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Two new waterways to boost regional economies

New waterways add value

A new wetland corridor, linking Boston in Lincolnshire and Peterborough in Cambridgeshire and a series of waterways parks linking Milton Keynes  with Bedford, will include water channels, pathways and green space designed to meet the needs of all who enjoy rambling, walking, cycling, fishing, horse riding and those who simply like to chill out next to the water.  

The advantages of the proposed waterways far exceed leisure boating alone. They incorporate a nature reserve, footpaths and cycle ways, the potential to improve flora and fauna and will contribute to the health and wellbeing of locals and visitors.  Together these waterways will add 28 miles of new navigation to our national network and deliver untold value to the areas they pass through.  When opened they will bridge the gap for wide-beam boats between England’s northern and southern waterways.  Both waterways will form essential parts of their local infrastructures. 

A new Wetland Corridor

Boston in Lincolnshire and Peterborough in Cambridgeshire are only 30 miles apart as the crow flies – and yet currently to travel between the two, boaters have to brave a challenging Wash crossing or take an arduous 250 mile, 135 lock, 15 day trip along the River Witham, Fossdyke Canal, River Trent, Grand Union Canal and River Nene.  Using largely existing waterways and public access footpaths, the Boston to Peterborough Wetland Corridor partnership has identified that the addition of approximately 12 miles of new channel will connect with 50 miles of current waterways to create a significant new wetland corridor.

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Bedford & Milton Keynes Link

This proposed new twenty-mile broad waterway is planned to connect the Great Ouse at Bedford to the Grand Union Canal at Milton Keynes.  The canal is being promoted as the core of a linear water park for all users and studies have shown that the new waterway could provide great social, economic and environmental benefits across the region, attracting up to 750,000 visitors, creating up to 900 permanent jobs, 2900 person-years of temporary, construction jobs and bringing in an extra £26 million into the local economy each year.  The project has been led by a consortium of local councils and other agencies, including IWA, since 2010.

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Ask your MP to join our Group

There are many concerns facing our waterways currently and we ask all Members of Parliament to support the work of IWA in protecting the route of our new proposed waterways. New waterways can act as a catalyst for a much wider regeneration of their surrounding areas and protecting our waterways heritage through our local planning systems ensures our surroundings remain special.  

Ask your MP to join the All Party Parliamentary Group for the Waterways.

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