6 March 2023

IWA is deeply concerned about the threat to our waterways posed by funding cuts, with for example Canal & River Trust and Scottish Canals financial situations being especially critical. Despite being recognised in the government’s Environmental Improvement Plan, the condition of the waterways continues to deteriorate while government funding is decreasing.

Canals and rivers are valuable assets which can contribute to the country’s economic recovery, help to mitigate the impacts of climate change and enrich the lives of local communities, as highlighted in our #WaterwaysforToday report. Ongoing funding is therefore critical if we are to not only save the waterways for today, but for the future too.

History tells us that without boats travelling along them, waterways silt up and become dirty rubbish tips. Without proper maintenance reservoirs, aqueducts, and embankments deteriorate, resulting in communities being put at increasing risk of water damage from a failing infrastructure. The added threat of climate change will only worsen the situation as severe flooding and breaches become more commonplace. 

IWA is calling on national and local government to fund all waterways at a level that keeps them as major assets that can continue to contribute to the economy, peoples’ health and wellbeing, and coping with the climate crisis.

IWA will:

  • Raise awareness of the threat through national, local, and social media
  • Petition to protect our waterways from the risks funding cuts will create
  • Ensure Members of Parliament and local politicians are fully aware of the benefits of the waterways and the threats to them
  • Arrange high profile events and activities including waterways festivals and towpath stalls
  • Be ready to work with government to offer knowledge and expertise and solutions to improve and maintain our waterways both now and in the future
  • Collaborate with communities and organisations that share our passion for the waterways to widen support for the #ProtectOurWaterways campaign
  • Continue to provide practical assistance in the maintenance and improvement of waterways

The waterways of today would not exist without IWA who, over many years, ensured that they were saved and enhanced. Millions of hours of volunteer time and effort along with lottery funding have been invested in revitalising the waterway network. IWA will not let that network fall into disrepair again.

Our waterways benefit millions of people in the country, and it is essential that government continues to invest in them to ensure that these benefits can be maintained and increased.

To join the campaign and help to #ProtectOurWaterways, visit our campaign page here or contact [email protected]