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Increasing sustainability on the waterways

Sustainable boating

We want boating on canals and rivers to be more sustainable and – even though the current overall contribution to UK carbon emissions is very small – we want to help reduce emissions on the waterways.

Inland waterways can themselves help the country to be more sustainable by providing an alternative for freight traffic and generating hydro-electricity from weirs.

We’re calling for:

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Charging points

Would reduce emissions from stoves for heating and engines run for charging batteries – as well as help the move towards more boats with electric propulsion


Whole network

A national dredging programme on the inland waterways would make propulsion more efficient – improving water quality and increasing capacity for flood waters


Biofuels & alternatives

As existing boats and engines can have lives of over 50 years, many will remain diesel-powered until well after 2050 so research into the production, use and distribution of biofuel is required to significantly reduce the environmental impact of existing diesel engines.

Research into alternative forms of propulsion would allow them to be developed and trialled in new build boats. This includes hydrogen production and distribution, hydrogen and solid oxide fuel cells and the use of supercapacitors.


IWA Vision for Sustainable Propulsion

Authored by IWA’s Sustainable Propulsion sub-committee, this report brings to life IWA’s vision for more environmentally friendly waterways



Download your free Greener Boating Guide

Want to make your boating more sustainable, but don’t know where to start? Download our Guide to Greener Boating – includes the latest on biofuels.

Greener boating news

Campaign updates

Waterways heritage

Our waterways heritage is what makes Britain’s canals and rivers special and it must be actively protected – through the local planning system and sufficient funding – for the future.

Waterway underfunding

Hundreds of miles of waterways – along with their unique heritage and habitats – are currently starved of funding and rely on constant lobbying by us to safeguard their future.

Waterway restoration

Restoring the UK’s blue infrastructure – our inherited network of navigable canals and rivers – is good for people and places.

Waterway businesses

The government needs to intervene at the earliest possible opportunity to save this vital sector of the British economy and what could be a core element of the British stay-at-home leisure and holiday sectors in the coming years.

Waterways affected by HS2

We’re campaigning to protect canals and rivers from the damaging effects of HS2, especially where the tranquillity of the waterways is under threat.