Examination of Witnesses (Questions 320
WEDNESDAY 15 NOVEMBER 2000
320. Thank you very much. Your Ladyship, finally,
how do you see the future of your organisation?
(Viscountess Knollys) I hope that it will grow and
have a wider remit. It is, I think, extremely important that there
is some advisory body which is not a part of any of the organisations,
and it can talk to Government, because a lot of public money is
vested in waterways, and I think we are lucky enough to have some
very, very expert members who give of their time, and I think
that it is important there is a voice which does not have somebody
breathing down its neck.
321. So you are going to have a strategic role,
when you say a wider role?
(Viscountess Knollys) I was meaning that not perhaps
just looking at British Waterways, because the Minister has kindly
invited us to look at issues which are not funded or relevant
totally to British Waterways already. And personally I find it
rather difficult, in that the budget which comes from British
Waterways, a hard-pressed budget, that money is then spent on
things which are not strictly, for instance, the restoration of
schemes which are nothing to do with British Waterways, we have
a very large working group looking into that and producing a document;
we have help from the Heritage Lottery with that publication.
322. You are really saying that your role is
slightly ambivalent at the moment, because your money comes from
one source, you are looking at a wider role and you might need
responsibilities way beyond what you do at the moment; in order
to do that, you are going to need a different kind of funding?
(Viscountess Knollys) Yes, which would mean, if it
is not a change in the legislation, some recognition of it from
the point of view of British Waterways. It is difficult, I think.
I just feel that they have a very hard-pressed budget, and
Chairman: You are being very tactful, but I
think we have got the message. Thank you very much indeed. And
I hope that you are going home a more rapid way, Professor Mercer.