the pressure on this government. Barry Gardiner MP's answers on this topic show an almost complete ignorance of the real issues.

For example, the Rochdale Canal's reopening in recent years has been intermittent with several long-term stoppages. The funding to reopen the canal was there, but the money to prevent recurrent expensive repairs is not there. It is only a matter of time before one of these breaches
causes fatalities.

Although you do not have canals in your constituency, this does affect some of your constituents - us included. I know of several other constituents who either holiday on or own canal boats who will not risk going on the Rochdale, Huddersfield and Ashton Canals, to name just some, because of the danger of getting stranded.

The Minister states that BW has caught up on safety issues, but that is to ignore the point.Our own home canal, the Kennet and Avon, (nearest to Truro) has isolated us and all other boaters during the past months, and British Waterways had to find £300,000 to repair the weir - an
non-budgeted expense. Because the canal system is some 200 years old, many similar structures cannot but fail in the coming years, costing far more than preventative maintenance would.

I do hope you might take the opportunity to attend, and perhaps speak on our behalf."

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